Things to do in Toronto this weekend: September 23-25

Just For Laughs Toronto

Toronto’s largest comedy festival returns to live performance and gets a new name – it was formerly called JFL42 – with its biggest lineup yet. Headliners include Trevor Noah, Mike Birbiglia, Amy Schumer, John Mulaney and drag superstars Trixie & Katya, while other acts include Fire Island’s Joel Kim Booster, Issa Rae and Pete Davidson. This weekend’s free opening street festival (at Berczy Park) features Russell Peters, Bob the Drag Queen, Tynomi Banks, Craig Robinson and others. September 22 to October 1, various locations. Free-$47.50, passes available. toronto.hahaha.com

Toronto International Festival of Authors

The city’s biggest literary festival launches this weekend and includes readings, master classes, critical conversations, poetry slams and lots of events for kids. Of the dozens of events this weekend, look for readings/conversations by Man Booker winner Douglas Stuart, Lisa Moore, Lorna Crozier and Irvine Welsh, a discussion about memoir writing by Cody Caetano and Isaac Fitzgerald, a celebration of Toronto’s literary history by Anne Michaels, a critical conversation about Russia… and more.

September 22 to October 2 at Harbourfront Centre. Some events free. Passes from $45. festivalofauthors.ca

Cockroach

The Tarragon’s artistic director Mike Payette directs the world premiere of award-winning playwright Ho Ka Kei’s (Jeff Ho) coming-of-age story about survival, stories and identity, featuring Karl Ang, Steven Hao, Anton Ling and an all-Asian design team.

September 22-October 9 at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace, 30 Bridgman. $15-$55. tarragontheatre.com

Gallery Weekend Toronto

Miss contemporary art? Twenty-six of the city’s leading galleries – including Olga Korper, Christopher Cutts, the Corkin, Paul Petro Contemporary Art and the Stephen Bulger Gallery – open up their doors to show you some of the latest works by local and international artists. The venues are spread throughout the city, and each one is free to visit.

September 22-25. Free. toronto.galleryweekend.ca/galleries

Sarah Polley reads from her Toronto Book Award-nominated Run Towards The Danger. Photo by Nick Lachance.

Word on the Street Community Popup

The Evergreen Brick Works, the iconic former brick-making factory and current community hub in the middle of the Don Valley, is the perfect place to host a one-day mini literary festival. In addition to the 30 exhibitors in the community marketplace and author-lead forest walks, the day will feature a conversation between environmental activists Clayton Thomas-Müller and Maude Barlow and readings by 2022 Toronto Book Awards finalists Camilla Gibb, HN Khan, Sarah Polley and Adrienne Shadd, as well as a short performance from Falen Johnson’s shortlisted play Two Indians.

September 25 from 9 am to 6 pm. Free. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview. thewordonthestreet.ca

Public Enemy

Canadian Stage launches its new season with a performance of Siminovitch Prize-winning playwright Olivier Choiniere’s subversive drama about a surreal family dinner. CS’s artistic director Brendan Healy directs a superb cast (Jonathan Goad, Michelle Monteith, Matthew Edison) in the acclaimed play’s Canadian English-language premiere.

September 23 to October 2 at the Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley. $29-$89. canadianstage.com

RUTAS 2022

The acclaimed interdisciplinary performing arts festival kicks off this weekend, with four outdoor, walk-up performances of Victoria Mata Soledad’s Cacao | A Venezuelan Lament, a polylingual dance and theatre show examining the realities of Venezuela’s cacao farmers. These free performances take place at North York’s Mel Lastman Square, and the festival continues with ticketed events at Theatre Passe Muraille, Factory Theatre and elsewhere.

September 22 to October 9, various locations. Free to pay-what-you-can-afford. alunatheatre.ca

@glennsumi

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