The 16th edition of the SummerWorks Festival adds a new component, expanding to Harbourfront Centre to host companies from Montreal, Edmonton, Halifax and Victoria. This fest is one of the most exciting, since its juried selection process guarantees a slew of strong scripts. We'll see new works by established writers like Linda Griffiths , Yvette Nolan , Kate Lynch and Maja Ardal and by up-and-coming playwrights Brendan Gall , Jorge Gidi , Gina Wilkinson , Alan Dilworth , Joseph Jomo Pierre and Kate Hennig . August 3 to 13 at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst), Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson), Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West) and various BYOVs. 416-973-4000, www.summerworks.ca.
Hallelujah! The festival formerly known as fFIDA has dropped the word "fringe" from its title and is now a curated two-week fest with a new name, the Toronto International Dance Festival . Montreal-based dancer/choreographer Margie Gillis - a controversial artist if there ever was one - opens the fest with the local premiere of Voyages Into The Interior Landscapes , one of her intimate, personal solos. The programs are pretty creative, with Dancetheatre David Earle pairing up with the Penderecki String Quartet ; a T.O. trio consisting of Peggy Baker , Claudia Moore and Marie Josée Chartier ; and a jazz-themed gala that features three eclectic dancers performing with David "Fathead" Newman 's Band. Back again are the popular Grand Scale Events that give the fest a circus-like feel. August 8 to 19 at the Distillery District (55 Mill). 416-504-7529, www.ffida.org.
Black and beautiful
The wealth of talent on view in the AfriCanadian Playwrights Festival is mind-blowing. This year's theme, Honouring The Word, provides the framework for lectures, lunchtime play-readings and workshop productions by writers George Boyd , Andrew Moodie , Alison Sealy-Smith , Colin Taylor , Satori Shakoor and Carol Anderson . Since several of the playwrights are also actors and directors, they have a pretty good understanding of what makes a good play. August 22 to 27 at various venues. 416-368-3110, www.africanadian.com.
With what's happening in the world, do we cry - or laugh? Yuk Yuk's opts for the latter with a sure-to-be-controversial show called We Ain't Terrorists . Five ethnically diverse comics, some of Muslim, Arab and East Indian background, grab the mic to take on topics like racial profiling and stereotyping. The lineup features headliner Dave Merheje and opening acts Sabrina Jalees , Jazz Mann , Rasul Somji and Wafik Nasralla . August 6 at Yuk Yuk's Downtown. 416-967-6425, www.yukyuks.com.
Nightwood Theatre 's annual workshop of new plays is sure to yield some winners, as it has in the past with The Danish Play, Cast Iron, China Doll and The Adventures Of A Black Girl In Search Of God. Participating this year is an A-list of writers that includes Tara Beagan , Marjorie Chan , Sonja Mills , Ann Holloway , Hannah Moscovitch and Lorena Gale . Don't forget the Write From The Hip series, created by women aged 18 to 29. August 20 to 26 at the Tapestry/Nightwood Studio, 55 Mill. 416-944-1740 ext 4, www.nightwoodtheatre.net.
Last year's Toronto International Improv Festival included a bunch of writers from a tiny show called Saturday Night Live; people still talk about the sold-out show as the best improv they've ever seen. It's going to be tough to top that, but artistic director Kevin Patrick Robbins is determined to try. Among the 76 acts already confirmed are New York's hilarious puppet duo the Josh and Tamra Show , Minneapolis's outrageous Jill Bernard and Toronto's own Slap Happy , Pete and Pat Show and Shortweird Radio . The fest happens August 21 to 27, and confirmed venues include the Second City, the Diesel Playhouse Cabaret Theatre and Bad Dog Theatre, where a 52-hour improv marathon will take place. Yikes - get out the Febreze! www.torontoimprovfest.com/2006.