Twenty-one years old and counting.
SummerWorks, the juried theatre and music festival, isn't letting the ruckus over the loss of some grant money get in the way of throwing an 11-day party, (mostly) near the Queen West strip from Bathurst to Dovercourt.
The festival opens tonight (Thursday, August 4) and runs through August 14.
With 42 theatre productions and a slew of musical talent, SummerWorks never fails to offer some of the best performances in town.
First, if you're planning your schedule based on the printed guide, cross off the production of Brave New World, which has been cancelled. Too bad - the producing company, Red Light District, has a history of outside-the-box presentations, including a striking take on The Witch Of Edmonton for SummerWorks 2010. In that site-specific show, the audience followed the characters around Trinity-Bellwoods Park. Sounds like the location would have been just as important for Brave New World, with the audience meeting at Adelaide and Spadina and probably following the action through various alleyways and in and around downtown buildings.
It's always worth checking out the National Series, which features companies invited from around the country. The three visiting productions this year include two from British Columbia, Pretty Little Instincts (an outdoor dance piece with a touch of butoh being performed at Fort York) and The Trolley Car, a play about a love triangle in Nazi-held Paris, by regular SummerWorks contributor Amiel Gladstone. Jason Carnew's ONE, visiting from Calgary, gives a contemporary spin to the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. It's the first of two festival plays dealing with the Greek myth; see a preview of the other, Eurydice, here.
New this year is the Art Bar, the site of a Thursday-through-Sunday free block party in the courtyard shared by the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) and the Edward Day Gallery (952 Queen West). Tonight's kickoff party features Raoul and the Big Time, The Elwins, Modern Superstitions, Patti Cake, Light Fires and Choir! Choir! Choir!
The closing night party at the Art Bar, with Graham Wright (Tokyo Police Club), Whale Tooth, Louise Burns, Betty Burke, Donlands and Mortimer, includes the presentation of the SummerWorks Awards. Opening and closing night events run from 6 pm to 1 am.
There's another cancellation at the Art Bar: The National Theatre Of The World, set to perform Sunday (August 7), has had to withdraw from the festival.
Check back regularly for next-day reviews and other SummerWorks news at nowtoronto.com/summerworks. You can leave comments on the site, too.