SUMMERWORKS a theatre festival of 43 shows, readings and workshops at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst), Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson) and bring-your-own venues. August 4 to 14. $10, festival pass $50. Complete listings, page 83. 416-410-1048, www.summerworks.ca.
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SummerWorks celebrates its 15th birthday this year with presents that include a new pair of leaders and expanded programming.
"We've both been big fans of SummerWorks for years," says Kimahli Powell , who shares the post of artistic producer with Keira Loughran . They've picked up the reins from Franco Boni , who made the festival a juried event.
"Franco's done such a good job that we don't want to change the heart of the festival," notes Powell, a choreographer and producer.
"Still, we want to find a way to put our own stamp on SummerWorks. Our commitment to youth is central, and we're staging works by young artists who are connected to other theatres, such as Obsidian ( Allen Forbes 's Night Song After Death ) and Theatre Passe Muraille ( Norman Yeung 's Pu-Erh ).
"We know that by encouraging young artists, we're also encouraging and building young audiences."
In addition to the 43 productions in the festival, four of them off-site, Loughran and Powell have scheduled five free readings of plays-in-progress and an equal number of workshops of scripts by young playwrights.
The artistic producers have also added a Beyond The Boundaries series, which aims to increase the dialogue between audience and artist. There's a photo exhibit by Marc Lukacs of the festival's Queen Street stomping grounds as well as a Japanese storytelling workshop and a performance of the Canadian Performance Art Idol Tour in the Factory Theatre courtyard.
"Our intention is to make the courtyard a hotbed of activity, so we've hired artists like Darren O'Donnell and Allison Rees-Cummings , who have a unique way of engaging people."
The pair want the fest to serve several constituencies - the theatre community, new and established theatregoers and also the Queen West community.
"With the catchphrase 'engaging innovations,' we hope to establish a happening vibe," says Powell, "where people can gather, share ideas and, of course, watch great theatre."