You thought the Fringe was hot? Wait until the juried SummerWorks Festival , now in its 17th season, with a fab lineup of playwrights that includes such local talents as Alan Dilworth , Hannah Moscovitch , Bruce Beaton , Gord Rand , Tara Beagan , Sean Dixon , Norman Lup-Man Yeung , Corrina Hodgson , Martin Julien , Dave Deveau and Daniel Karasik .
Spice it up with plays by Tony Kushner and Wallace Shawn , add the returning Canadian Pavilion featuring works from across the country and you've got 11 days of mouth-watering theatre. August 2 to 12 at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst), Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman), Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson) and several bring-your-own-venues. 1-888-222-6608. www.summerworks.ca.
Comedy always works best at night. So the clever folks over at the Toronto International Improv Festival have programmed a terrific slate that takes us way past midnight.
The seven-day fest features the best talent from around the globe performing at the two venues known for their improv cred: Bad Dog Theatre (138 Danforth) and Second City (51 Mercer), with the Diesel Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way, former home of Second City) thrown in as well.
Minneapolis's queen of comedy, Jill Bernard , helps kick off the fest on August 15, and other highlights include Chicago's Deep Schwa , New York's Gluttony and a rare performance of Toronto's own The Bat , the latter performed at midnight on August 17 in complete darkness. That's right: this is not Whose Line Is It Anyway. August 13 to 19. 416-238-7337, www.torontoimprovfest.com.
Want some Greek myth with your ouzo? Check out Ned Dickens 's Creon , the premiere production by the Stone Circle Project , presented by Theatreworks .
The play is part of Dickens's cycle about the ancient city of Thebes. Sarah Evans plays the rebellious Antigone, with Victoria Adilman , Emily Andrews , Dmitry Chepovetsky , Melee Hutton , Adrian Proszowski and Jeffrey R. Smith also in the cast; Vikki Anderson directs. The outdoor production at Jackman Public School (79 Jackman) runs during A Taste Of The Danforth, thus offering an appropriate link between Hellenic culture and dining. August 10 to 12. www.theatreworksproductions.com.
Fire up some flamenco
If you feel the earth move while you're on the Danforth, it'll probably be Alicia Márquez performing at the inaugural Toronto International Flamenco Festival . The Spanish sensation brings her hypnotic Aire Flamenco show to the fest - which also features workshops - for two performances August 10 and 11 at the Music Hall (147 Danforth). 416-870-8000.
For some, a summer without Cirque du Soleil is like a summer without sunshine. They'll be glad to line up for the company's 20th production, writer/director David Shiner 's Kooza - the name's derived from the Sanskrit word for box or treasure. The troupe promises a return to its origins (and two circus staples), clowning and acrobatics. Perfor-mances begin August 9 and run to September 23, with the well-known blue-and-yellow tent in a new location in the port lands (Cherry south of Front). 1-800-361-4595.
Not much original dance happens outdoors during the hot months. An exception is choreographer Julia Sasso 's commission for the Toronto Music Garden . She's creating a work to Heinrich Biber 's Passacaglia, performed on two days in August with different musicians (violinist Linda Melsted on August 2, bass clarinettist Lori Freedman August 9). Go both nights to see how the different instruments "move you." 475 Queens Quay West. 416-974-3000.
After Wilder and Churchill, Soulpepper goes back to an earlier classic, Chekhov 's Three Sisters . The adaptation is by Nicolas Billon , who's premiered several plays at Stratford, and director László Marton , a regular guest with the company.
It'll be fascinating to watch the mix of academy members and senior artists. Megan Follows , Patricia Fagan and d'bi.young. anitafrika play the sisters who yearn for Moscow; their fellow performers include Albert Schultz , Diego Matamoros , Sarah Wilson , Stephen Guy-McGrath and Michael Simpson . Previews begin August 30 at the Young Centre (55 Mill). 416-866-8666. www.soulpepper.ca.