You couldn't ask for a more talented lineup of writers for the 17th annual SummerWork s festival, a juried festival - jurying increases its quality - produced by Keira Loughran . Among the playwrights are Corrina Hodgson , Tara Beagan , Niki Landau , Hannah Moscovitch , Dave Deveau , Johnnie Walker , Gord Rand , Sean Dixon and Layne Coleman .
Returning this year is the Canadian Pavilion, featuring works from Whitehorse, Edmonton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Montreal. August 2 to 12 at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst), Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman) and Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson). www.summerworks.ca.
Top Girls , Caryl Churchill 's fascinating 1982 play, begins with a dinner party whose guests are fictional and historical women who carved out their place in a male world. Then we follow its central figure, the high-power Marlene, into today's business world and discover what her new-found clout has cost. Alisa Palmer directs a starry cast in this Soulpepper production, including Megan Follows as Marlene, Ann-Marie MacDonald , Cara Pifko , Kelli Fox and Liisa Repo-Martell . Previews begin June 26, opens July 3 and runs to August 4. Young Centre (55 Mill). 416-866-8666.
Fringe on top
A record 505 companies applied to this year's 19th annual Fringe festival (July 4 t0 15), the event that ranks as Toronto's busiest 12 theatre days of the year. The selected international, national and local companies, more than 130 in all, vie for your attention in venues all over downtown. Some of the exciting participants are Alon Nashman , Dave Carley , June Morrow and Fringe faves Nicola Gunn , TJ Dawe , the Rumoli Brothers , Bruce Horak and Chris Gibbs . Various theatres and bring-your-own-venues. 416-966-1062, www.fringetoronto.com.
This year's Dream in High Park celebrates CanStage 's 25th annual summer production, and they appropriately return to their roots with a version of the Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream . This time around, director ahdri zhina mandiela gives the piece an urban Toronto feel and, as has happily been the case in past Dream productions, a multicultural cast. Kevin Hanchard and Karen Robinson are Oberon and Titania, with Matthew Kabwe as Bottom and Maev Beaty , Antonio M. Cayonne , Richard Harte and Holly Lewis playing the lovers. Previews from June 26, opens July 3 and runs to September 2. The Dream Site, High Park. 416-367-1652.
If you're one of those who can't get enough of red noses, literally or figuratively, check out the second annual Toronto Festival of Clowns , which features clowns, bouffons and physical performers from around the country and the world. There'll be shows for kids and adults, an outdoor barbecue with roving clowns and a krump troupe performing the style of urban street dancing that grew out of clown. June 21 to 24 at the Pia Bouman Theatre (6 Noble). www.torontoclown.com.
Taste of Sophocles
Want some Greek drama with your souvlaki on a stick? Check out the premiere show by the Stone Circle Project , Declan Donnellan 's translation of Sophocles ' Antigone , directed by Vikki Anderson . Sarah Evans plays the title role, with Victoria Adilman , Adrian Proszowski and Jeffrey R. Smith in the cast. The outdoor production takes place on the grounds of Jackman Public School during A Taste Of The Danforth , and the links between event, audience and venue couldn't be more appropriate. August 10 to 12 at 79 Jackman. www.theatreworksproductions. com/stonecircleproject.htm.
Toronto audiences need their fix of Cirque du Soleil , and this year's show is David Shiner 's Kooza , the company's 20th production. The name comes from the Sanskrit word for box or treasure, and for this presentation the company returns to its origins, the two circus staples acrobatics and clowning. August 9 to September 2 at the well-known blue-and-yellow tent, in a new location on the port lands (Cherry south of Front). 1-800-361-4595.
Anton Chekhov 's Three Sisters gets a retooling in the hands of Soulpepper , which stages a version by Soulpepper Academy member Nicolas Billon and director László Marton . The cast is a mix of Academy members and senior artists. Can't wait to see the trio of sibs played by Megan Follows , Patricia Fagan and d'bi.young.anitafrika . Other roles are taken by Albert Schultz , Diego Matamoros , Sarah Wilson and Stephen Guy McGrath . Previews begin August 30 at the Young Centre (55 Mill). 416-866-8666.