From productions of Shakespeare to the annual Fringe and SummerWorks festivals. In 2015, you can add some exciting works created for Panamania, the artistic component of the Pan Am and Parapan Games.
Chelsea Manders participates in this year's Fringe.
FRINGE KEEPS FASCINATING
Now in its 27th year, the Toronto Fringe is still the summer's gargantuan theatre and dance festival. The popular lotteried fest features 148 local, national and international productions and lots of ancillary events, including tent talks, art displays and the always busy beer tent behind Honest Ed's.
There are a few changes, too, including the move of the FringeKids! shows to the George Ignatieff Theatre, with the free FringeKids! Club - where youngsters can make art as well as watch it - right next door.
Fringe participants include puppeteers Shakey-Shake and Friends, Chelsea Manders, Shakespeare BASH'd, Darryl Pring, John Lazarus and Sam Mullins.
Site-specific shows, always some of the most fascinating offerings, take place at a yoga studio, a boxing gym, a Jewish temple and a number of cafés. July 1 to 12 at various venues. 416-966-1062, fringetoronto.com.
The Queen West multidisciplinary festival turns a quarter-century this year, with venues stretching from Factory and Passe Muraille to the Theatre Centre and Scotiabank Studio, along with site-specific shows.
This year's fest features the usual diversity of productions, for the first time curated by folks who know their areas: Adam Bradley and Andrew
Pulsifer (music), Amelia Ehrhardt (dance), Cathy Gordon (live art) and Beatriz Pizano, Philip McKee and Rosa Laborde (theatre).
Add to that a series of public conversations organized by general manager Nick Hutcheson and special presentations invited by artistic producer Michael Rubenfeld. August 6 to 16. 416-628-8216, summerworks.ca.
Canadian Stage returns with Shakespeare in High Park, again running a comedy and a tragedy in rep at the outdoor amphitheatre. Matjash Mrozewski helms The Comedy Of Errors, with its two sets of identical twins, masters and servants, while Estelle Shook directs the political intrigues of Julius Caesar. They share a talented and diverse cast whose members include Allegra Fulton, Dalal Badr, Sean Baek, Naomi Wright, Dylan Trowbridge and Randi Helmers. Performances begin July 2 and run through September 6. 416-368-3110, canadianstage.com.
Panamania presents Nicole Brooks's all-female a cappella Obeah Opera.
In addition to the sports in the Pan Am and Parapan Games, Toronto hosts dozens of arts events. Among the theatre highlights are Craig Francis and Rick Miller's adaptation of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (at the Daniels Spectrum); David Ferry and Laurence Dean Ifill's The Postman, which tracks the history and route of Albert Jackson, Toronto's first black letter carrier (Harbord and Albert Jackson Lane); Ravi Jain's Gimme Shelter, a look at ego and climate change (Young Centre); Jordan Tannahill and bluemouth inc.'s It Comes In Waves, a site-specific show that takes audiences on a journey to the Toronto Islands; and Nicole Brooks's all-female, a cappella Obeah Opera, about the Salem witch trials (Young Centre). toronto2015.org/panamania.
hamlet al fresco
For its annual Bard's Bus Tour, Driftwood Theatre Group takes Shakespeare's most famous tragedy, Hamlet, on the road, touring it to outdoor venues around Ontario. Adapted by Toby Malone and directed by D. Jeremy Smith, the production features Paolo Santalucia (best known for his work at Soulpepper) as the Danish prince, Natasha Mumba as Ophelia, Jon de Leon as Claudius, Nehassaiu deGannes as Gertrude, Richard Alan Campbell as Polonius and Christopher Darroch as Laertes. Toronto performances are July 9 and 10 at Todmorden Mills and July 21 to 26 at Withrow Park. 416-703-2773 ext 246, driftwoodtheatre.com.