Stage Door News

Toronto: SummerWorks postpones its 30th anniversary festival

Thursday, April 30, 2020

With current recommendations of continued social distancing until at least the end of June and uncertainty surrounding the resumption of gatherings, today SummerWorks is announcing the postponement of the 30th anniversary edition of their annual 11-day August Festival. Planning for the 30th anniversary Festival and celebrations will resume when artists and audiences can come together and gather in shared spaces safely.

While 30th anniversary plans are put on hold, SummerWorks is happy to announce that for 2020 they will present a freshly imagined and continually unfolding summer season that can be enjoyed remotely. This series of work will connect artists and audiences across the country and beyond from May through September 2020. While fewer projects will be presented, careful consideration is being given to curating different formats and fostering collaborations that engage large numbers of artists and audiences, connecting communities regardless of distance. Programming will evolve in response to changing health recommendations. Emphasizing accessibility, all programming and learning opportunities offered in 2020 will be free.

Since the scope of the COVID-19 health crisis came into full view, bearing witness to the steady losses felt by our performance community has been devastating. We feel the genuine impact this has on the artists and our community at large across the country,” says SummerWorks Artistic and Managing Director Laura Nanni. “As we continue planning, our community remains at the center of our activities. Our decisions are guided by a desire to reflect SummerWorks’ mission to expand the possibilities of performance, and to integrate our core values of care, collaboration, creative risk, curiosity, diversity and difference, in all that we do.

The recognition that we could not move forward with the Festival as usual, came before our programming was confirmed or any announcements were made. We were fortunate to have enough time to adjust, be responsive in this moment, and dramatically reimagine our plans. Our values are leading our goals for this summer which are to engage and connect as many artists as we can, to ensure programming is accessible, to honour all staff and contractor agreements made prior to COVID-19, and to be responsible to the health and vibrancy of our community.  It is also crucial for us to work in collaboration with as many other arts organizations as possible, because we can always accomplish more and make the most positive impact together.”

The SummerWorks summer season kicks off on May 29th with a nation-wide virtual party - Essential Play - presented in partnership with Canadian Stage and Club Quarantine. A performance party on a digital playground, Essential Play is a free online club night where artists and art-lovers from coast to coast can celebrate the enduring and resilient spirit of creativity that prevails despite the pandemic.

Other collaborators confirmed for the summer to date include the AMY Project, Artery, Art Spin, Generator, Outside the March, School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Stratford Festival Lab, The Theatre Centre and Toronto Fringe Festival.

In this newly imagined summer season, SummerWorks will announce monthly programming from May through September, with all activities guided by current social distancing recommendations.

Complete line-up details for Essential Play will be announced mid-May with programming for June and beyond announced regularly.

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