Summer in Toronto is never complete for me without attending SummerWorks Festival. This year’s festival is a free, public-facing programming across multiple platforms throughout the month of August.
For the rest of the month, you can enjoy online public sharings, engage with artists through social media, as well as join explorations of public access to artistic process, from performance in storefront windows to communal walks through the park.
Below I list some of the various offerings that have caught my attention at SummerWorks this year. Plenty of local artists to support from home or in-person!
Summerworks Lab Residencies
SummerWorks Lab programming is a place for exploration, experimentation, and process. In the Lab, you can experience new works in development from artists exploring new possibilities in performance
Softness is a blessing
By Dainty Smith & Ravyn Wngz
Softness is a blessing is an exploration by Dainty Smith and Ravyn Wngz of softness as it pertains to Black femininity. It is an exploration of Black femme grief, rage and faith and hope, and about allowing for Black women to be fragile and soft in a world that demands of them and expects strength, sexuality and stoicism.
Public Sharings: Friday, August 20th at 10:30 -11:30am
Format: Live presentation, followed by a brief Q&A with the artists
Location: Zoom Meeting
Ticketing: Online pre-registration ; 14 tickets available. Ticket Link HERE.
Accessibility: Captioning will be available in the Zoom meeting.
I took the Body Love class led by Smith and Wngz during the early months of the pandemic last year. It was an introduction to burlesque, but also a virtual for a few of us womxn / femmes to gather to dance, appreciate and love ourselves in our bodies through a difficult time. It was a great experience to be part of that group. I am excited to see this work-in-progress of theirs.
By Syrus Marcus Ware & Rodney Diverlus
Now a long running and continuously conceived project, burn, burned is created in collaboration with Ravyn Wngz, Brayden Cairns, Chenise Mitchell, Dedra McDermott, and Julia Consentino.
burn, burned is a sensory and psychic exploration of the precise moment when the revolution is over. With systems and structures smouldered around them, activists and organizers pick up the pieces of their communities and of themselves and begin to figure out how to work and live together, anew.
An aspect of burn, burned for Summerworks Lab Residency, will be made visible – akin to smoke from a distant fire – closer to the event.
Artists in Residence: August 23rd – August 29th
Public Sharings: To Be Confirmed
The Pop-Up Experience
The Pop-Up Experience is an indoor experience with a small capacity of distanced audience members who must remain masked at all times. There will be up to 20 people distanced in the space at any time.
Unfortunately, there is no on-site audience washroom. The space is wheelchair accessible.
By Me Time
This is the latest innovation of The R.A.V.E. Institute, founded by techno-futurist Me Time in partnership with Outside the March to cultivate human potential and social change through ritual dance experiences. During The Pop-Up Experience: PORTAL, in collaboration with new media artist Karl Skene, intuitive choreographer Jaz Fairy J and co-conspirator and OtM founding member Amy Keating, they offer an opportunity for participants to experience a customized, ritualized solo dance experience.
Location: Wildseed Centre for Art and ActivismApplications are currently open to join the waitlist.
Public Sharings: Individual sharings now sold out. Join by the wait list HERE.
Additional tickets will be released for d/Deaf audiences to access ASL interpreted performances.
A New Black Poet
By Jordan Laffrenier
A New Black Poet is a love letter from the living to the dead. It centers Elijah, whose true interest lies in poetry and the way language can define the universe. Through a series of monologues and songs, Elijah will take you through a life dedicated to craft and the important lessons he learned from his heroes.
Join Jordan Laffrenier, as he experiments with setting poems by Langston Hughes to music, and the immersive potential of modeling this piece off a series of academic lectures. During this Lab Residency Jordan will be working in collaboration with co-conspirator, multidisciplinary composer and musician Beau Dixon, co-director Aaron Jan and choreographer Shakeil Rollock.
Public Sharings: Friday, August 27th at 7:30pm EST
Saturday, August 28th at 4:00pm & 7:30pm EST
Sunday, August 29th at 3:00pm EST
Location: The Pop Up Shop
Ticketing: 6 tickets per performance. Additional tickets will be released for d/Deaf audiences to access the ASL interpreted performance.
Ticket Link HERE
Accessibility: ASL Interpretation will be provided at the Sunday, August 29th performance.
These are some of the SummerWorks events you can enjoy the rest of the month.
There is also the Artists at Work series which occurs across SummerWorks’ social media platforms. Some of these artists are new to me, which is also very exciting. I highly suggest you also check the lineup for the series.
Full details on SummerWorks programming is available at summerworks.ca.