In getting you ready for the 2023 SummerWorks Performance Festival, I bring you another spotlight interview with one of the six guest curators.
I return with my 5 Questions With… Series with Aria Evans, a queer, Toronto based, West Coast born award winning interdisciplinary artist who’s practice spans dance, theatre and film.
Below is what Aria shared about her curatorial role with the festival as well as details about the performances she has chosen for SummerWorks’ Lab this year.
HM: Thank you for taking time to respond to some of my questions. Let’s start with what does being a curator at this year’s SummerWorks Performance Festival mean to you?
Aria Evans (AE): In this year of transition for SummerWorks, being invited to curate has felt very grounding and inspiring. I am honoured to be entrusted to bring together artists to engage with and meet the festival’s audiences through the Lab!
HM: Could you talk about working with SummerWorks’ Michael Caldwell as Artistic Director and Morgan Norwich as Managing Director (or any other curators/artists) in terms of planning for the upcoming festival… What was that dialogue / collaboration like?
AE: It was Laura Nanni who invited me to curate with the understanding that the festival would be undergoing a leadership change. Working with Michael, who I have known from working in the dance community for over a decade, has been wonderful – he brings such excitement and vast vision to his role. Morgan and I have had less artistic encounters and working with her has been a seamless pleasure. Together they carve a passionate course for the festival that I am very excited about.
HM: I read you wanted to “highlight artists who are working across disciplines that include a nod to movement” in your curatorial choices. What was it about LOOP & DOUBLE & their artists that drew you to include them in the festival?
AE: For DOUBLE, I was drawn to the chemistry between the two performers, Lilia Leon and Irma Villafuerte both bring a vulnerability and powerful presence and invest fully in their craft. The piece they are working on is about love and I look forward to seeing how they embody this topic as SummerWorks’ audiences get invited into their creative process.
For LOOP, these two artists have not worked together before but it is their similarity in artistic approach that inspired me to ask them to collaborate. Yarro brings an enchanting melody with her voice and Nyda Kwasowsky similarly captivates with movement. I can’t wait to witness their experiment.
HM : SummerWorks’ mission is to be “a leader, collaborator and community builder at the forefront of contemporary performance”. How do think LOOP & DOUBLE fit within this mission?
AE: Looking at the SummerWorks Lab – offering artists an opportunity to still be in development while having audiences meet their work is a testament to community building. It gives audiences a glimpse into the process to understand how artists create. For me, interdisciplinary endeavours are at the forefront of contemporary performance and I see the collaborations present in LOOP and DOUBLE fitting into this beautifully.
HM: Now that the Festival is about to start, what do you hope audiences will take away from the performances you have curated?
AE: I hope audiences will come to the Lab with a sense of curiosity and leave feeling like their participation has included them to be part of the heart of the festival.
For more details about DOUBLE & LOOP, all other SummerWorks programming information, and tickets, please visit summerworks.ca.
To follow and find out more about Aria’s work, please visits politicalmovement.ca.
Cover photo of Aria Evans by Tyler J Sloane.