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The Luminato Festival still offers eclectic art you won’t find anywhere else. Here are five can’t-miss shows and events

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Atelier Sisu’s colourful, playful installation “Evanescent” is sure to be the Instagram opportunity of this year’s Luminato Festival, which kicks off Wednesday.



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Its budget isn’t what it was during its early years, but the multidisciplinary Luminato Festival, now in its 18th year, still offers up lots of eclectic art you won’t find anywhere else. Last year’s edition, among other things, included the premiere of a new production of Scott Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha” that made it onto pretty much every critic’s best-of list in December.

This year’s slate, though programmed without an artistic director in place (Aussie Olivia Hansell, appointed in February, takes over in 2025), looks equally promising. Much of the lineup is free, including all of the Luminato in the Square events at the fest’s hub, David Pecaut Square (215 King St. W.). Headliners there include Polaris winner Jeremy Dutcher (June 7), rapper K’naan (June 9) and opera superstar Measha Brueggergosman-Lee (June 16).

And Atelier Sisu’s colourful, playful installation “Evanescent” is sure to be the Instagram opportunity of the fest, just as “Walk With Amal” was last year. The piece of “art-chitecture” will be on display at David Pecaut Square from Friday to June 16, moving to Arnell Plaza, Brookfield Place and First Canadian Place from June 19 through July 30.

With the addition of the Canadian premiere of Haley McGee’s Olivier Award-nominated solo show “Age Is a Feeling,” which just opened on the weekend, these five buzzy shows and events are sure to light up your life this month. See luminatofestival.com for information.

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Miles Greenberg will be fighting unseen foes (located behind a robot-mounted camera) all day as part of “Respawn” at the Luminato Festival.

1. Respawn

Feeling punchy these days? That’s nothing compared to what Miles Greenberg will be feeling as he literally kicks off the festival on Wednesday. Inspired by first-person fighting video games, the Montreal-born, New York-based performance artist and sculptor will be fighting unseen foes (located behind a robot-mounted camera) all day — “until exhaustion.” This promises to be more active than recent works in which he remained nearly immobile for hours. “Respawn” takes place at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which co-commissioned and is co-presenting the premiere with Luminato. Audiences can come and go as they like. Greenberg, who studied with performance artist Marina Abramovic, also talks with playwright/novelist Jordan Tannahill, who contributed some text to the show, and curator Bojana Stancic on Friday at 4 p.m. He should be well rested by then.

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DJ Me Time, a.k.a. Sarah Barrable-Tishauer of “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” is combining rave culture and immersive theatre as part of “R.A.V.E.”

2. R.A.V.E.

It’s a long way from “Degrassi: The Next Generation” to a wild rave-up in Downsview. But DJ Me Time, a.k.a. Sarah Barrable-Tishauer, who played Liberty for nine seasons of the well-known show, is combining rave culture and immersive theatre in this unique ensemble piece involving dance, music and storytelling. Experienced ravers and first-timers alike are invited to take part, dance (some seating will also be available) and interact with the story at one of the city’s newest arts and culture venues, the former Downsview Airport Lands. Produced by the award-winning Outside the March, among others, this show won’t be coming soon to Netflix. It can only be experienced live, Sunday to June 16.

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“Afrikan Party,” choreographed by Oulouy and performed by Supa Rich Kids, is seen through the eyes of an African child born in 2090.

3. Afrikan Party

If you’re in the mood for something joyful and celebratory, check out “Afrikan Party” by choreographer Oulouy and performed by him and his crew, cheekily called Supa Rich Kids. The futuristic piece is seen through the eyes of an African child born in 2090. It draws on the cultures, traditions and rituals of the child’s past, and interweaves the rich, colourful tapestry of his present and future. Don’t expect to sit silently by as the party happens Saturday and Sunday at the Bluma Appel Theatre.

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In “Home,” Geoff Sobelle and a team of performers construct a house from scratch.

4. Home

Since housing issues are top of mind for every Torontonian, Geoff Sobelle’s interactive piece “Home” should hit, well, you know where. Starting off with a bare stage, Sobelle and a team of performers construct a house from scratch, using choreography, documentary and good old-fashioned stage magic to populate a two-storey building with people from its lively history. Expect a bidding war for tickets once this acclaimed show — receiving its Canadian premiere at Luminato — opens at the Bluma Appel Theatre June 13 (closing June 16).

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“360 Allstars” is an all-ages friendly fusion of BMX, basketball, breakdancing and more.

5. 360 Allstars

The circus meets street culture. This all-ages friendly fusion of BMX, basketball, breakdancing and more has wowed audiences from the Sydney Opera House and the Edinburgh Fringe to Broadway. Even if you’ve seen this jaw-dropping urban spectacle before — now in its 10th year — it’s worth revisiting at Young People’s Theatre from June 15 to 16. And if you know any aspiring BMX or basketball stars, the group is holding workshops a few days before at venues throughout the city.

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