JUNE 10 TO 26 For the last 10 years, the Luminato Festival has captivated audiences with a range of dance, music, theatre, literature and visual arts. In all, the event has commissioned nearly 100 new works of art, and hosted more than 3,000 performances by 11,000 artists from 40 countries, and inspired a cultural dialogue about the nature of art and how it can be shared and consumed by the masses. The milestone is a bittersweet one however: it also marks Jorn Weisbrodt’s swan song as the organization’s artistic director, a position he’s held for the last five years.
For the first time in the event’s history, it’s taking up residency at The P.L. Hearn Power Generating Station (440 Unwin Ave.) in the Port Lands, which will house a 17-day programming hub that includes a 1,200-seat theatre, a second floor art gallery, a stage for music and dancing, along with a beer garden, bars and restaurants.
Among this year’s highlights—and North American premieres—is the award–winning video installation Situation Rooms (June 10 to 19), in which the audience donning earphones and equipped with iPads—become the protagonists, seeing first hand the lives of individuals from different countries whose lives are shaped by weapons and violence, including an Israeli soldier, a Pakistani lawyer and a member of a Mexican drug cartel.
Scotland’s reign under three generations of Stewart kings during the 15th century is the inspiration for The James Plays (June 16 to 26), a trilogy of theatrical works written by Rona Munro. The only North American stop for this touring production from The National Theatre of Scotland examines the nature of Scottish culture and independence. The three works, James I—The Key Will Keep the Lock, James II—Day of the Innocents, and James III—The True Mirror, can be seen independently or in its entirety over 11 hours in a single day.
In Monumental (June 15 and 16), a dark and somber take on modern life is presented through dance and music. Oppression, isolation and mistrust are among the themes explored by Vancouver–based company The Holy Body Tattoo, who is backed by music by Montreal’s post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Weisbrodt’s farewell season includes a special show by his spouse, Rufus Wainwright. For the first time, Toronto audiences can see Rufus Does Judy (June 23 and 24), a homage to Judy Garland’s 1961 spectacle at Carnegie Hall. Wainwright has previously mounted the production in New York, London, Paris and Los Angeles.
For a complete schedule of Luminato programming, visit luminatofestival.com.