Expanding the possibilities
of performance

Festival Programming Announcement: June 26th


Watch this space for an updated list of questions about the 2024 SummerWorks Performance Festival Call for Submissions.



What is the submission process?

For your work to be considered for the 2024 Festival, please apply online, through our Call for Submissions. If you require an alternative method for your submission, please contact submissions@summerworks.ca.


Is there an application or participation fee?



What should I include in my project description?

We ask you to cover these specific points in your project description (please refer to the online form for specific questions related to each programming stream):

  • A detailed description of the project (artistically, aesthetically) and an explanation of its intent.
  • An explanation of where your project is situated in its development and your goals for its engagement at SummerWorks. Specific to Lab projects, we would like to know how being part of the Festival might support your project’s next steps.
  • An explanation of any physical, spatial or technical requirements for the project.
  • If site-specific or site-responsive, please include details of the specific or ideal space or location, and how it relates to your work.
  • Does your project include a plan for accessibility (i.e. ASL interpretation, relaxed performances, etc.)? If yes, please describe.
  • Above all, we would like to know what the project is or will be. The more we can envision the performance and intended experience for the audience, the better.

It helps to give us as much context as possible. We encourage you to articulate how this idea came about, why this work is important to you, why it is relevant today, and why the context of SummerWorks is right for you and this project, now.

You may be contacted via email in November or December, with questions about their submission, and possibly, to schedule a brief online meeting to follow-up on project proposals.


What’s the difference between Presentations, Lab, and Public Works? Can I apply for more than one programming stream?

You can apply for any programming stream, though we strongly encourage all applicants to submit their project to only one of the three programming stream options. You may also submit more than one project; each project to different programming streams.

Projects that would benefit from audience feedback, performative ideas that are being tested, and creative questions that require an audience to answer, are examples of projects that are well suited for the context of the SummerWorks Lab.

SummerWorks Presentations are typically much further along in their development and they are ready to meet an audience as a finished work. They have had development periods or previous presentations in the recent past.

Projects in SummerWorks Public Works engage directly with public space, and interrogate the relationship and connections with people and place, in these kinds of spaces.


How can I be considered for the SummerWorks Exchange?

The Exchange is a dynamic space for emergent creative thinking to come into focus and conversation, for the development of artistic practice and for skill-building, and for communities to gather together with intention around relevant and urgent topics.

A Call for Submissions for our Exchange programming at the 2024 SummerWorks Performance Festival will launch in early 2024.


Can I submit more than one project?

You may submit more than one project. If both projects are shortlisted, there may be follow-up conversations with you to discuss your aims for each project. It is unlikely that both projects will be curated in the same Festival.


What do I need to have prepared before applying?

We strongly recommend that you review the submission guidelines and the application form before starting your application. You will be asked to provide a brief history of your work or the work of your company/group, bios of confirmed participants, a project description, and support material.


What is the selection process?

The curatorial process is led by Michael Caldwell (Artistic Director), in consultation with a national artistic advisory. The advisory is assembled after the submission deadline, and it is designed to represent a variety of artistic perspectives, knowledge, and experiences. The Artistic Director reads all applications. Applications are assessed based on artistic merit, clarity of vision, and overall balance with the other selected works. Shortlisted applications are then reviewed by the artistic advisory, select programming partners, and key Festival staff – who all provide their feedback. Shortlisted projects may be contacted to discuss the application or answer follow-up questions, sometime in November or December. Final curatorial decisions are made by the Artistic Director.


What are my chances for being curated in the Festival? What happens if my project is not selected?

We receive a very high volume of applications each year. And even though a project meets all of the selection criteria and it is a good fit for SummerWorks, it may still not be curated in the Festival. A ‘no’ is not the end of a relationship at SummerWorks – we keep all shortlisted projects in mind and may connect with you for engagement at a future Festival. With your consent, we may also share your project with our partners, to understand how we might collectively support your work.


Where does the Festival take place? Can I choose my own venue?

SummerWorks Performance Festival performances, events, and activities occur at a variety of venues every year. Based on many factors, these venues are different for every Festival iteration. If your project is curated in the Festival, we will work with you to determine the best venue for your work, selected from the list of available venues.

As you submit your application, rather than pitching your performance to be in a specific space (unless you’re applying for Public Works or have another site-specific project in mind), we ask about what kinds of space (i.e. black box, white walls, intimate, proscenium stage, etc.) or audience configurations (i.e. in the round, raked seating, etc.) your project requires, so that we can source venues that best align with your project’s needs.


I would like to propose a site-specific or an immersive performance, or one in an alternative venue. Where could my project happen?

The Festival takes place in both the east and west ends, in the Regent Park and Queen West areas, of the city of Toronto. We specifically invite submissions for site-specific and immersive projects within, or in close adjacency to, these areas.

That said, we will consider all projects with proposed locations within the boundaries of the city of Toronto. Depending on the distance from the primary areas of Festival activity, we may inquire about your audience or community engagement and/or transportation plans.

Artists are expected to secure the use of any site-specific or immersive performance space. The Festival will advise and support your applications for permits, licenses, and exemptions, if/when applicable.

We welcome project proposals taking place in a wide variety of locations, including: parks, alleyways, sidewalks, libraries, classrooms, living rooms, front porches, backyards, bars, swimming pools, community centres, and on public transit; we are open to all these possibilities and more.

SummerWorks is committed to increasing accessibility for artists and audiences. We strongly recommend all applicants with site-specific or alternative venues in mind, to consider physical access for a variety of mobility devices, and proximity to accessible, all-gender washrooms.

SummerWorks will work with you and your collaborators, to support your ideas. We ask you to consider the overall logistics of your site-specific or immersive proposal before you submit. If shortlisted, these questions will be asked in follow-up conversations.


Who decides the overall Festival performance and production schedule?

SummerWorks, in close consultation with all artists and creative collaborators, will create the Festival performance schedule, including the number of performances or activations for each project. All schedules are sent to artists and creative collaborators for review, before any public announcement.


What length of work can I submit?

We welcome submissions of any length, though we typically program projects with a duration between 15-75 minutes. Projects that are 30 minutes or less will likely be considered within the context of a shared double or triple bill with other works. We also accept submissions for durational works or works that loop or repeat, beyond 75 minutes.


How many times can we perform our work?

Presentations and Public Works are offered up to five (5) performances, whereas Labs are offered two (2) showings or activations. If your project is best supported with a different model or framework, please explain in your application.


Do you accept submissions from artists working outside of Ontario?

We welcome national and international applicants. However, all artists and creative collaborators are responsible for all expenses related to bringing your show to Toronto. SummerWorks will gladly provide support to Festival artists for any of their own travel and/or touring funding applications.


Does SummerWorks program all genres?

SummerWorks expands the possibilities of performance. We curate a diversity of performance– theatre, dance, music, live art, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary forms. We are excited by bold ideas that reframe or reimagine our perceptions of what performance can be.


Is the Festival for independent artists only? Or can companies apply as well?

All are invited to apply, and any artist may apply as an individual or as a member of a company or group.


Can I apply with a work that has been previously presented?

Yes. However, we would like to know how an engagement with SummerWorks is the next best step in the trajectory of your artistry, and this specific project.


You mention accessibility in the guidelines and in the application form. What does this mean?

SummerWorks is committed to presenting events that are as accessible as possible, and we strongly encourage all artists to consider accessibility in the development and presentation of their work at the Festival. We do not necessarily expect you to have these details confirmed at the time of submission; we simply would like to understand your willingness and adaptability with accessibility in your work. We work closely with Festival artists and creative collaborators to embed accessibility measures in their creative work.


Do you have any limitations on who is eligible to apply?

No. We welcome all to apply.


Are there any other conditions to apply?

All artists and companies participating in the Festival are responsible for obtaining the relevant production rights for their shows and performers.

If any individual in the company or group has a membership in a guild, union, or other professional association, the artist or company must acquire the necessary releases, or pay the required fees to the respective organization. Please note: SummerWorks has a Festival Waiver Agreement with the Canadian Actors Equity Association to allow Equity members to perform in the Festival.

The artist and/or company is responsible for acquiring permissions, licenses, or rights for any and all copyrighted material in the project.