Frequently Asked Questions

When is the deadline to apply?

The deadline is December 10th 2018 at 11:59pm EST.


Is there a participation fee?

Following on from the positive impact we felt from removing the participation fee last year, again there is no participation fee to take part in the Festival. There is a reading fee of $35 (HST included) however, to cover the administration associated with processing the applications.


What is the submission process?

To be considered, you must apply through our online form which can be accessed via our submissions page. If you would like another way to apply please get in touch with to discuss options.


What do you want to know about the project in the project description section?

We ask you to cover these specific points in your project description:

  • A detailed description of the project (artistically, aesthetically) and/or explanation of its intent.
  • An explanation of where your project is in its development and your goals for its presentation at SummerWorks, particularly for Lab projects we want to hear how being part of the Festival might help you take the next steps.
    An explanation of any physical, spatial or technical requirements for the project.
  • If site-specific, please include here details of why you’ve chosen a specific space or location, and how it relates to your piece.
  • Does your project include a plan for accessibility (i.e. ASL interpretation, relaxed performances, etc.)? If yes, please describe.

Above all we need to get a sense artistically of 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.

In particular if you’re applying for the SummerWorks Lab, what elements of the work would benefit from testing or sharing with an audience, what are your artistic questions, and what steps are you planning to take to answer those questions in rehearsal and/or the Festival itself?

Please note you may be contacted to discuss your application further, prior to final selections being made.


What’s the difference between Lab or Presentation? Can I apply for both?

You can apply for one or both 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 usually further along in their development and finished works. They have normally received more workshopping or previous presentation than projects in the Lab.

If you apply for both streams for the same project, it’s important to tell us how they would be different in each context.


How can I be considered for the SummerWorks Exchange?

All project applications are automatically considered to be part of the SummerWorks Exchange (i.e. for a pitch session with presenters). The SummerWorks Exchange is a new initiative of the Festival, encapsulating our professional development and industry activities. In the SummerWorks Exchange, we have a curated series of events to facilitate artist and community growth, to strengthen the ecology of live performance in Canada and expand our dialogue and collaboration with the international arts community. Including training and networking opportunities between artists and curators from Canada and beyond, the Exchange is the place where we come together to share and connect, confront the big questions facing our community today, and make plans for the future.


Can I submit for more than one project?

You can submit more than one project. If both projects are shortlisted there will be a follow up conversation with you to discuss your aims for each project. Except in exceptional circumstances, it is unlikely that both projects will make the final selection and we would work with you to find out which one had more benefit from being part of the Festival.


What do I need to have prepared before applying?

We strongly recommend you read the application guidelines before beginning your application. You’ll need to provide a brief history of your work or the work of your company/collective, bios of the confirmed participants, project description and support material i.e script, links to video. We’ve uploaded a word document of the application form on the website so you can see what’s expected before you start the application.


What is the selection process?

The curation process is led by the Festival’s Artistic and Managing Director in consultation with a national artistic advisory. The advisory is assembled to represent a variety of perspectives and artistic knowledge.The Festival’s Artistic and Managing Director reads all applications. Applications are assessed based on artistic merit, clarity of vision, and balance with the other selected works. Shortlisted applications are then reviewed by the artistic advisory and key Festival staff who provide their feedback. Shortlisted projects may be contacted to discuss the application or answer follow-up questions prior to final selections being made. Final decisions are made by the Festival.

Artists will be notified of the results of their application either way by March 2019.

Please note: we receive a very high number of applications, and though a project may be ready for sharing with the public, and also a good fit for SummerWorks, it still may not be selected this year. This doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road with SummerWorks – we keep in mind all projects that we think are good applications and may approach you for presentation at a future Festival. If you give us permission we may also share the project with our partners who often come to us for suggestions of new work to support.


How do I choose my venue?

SummerWorks works with a variety of venues; last year in The Theatre Centre and Toronto Media Arts Centre, but we have different venues each year. Rather than pitching your performance to be in a specific space (unless you’re applying in the Special Project Call or have another site-specific project in mind) we want to hear what kind of space (i.e. black box, white walls, intimate, proscenium stage, etc.) or audience configuration (i.e. in the round, raked seating, etc.) your project needs so that we can propose a venue that works well for your needs.


I am interested in proposing a site-specific, an immersive performance or one in a found or non-traditional venue. Where can my project be?

SummerWorks is based in the Queen West area. Last year the Festival neighbourhood was centred around Lisgar Park. We invite site-specific and immersive projects to be proposed within the following parameters: west of Bathurst, east of Jameson, north of King, and south of Dundas. If there is a reason for locating your project outside of this footprint, we encourage you to be in touch with us in advance, and to outline in your project why this particular location is important for your project. We’d also like you to consider how to get your audience to and from the performance venue to the Festival neighbourhood.

Artists’ will be expected to secure the use of any space that they propose for site-specific or immersive performance – though the Festival can advise and support your applications, it will not be the ultimate responsibility of the Festival.

In the past, we’ve accepted proposals of projects 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 transit; we are open to all these possibilities and more.

Please keep in mind that the Festival has a commitment to all our venues being wheelchair accessible for audiences (including proximity to an accessible washroom), so you will want to keep this in mind when scouting a non-traditional venue or designing an immersive experience.

We will work with you to make sure your piece can run as smoothly as possible, but we would like you to consider the logistics before you submit your proposal. For example, are you able to charge entry, what permissions might you need for that space, or how might your piece be affected by weather (do you have a weather contingency plan?).


Does the Festival decide the performance schedule?

The Festival creates the schedule based on preferences submitted to us from artists on available dates and times. We will send the schedule to artists to approve before confirming.


How long can my work be?

We generally ask projects to be 60 or 30 minutes (usually 30 minute projects will be partnered with another project for a Double Bill). If you would like to apply with another work as part of a self-selected double bill, explain the reasoning behind this and what the thematic alignment is. We do accept applications outside of this time frame, particularly durational works or works on a loop. If you are thinking of alternate timings, get in touch with us to discuss, and in your application outline the ideal timing arrangements for your piece.


How many times can we perform our work?

Presentations usually receive 5 performance slots, whereas Labs receive 3. If your show has different timings or would benefit from multiple showings in one day, let us know and explain why.

Do you accept submissions from work outside of Ontario?

We welcome national and international applicants, however, should you be accepted, you are responsible for all expenses related to bringing your show to Toronto. SummerWorks is happy to assist Festival artists with applications for travel funding.


Does SummerWorks programme all genres?

We program all kinds of performance– theatre, dance, music, live art, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary forms.


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

Both are invited to apply.


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

Yes you can apply with a work that has been previously presented. We’d like to know what you learnt from your experiences and how SummerWorks is the next step for your project, though.


You mention accessibility in the guidelines, what does this mean?

As a Festival SummerWorks is committed to making our events as accessible as possible, and we want to be able to work with our artists to make performances accessible too. This might mean incorporating ASL, captioning or audio description in to your performances, and though we don’t necessarily expect you to have this all sorted by the time of application, we like to see a willingness and adaptability towards making this possible. Once accepted, we work with artists to find the best ways to make performance accessible, and we see this as an opportunity for you to reach a wider audience.


If I have ASL in my show, can the Festival provide ASL at the FOH and box office?

We will try our best to facilitate this as much as possible. We would try to align performances incorporating ASL on one day to try and facilitate resource collaboration and sharing.


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

No, we encourage all to apply.


Are there any other conditions to apply?

  • Participating companies are responsible for obtaining the relevant production rights for their shows and performers. If anyone in your company has a membership in a guild, union, or other professional association, you must acquire the necessary releases, or pay the required fees to the respective organization. Note, SummerWorks has a festival waiver agreement with the Canadian Actors Equity Association to allow Equity members to perform in the festival.
  • Notice of withdrawal from the Festival must be made in writing to
  • No other presentations of the project may take place within 90 days of SummerWorks, unless otherwise agreed upon in writing by the Festival. Please inform us immediately of any additional presentation opportunities.
  • While we are aware of and sympathetic to the natural evolution of a project, if your production differs significantly from your application either in content or production personnel, SummerWorks reserves the right to rescind your invitation. Please inform us immediately of any changes to the project.