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Accessibility at SummerWorks

SummerWorks is committed to increasing accessibility for our audiences.

Each year we work alongside Festival artists to find opportunities to incorporate a range of different audience access measures to their performances, whenever possible or appropriate. Access measures for specific projects and performances within the 2024 SummerWorks Performance Festival are highlighted below, with further updates to come in mid- to late-July. 

For any inquiries about accessibility at the 2024 Festival, please contact access@summerworks.ca.


Thanks to the generosity of the Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation, SummerWorks continues to offer our Accessibility & Community Wellness Program (ACWP). Through this program, we aim to cultivate progressive practices that foster greater diversity, accessibility, equity, and sustainability across the performing arts sector. It has been developed over the past three years in response to the emergent and urgent needs of the creative communities that engage with SummerWorks, and formalized in 2023. This program encompasses a diverse range of activities that prioritize increased access and mental health supports for artists, staff, volunteers, patrons, and our local communities of Parkdale and Regent Park. For 2024, we have formalized a new, four-pillar structure that encompasses all of the activities within the ACWPAccessibility, Learning, Mentorship, and Programming.

Beyond the access measures listed below, the major public-facing components of the ACWP in 2024 are Summer Break and Growing Up Regent. Both of these performance-based initiatives and projects are rooted in community, created with attention and care to lived experience, mental health, and resilience.

SummerWorks is grateful to the Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation for allowing us to continue this important work and create a lasting impact in our communities.

Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation logo

ASL Interpretation

ASL Interpretation is offered at select Festival events and ticketed performances for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

ASL Interpretation is offered at the following public events and ticketed performances:

ASL Interpretation is available upon registration, for the following event:

Audio Description

Audio Described Performances offer verbal descriptions of key visual elements of a performance — such as sets, costumes, or significant actions — to offer greater access to Blind or Low Vision patrons.

Open Audio Description is when an audio Describer, or a performer in the show, speaks the description so that everyone in the audience can hear it.

Open Audio Description is available for all Wheezy Breezy performances.

Relaxed Performances

Relaxed Performances are designed to welcome audience members who will benefit from a more relaxed sensory experience and casual environment, including (but not limited to) autistic patrons, people with learning disabilities, or those living with sensory and communication needs. There is a more relaxed approach to noise and movement within the theatre space; house lights will remain on at a low level and some minor production changes may be made to reduce the intensity of light, sound and other startling effects.

These shows are for anyone. Many other people may choose to attend a relaxed performance, either as an access requirement or because they like the inclusive environment.

Relaxed Performances are offered at the following public events and ticketed performances:

Relaxed Performance Icon


Relaxed Environment is created for audiences who have various access needs that a traditional theatre environment does not accommodate. Before a Relaxed Environment performance, audiences will get a show-specific Visual Story that gives them all the information they need to know for the performance (directions to the theatre, pre-show warnings, etc).

During a Relaxed Environment performance, an audience member can:

  • enter and exit the theatre,
  • move around throughout the theatre,
  • can make noise or sounds,
  • those who need to keep their phone on will be able to do so, on silent or on vibrate,
  • throughout the show, there will be some light over the audience, for navigation

There are no changes to the show’s lighting, sound, and other design elements in a Relaxed Environment.

Relaxed Environments are offered at the following public events and ticketed performances:

Risk-Conscious Performances

Some performances may be designated as Risk-Conscious Performances, during which all audience members will be required to wear face masks or coverings while attending the performance.

Please visit our Healthy & Safety page for detailed information, and for specific performances and events, designated as Risk-Conscious in this year’s Festival.

Physical Access

All of our venues have accessible entrances and washrooms. Where possible, we have indicated ideal WheelTrans pick up and drop off locations in each venue’s Visual Story below.

Our five main performance venues have accessible lifts to our Festival spaces.

Personal Support Workers

A person with a disability who is accompanied by a personal support person may have that person accompany them to our venues and attend the performance. Admission fees will not be charged for personal support persons at SummerWorks venues. Please indicate whether you will be accompanied by a personal support person when you buy your ticket, or when you arrive at the venue.

Service Animals

We welcome people with disabilities and their service animals. Service animals are allowed in the parts of our venues that are open to the public.


All indoor performance venues (The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance, Native Earth’s Aki Studio at Daniels Spectrum, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, and The Theatre Centre) have physically accessible All-Gender washrooms available to the public.

Moving Performances

Some projects may require audiences to move short distances to follow a moving performance. Close attention is paid to the terrain on the route in the development of the work, and specific details of this will appear on individual project pages. All performances will be accompanied by at least one Patron Services assistant or volunteer who will be able to assist you if required. Some performances may have chairs available, which you may request from a volunteer, Patron Services, or other SummerWorks representative onsite.

Neighbourhood Rest Stop, Homebuddies, and Sur-veil Salon are moving performances/events in the 2024 Festival.

Financial Accessibility & Pay-It-Forward

SummerWorks believes that anyone who wants to attend a SummerWorks event can and should be able to. We have considered financial accessibility in the creation of our overall ticketing structure, and our ticket prices and fees. As well, a number of Festival performances and events are free-of-charge (with or without reservations).

Pay-It-Forward Ticket Program

As part of our commitment to removing and reducing barriers to participation in our Festival, SummerWorks maintains low ticket prices and offers many events free of charge. For the 2024 Festival, we are re-launching our Pay-It-Forward ticket program to offer free tickets to those in our community with greatest financial need.

This summer, when you purchase tickets to a SummerWorks event, you will be invited to contribute to our Pay-It-Forward fund, which will be used to buy tickets for members of the communities served by our partner organizations:

Join us in our commitment to financial accessibility and help us expand the possibilities for participation in arts and culture.

If you work with an organization whose community would benefit from access to our Pay-It-Forward tickets, or if you would like to sponsor or support this program, please contact morgan@summerworks.ca for more information.


To help you plan for your experience, SummerWorks offers location-specific visual stories for our 2024 Festival venues. These visual stories take the form of PDFs that you can download to your device, and they are updated annually to reflect changes to the spaces and programming. The current visual stories for the 2024 SummerWorks Performance Festival are highlighted below, with further visual stories to come in mid- to late-July.