An anthology unfolding over the course of one week with both digital and analogue projects that take you from your living room to hidden parts of the city for safe encounters with others. Artists working across disciplines reflect upon our past, present, and the possible futures we can shape together to create urgent, immediate responses to life in a pandemic and what performance can look like in this time of crisis.
Note to ticket holders: if you have booked tickets for a performance and have not received an email with location details, please contact email@example.com
August 18: The Past
Three performances about the world that was, using digital technologies to connect artists and audience across distance with work experienced in your home.
August 19-20: The Present
Four artists respond to the world that is with site-specific works that animate and reclaim public space.
August 21-23: The Future
Three artists show us dreams of what the world will be, inviting audiences to reconnect through collective action, interaction, and exploration.
Each audience member is encouraged to choose how they experience the work based on interest and comfort level – each project is designed to be experienced on its own or as part of the larger anthology.
We Were, We Are, We Will Be is a new SummerWorks and Canadian Stage co-presentation with the support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto.
a long dub poem by d’bi.young anitafrika
August 18 at 4:00 PM (EST)
Spoken Word / Theatre
story come to town: colonisation tumble down
is an unwinding
into the coloniality
of time space place people
in search of
what we have yet
A live performance from dub poet, theatre interventionist, and decolonial scholar d’bi.young anitakrifka followed by a Q&A.
by Alina Pete
August 18 at 6:00 PM (EST)
Video & Film / Visual Art
The past and present collide in a visual exploration of literal and metaphorical plagues survived by Indigenous peoples and their connections to the current pandemic we all face. Award-winning queer Cree cartoonist Alina Pete combines comic books, animatics, and poetry to layer what has been survived before with what must be survived again.
Presented as a double-bill with Irin Ajomi – My Journey followed by a Q&A.
written & created by Philip Precious; facilitated & edited by Tommaso Branconi
August 18 at 6:00 PM (EST)
Theatre / Video & Film
A first-person documentary experience that recounts a journey from Nigeria to a refuge centre in Italy. Performed in Yoruba with English subtitles.
Presented as a double bill with Echoes of Plague Times.
exhibited & hosted by O’shane Howard
August 19 from 2:00-8:00 PM
An art installation showcasing six black entrepreneurs from the GTA in their elements post-pandemic. Highlighting Black professionals in the arts, fitness, fashion, beauty, food, and finance, who all look to strive and thrive despite their closed natural workspaces. The one space that is never closed and shared by all is a park. Nature never stops running its course, so why should we?
by Rory de Brouwer
August 20 at 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM & 6:00 PM
Performance Art / Theatre
An exploration of the pervasive nature of organized crime in Toronto, and how it stakes claim on industry and contributes to entrenched systems of inequity.
by Jennifer Alicia
August 20 at 5:00 PM, 5:45 PM, 6:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Two-time national poetry slam champion Jennifer Alicia takes over a public stage with a poetic investigation of blood memory, what it means to be a good ancestor, and the post-apocalyptic world Indigenous peoples live in today.
created & performed by Chris Dodd; directed by Ashley Wright
August 19 at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM & 8:00 PM
The world has transformed. It’s a new day… and a new knight. Deaf performing artist Chris Dodd explores the armor that protects us and the armor that separates us through a multi-channel video installation that leads the audience on a path from screen to screen through public space. Performed in ASL with audio English interpretation.
by Melody McKiver
Available for download August 21; Bike Ride on August 21 at 6:00 AM
Digital Experience & In-Person Experience
Interdisciplinary / Music
An audio landscape from Anishinaabe composer Melody McKiver guides you through an exploration of a waterfront park and asks you to consider what it means to reconnect with the land in Toronto. Register in advance to have the audio file sent to you via email to listen to on your own, or sign up to join a group bike ride that will experience the work together at dawn.
by Esie Mensah
August 22 at 6:00 PM
Dance / Performance Art / Theatre
An interactive performance from choreographer Esie Mensah manifests social distancing protocols into physical objects to create real connections between people and ask how we establish trust – or don’t – while sharing public space.
by Eponine Lee; community assistant Luke Reece
August 23 at 2:00 PM, 3:30 PM & 5:00 PM
Music / Theatre / Visual Art
Through fun, physically-distant group games, collective art compositions, and interesting conversations about the community we can be, Eponine Lee leads a collective exploration of what it means to be a community and how we reconnect in the wake of a pandemic.
Suitable for all ages – children and families are welcome.
All events are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. For Digital Experiences, capacity is unlimited – register to have a link to the content sent to you via email on the day of the performance. For In-Person Experiences, capacity is limited to 10 people or less to ensure proper social distancing – register to have the secret location sent to you via email on the day of the performance.
Regarding safe gathering at in-person performances and public works this summer, for non-ticketed events like art installations, we ask that everyone enjoy these works in adherence to healthy and safety guidelines, click here to view the guidelines. SummerWorks staff will be on-site to enforce these protocols at all ticketed events.
Mixtape Curations (M.C.) was formed by Daniele Bartolini and Luke Reece in the summer of 2020 as an entity to facilitate artistic responses to the times we are living and creating through. As the name suggests M.C. brings together a wide collection of work across disciplines and perspectives to present to the audience. As artists ourselves, we use M.C. as an opportunity to explore through the lens of curators and dramaturgs, connected by our Italian roots and a love of engaging performance.
ASL Interpretation is available upon request for all In-Person Experiences (except for bimose biidaaban – walking at dawn). Please indicate if you require ASL interpretation when booking your ticket.
Please Stay Behind the Shield is performed in ASL with audio English interpretation.
Irin Ajomi – My Journey is a video performance with open captions in English.
All in-person performances will be in accessible locations for people using mobility devices.
Can you trust me? contains explicit language in music.
cyclic dystopia contains explicit language and conversations about settler-colonial violence, colonialism, and environmental racism.
Echoes of the Plague Times contains explicit language, mentions of colonial trauma, mental health issues, residential school, and mass death (TB epidemic, smallpox)
Irin Ajomi – My Journey contains explicit language and graphic descriptions of moving through international borders.
Part of the SummerWorks Lab programming – a place for exploration, experimentation, and process. In the Lab, you can experience new works in development from artists exploring new possibilities in performance.