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In the middle of a bustling 11-day Festival, how do we take a break?

In alignment with emergent and urgent topics of conversation, circling within our diverse communities of artistic practice in Toronto… Summer Break is our response.

Happening on Monday, August 5th, this pilot initiative features free performances, events, and activities focused on the theme of rest, as a moment to slow down, to pause, and to reflect. Programming highlights include focused land-based conversations, embodied practices and approaches, community gathering, and unique performance offerings.

Summer Break is a tender gesture towards the Festival’s artists and audiences, and our way to address personal and collective mental health and physical well-being in our communities.

We invite you to take a break with us.

Scroll down to learn more about all of the Summer Break events and activities.

Note: while all Summer Break programming is free and open to the public, some events may require registration. Please check each individual project page for further information.

Summer Break is presented as part of SummerWorks’ Accessibility and Community Wellness Program, generously funded by Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation.

The idea for Summer Break was sparked through an initial conversation with Nova Dance, in relation to their Rest & Reflection programming.


A Morning with Elder Duke Redbird

Monday, August 5th // 10:00 AM

Location: TBC

Elder Duke Redbird

Join us for a welcome – a conversation and a provocation – focused on the idea of rest and reflection. Elder Duke Redbird shares his unique and engaging perspective, drawing from lived experience and Indigenous ways of knowing, working, and being, to question the very nature of rest and reflection within our constructed urban environment. This moment is an introduction to Summer Break.

Duke Redbird is an Elder of the Saugeen First Nation, located on the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario. A celebrated Indigenous visionary as well as being an established public intellectual, poet, painter, broadcaster, and filmmaker, he is also a much sought after keynote speaker, and advisor to both public and private organizations.

As a multidisciplinary artist, he brings an Indigenous lens to modern art and design, and has aided in the emergence of a vibrant Indigenous presence on the contemporary cultural scene, most recently his impact as Artist in Residence at the Urban Indigenous Education Centre where he reviews and revises the curriculum as taught by the Toronto District School Board.



Neighbourhood Rest Stop

Monday, August 5th // 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Location: TBC

Wild Soma

What if the most important call to action right now is to Stop.  Rest. and Offer our nervous systems some time to recalibrate? Could we gather our selves together, step into a new paradigm, and ‘do rest’ for a while? Could we set aside time for meandering, for noticing connections, and begin illuminating a sense of interbeing as the living world?

We have all been through a lot the last few years and many of us are very tired.

Wild Soma is Julia Aplin, Shannon Litzenberger, Andrea Nann and Roula Said. In this roving outdoor experience, inspired by this time of social change and interconnection, Wild Soma aims to position the body as self, in reciprocal relationships to social, cultural, temporal and planetary ecosystems. Neighbourhood Rest Stop participatory invitations may involve things like: Sitting with Trees, Branch Balancing, Labyrinth Walking, Snacking, Napping and Doing Nothing.

Care will be centered. Bodies will be tended. Souls nourished.




Monday, August 5th // 1:30 – 4:30 PM

Factory Theatre, Courtyard

Philippe Dépelteau

Between perpetual construction and collapse, two performers and some 250 bricks form ephemeral landscapes together. Their encounter traces fragments of houses to inhabit, which in turn fragment the performers’ bodies. Like a living mortar, the movement pours into the interstices of the installation. Conceived as sentient beings, the bricks enter in dialogue with the bodies. Within this evanescent dance, the performers appear and disappear into the material they’re engaging with, opening up a space for reflection on how we build and live in a transforming world.



Sacred Sacrilegious

Monday, August 5th // 5:00 PM

Factory Theatre, Mainspace

Sujit Vaidya

Sacred Sacrilegious explores the body as an offering to the five elements in accordance with Hindu philosophy (Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space). This 40-minute film is an abstraction of ideas that are placed through the body as moving landscapes, in an attempt to access one-ness with the elemental self through intimate and erotic rituals. Through the use of gestural and movement language from Bharatanatyam, you are invited to hold space for intimacy and longing while questioning your gaze on the performing body.

Join us for a restful and reflective film screening and live in-person experience in shared space, as the film delves into sensuality, intimacy, and eroticism, and problematizes taboo and shame with queer South Asian identities in traditional contexts.



Worm Moon

Monday, August 5th // 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Factory Theatre, Studio


Weird communist and erratic prophet, Thomas McKechnie, creates a new ritual for the world that’s coming.

Join Thomas in a ritual – building your very own vermicomposter, turning kitchen scraps and other green waste into a rich, dark soil that smells like earth and magic. The worm compost is not only practical but spiritual. Feed the worms the rotten garbage of ourselves and our world: shame, fear, inadequacy, white supremacist colonial capitalism, prisons, police, unnecessary remakes of childhood classics, everything. Let worm composting help teach us what is necessary for true transformation. What is required to transform ourselves and what’s all around us? All your rotten veggies and our current dystopia are waiting to be composted into a new world. One being’s trash is another’s deepest need, after all.