Conceived in 2007 as a way to shine a spotlight on Toronto as a culturally vibrant and globally connected city rich in creativity, Luminato quickly became one of the preeminent international arts festivals in North America, with more than 3,000 performances featuring 11,000 artists from over 40 countries.
Of the 29 events in the festival eight are born of collaborations and partnerships between Luminato and Toronto based arts companies; a further seven are presentations by Luminato of works by local artists; four Luminato commissioned projects will have their world premieres; and there are two big joyous free events for which festival organizers reached deep into the community to attract participants who love to dance and to play music.
Now let’s get to the top 5 of the festival:
Get ready to RIOT with this thrilling, uplifting and unforgettable night out! A disorderly cocktail of party and politics from Ireland’s greatest artistic hooligans, RIOT combines dance, drag, circus, gut-punching spoken word and comedy into one wild ride.
RIOT took the Dublin Fringe by storm in 2016, winning the award for Best Production, and has become unstoppable ever since, launching an international tour that includes stops in Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, New York City and more. It’s a love letter of hope to the future, a divine celebration, an energetic spectacle, and a blunt criticism of the world today. Uniting the hottest stars of Irish stage and screen in this glittering roulette of the brilliant, brazen and downright bizarre, the all-star cast includes Queen of Ireland Panti Bliss, Megan Riordan (star of Once – The Musical) and circus superstars Lords of Strut (Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists).
Swan Lake/Loch na hEala
Swan Lake/Loch na hEala was considered one of the most admired and inspiring dance pieces of 2017. The piece is the brain child of Irish dance and theatre-maker Michael Keegan-Dolan, and features storytelling, song and movement in a raw re-interpretation of the ballet classic, rooted in the midlands of Ireland, at the place where ancient mythology and the complexity of the modern world collide.
The New York Times counted Burning Doors as one of it’s top ten theatre pieces of the year, and it’s easy to understand why. It is the creation of Belarus Free Theatre, which is the only theatre company in Europe banned by its own government for political grounds, and Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina, who served a prison sentence in Russia for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after Pussy Riot made a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The performance draws from the experiences of Alyokhina, Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky, and incarcerated Ukranian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, and had been billed as a ferocious display of art as political demonstration. These are the stories of three persecuted artists who refuse to be silenced.
Amal Clooney in conversation with Nick Clooney
Luminato will host one of its most significant and powerful conversation events to date, when renowned international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney appears in conversation with her father-in-law, American journalist Nick Clooney. Amal Clooney is a specialist in international criminal law and human rights. She has represented world leaders, advised former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the plight of Syria, and currently represents Yazidi women who have been kidnapped, raped, and enslaved at the hands of ISIS. This not-to-be-missed discussion will take place June 22, on the stage of Roy Thomson Hall.
Le Grand Continental
Le Grand Continental is something on an amateur dance flash-mob, featuring over 400 participants from across the GTA chosen to perform through a city-wide audition. Featuring the choreography of Montréal’s Sylvain Émard and the music of Martin Tétreault, DJ Mini and El Instituto Mexicano, Le Grand Continental will no doubt get you moving, and after the show Nathan Phillips Square will turn into a massive, open air dance floor. Le Grand Continental will take place Friday June 22 at 9:15pm, Saturday June 23 at 4 and 9:15 pm and Sunday June 24 at 11 am at Nathan Phillips Square.
Photo credit: Amal Clooney NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 10: Human rights attorney Amal Clooney visits the Secretary-General Of The United Nations Antonio Guterres at United Nations Headquarters on March 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage)