This past month has brought a slew of summer cancellations. Theatre festivals, outdoor events and concerts have all continued to announce postponements or cancellations well into the fall. And while the warm weather has arrived, it just doesn’t seem like summer without some of the annual arts traditions making an appearance. Fortunately, a number of artists and organizations are creating opportunity and ensuring loyal fans have something to watch. Here’s our top picks for June.
The Year and Two of Us Back Here (Broken Soil Theatre)
Local theatre company Broken Soil Theatre tells the story of two coworkers struggling to find their place. With themes of loneliness, longing and losing, the play has perhaps never been so relevant and relatable. Broken Soil has smartly reimagined their hit of the 2018 Hamilton Fringe Festival, taking it from the physical space into a virtual one. Everything about this play, from the writing, original setting and performers are all Hamilton-based, making it a perfect pick to support local artists. Best of all, the June 2nd performance at 2pm is an hour long and being presented free of charge as part of the Hamilton Arts Council’s online performance series and on the company’s Facebook page.
Although this series technically starts at the end of May, this ingenious idea ensures that no audience member in North America is missing their local Fringe Festival. With leadership that spans coast-to-coast (including local theatre artist Carlyn Rhamey), the FringeLiveStream Festival is streaming pay-what-you-can performances from their Facebook page every Thursday night at 9pm until the beginning of October. The livestream promises content as varied as a Fringe Festival itself, with videos of past performances and live chats being offered, all from some of North America’s best Fringe artists. Our pick this month is June 4’s award-winning Climbing My Family Tree, in which main character Les Kurkendaal-Barrett takes an AncestryDNA test with surprising results and consequences.
Festival of Live Digital Art
Kingston’s Festival of Live Digital Art (FOLDA) has been presenting works online since its inception in 2018, so moving the format entirely to the internet for the June 10-13 Festival this year was not much of a stretch. Seeking to answer the question “who are the professional artists creating live digital performance today, and what are they up to?” the festival includes educational programming, discussions and webinars in addition to performances. Artistic offerings vary widely, from live radio plays to more traditional performances to multimedia presentations combing live performance, sound and audience interaction. In this new digital world where art forms are looking for ways to connect, FOLDA has been on the forefront with its creators for years, making this one to watch whether you’re an artist looking for ideas or an audience member.
It took the Luminato Festival some time to find its vision, but they’ve spent the last few years curating some of the world’s most interesting work for other artists and curators. Now unable to showcase this work in a physical format, they’ve moved online, which only expands the opportunity of who can present work and who may see work. No official schedule or programming has been announced yet, but expect the June 11-13 online event to offer some of the world’s most intriguing talent that you may not have the opportunity to see in Canada again. Unlike past festivals, all indications suggest that this year’s edition of Luminato will be entirely free for the public.
Ministry of Mundane Mysteries (Outside the March Theatre)
This blog has mentioned real-time experiences that allow audience members to become performers at home while socially distancing. Outside the March is not only one of the first companies to execute this type of performance since the start of isolating, but they are also one of the best. The Toronto-based company’s Ministry of Mundane Mysteries promises 5 days of a customized auditory adventure through phone calls to bring a little spice to anyone’s day-to-day life through an absurd, but somehow completely relatable premise. They’ve received rave reviews from the New York Times, CBC and more. Thanks to funding from Summerworks, some mysteries are free of charge- but even if you can’t snag one of those, the $40 price tag is well worth it.