Luminato is such a sprawling, wide-ranging event that it often feels like a festival of festivals – but, for the 2015 edition, that's exactly what the Toronto multi-arts festival intends to be.
On Thursday, artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt is set to announce two mini-festivals dedicated to theatre and classical/experimental music that will be a part of Luminato's larger 10-day schedule in June: 7 Monologues and Unsound Toronto.
7 Monologues, running June 20 and 21, is a two-day showcase of solo shows from a varied crop of creatives, ranging from Toronto mixed-media artist Shary Boyle to British actress Charlotte Rampling.
Boyle, Canada's most recent representative to the Venice Biennale, will present a live-animation piece called Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home, her second such collaboration with singer-songwriter Christine Fellows. Rampling, a star of international cinema since the 1960s, will perform a piece called The Night Dances that mixes together the music of Benjamin Britten with the poetry of Sylvia Plath. She will be accompanied by French cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton.
Who Killed Spalding Gray?, Siminovitch-winning playwright Daniel MacIvor's latest one-man show, will also have its Toronto premiere as part of the meta-festival – and, in a salute to the forthcoming Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in the city, there will be solo shows from Chile and Brazil on the bill.
Weisbrodt described the miniatures of 7 Monologues as an "antidote" to Luminato's tendency toward gigantism – evidenced in 2015 by the previously announced Apocalypsis, a new staging of Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer's epic 1980 music-theatre work and Contemporary Color, an arena-size spectacle created by the Talking Heads' David Byrne.
"We wanted to create a counterbalance and not have everything be about that incredible force of these masses," Weisbrodt said. "If you hear loud music the whole time, you don't hear it any more."
Instead, the music will be ambient and unusual at Unsound Toronto, which will transform the decommissioned Hearn Generating Station in Toronto's Port Lands into a playground for classical and experimental composers on June 19 and 20. Curated by Mat Schulz and Malgorzata Plysa, this mini music festival will run June 19 and 20 and include performances from Australian-Icelandic musician Ben Frost; a collaboration between ambient duo Stars of the Lid and filmmaker Luke Savisky; and the world premiere of a new work by Montreal sound artist Tim Hecker (Jetone) that will explore the interaction between scents and sound.
Weisbrodt is as excited about the location of Unsound Toronto as what is programmed there. "It really uses the Hearn for the first time as a cultural venue – and not a location for a party or for a film shoot," he said of the 650,000-cubic-metre space that hosted Luminato's fundraising gala last year.
The two new festivals-within-a-festival were only part of a new swath of Luminato programming revealed by Weisbrodt this week. Other highlights include:
- Inventive Argentine director Mariano Pensotti, the creator of last-year’s much-buzzed-about Cineastas, returns with El Pasado es un animal grotesco – described as a “mega-fiction performed by four actors on an enclosed stage that rotates like a clock”;
- Malpaso Dance Company, the renowned dance troupe from Cuba, performing four shows from its repertoire over three nights;
- My One Demand, created by British company Blast Theory, a film shot and streamed live online and to cinemas across the country. Dora-winning actor Julian Ritchings (Hard Core Logo) is set to star.
Luminato runs in Toronto from June 19 to 28. For full programming, see luminatofestival.com.