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Luminato artistic director Josephine Ridge looks to festival’s future

A space within the Canadian Opera Company’s Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Centre will be newly transformed as a custom-designed cabaret room for Riot in coming Luminato events.

Conor Horgan/The Globe and Mail

Last spring, incoming Luminato artistic director Josephine Ridge said one of her goals was to nail down the downtown Toronto festival's "blueprint" for the years to come. With the 2017 Luminato under her belt, the Australian arts veteran is beginning to put her long-term stamp on the multi-arts event.

Next year's Luminato will run June 6-24, expanding the festival from 10 days to 19 days, which organizers say will be the planned length for the foreseeable future.

Full programming will be announced by April, 2018, but it was revealed this week that the gaudy, rambunctious Irish cabaret show Riot will enjoy a full festival run in a performance space within the Canadian Opera Company's Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Centre in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood.

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The venue was used by Luminato last year to present the Akram Khan Company's dance piece Until the Lions and the dance-opera work Bearing, but it will be newly transformed as a custom-designed cabaret room for Riot.

Another feature of Luminato 2018 will be Le Grand Continental, a choreographed outdoor dance extravaganza from Montreal's Sylvain Emard Danse. The show's title advertises its ambition: The 400 amateur dancers participating in the free presentation will be chosen through a city-wide audition process. Following three months of rehearsal, Le Grand Continental will have a four-performance run in Nathan Phillips Square over the festival's closing weekend.

It was previously revealed that genre-defying Icelandic multi-instrumentalist and composer Ólafur Arnalds will bring his worldwide All Strings Attached tour to Luminato at a yet-to-be announced location on June 24. The new show's centerpiece is described as "generative algorithm software" designed to control two self-playing pianos acting as one.

At a festival fundraising event in October, gala-goers were offered food, drink and a possible preview of Luminato 2018. Presentations included a piece by Doane Uschool's 100-children ukulele orchestra and a piano-based work from hip-hop/spoken-word artist Ian Kamau.

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