10 events to check out at Luminato in Toronto next month

May 23 2018, 11:42 pm

The 12th annual Luminato Festival returns to Toronto this June.

From June 6 to 24, the multi-arts and multi-platform event will take over the city for 19 days of free and ticketed programming.

This year guests can look forward to an impressive lineup that fuses together arts and politics while highlighting contemporary issues such as human rights, diversity, and feminism.

In case you’re not sure what to check out during this year’s festival, we’ve rounded up 10 events to have on your radar.

Amal Clooney in Conversation with Nick Clooney

Luminato 2018

Credit: Human rights attorney Amal Clooney, Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage

Festivalgoers will have the chance to see renowned international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney make a rare appearance at Roy Thomson Hall. Amal will be taking part in an onstage conversation with her father-in-law, American journalist Nick Clooney, to discuss the most pressing human rights issues facing the world today.

When: June 22
Time: 7 pm to 8:15 pm
Where: Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street
Price: $35 to $500

Swan Lake, Loch na hEala

Michael Keegan-Dolan, one of Ireland’s foremost dance and theatre-makers, is bringing his stylish Irish adaptation of Swan Lake, Loch na hEala, to Luminato. This production re-tells one of ballet’s best known and loved classics, interpreted to reflect Irish folk mythology and prominent social issues including the history of abuse in the Catholic Church and schools.

When: June 6 to 10
Time: June 6 to 9, 8 pm to 9:15 pm; June 10, 2 pm to 3:15 pm
Where: Bluma Appel Theatre, St Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front Street East
Price: From $50 to $94

Burning Doors

Credit: Alex Brenner, Belarus Free Theatre

Burning Doors is a moving performance about human rights from Maria Alyokhina, political activist, member of punk group Pussy Riot, and the Belarus Free Theatre. Burning Doors recently made the New York Time’s “Top 10 Plays of the Year” list.

When: June 20 to 24
Time: June 20 to 22, 7 pm to 8:45 pm; June 23, 1 pm to 2:45 pm & 7 pm to 8:45; June 24, 1 pm to 2:45 pm
Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, 227 Front Street East
Price:  $78.32 for adults

Out the Window

Out the Window

If you’re in the mood to see something local, Out the Window is a documentary theatre performance from Toronto artist Liza Balkan about an incident she witnessed in 2010 of police brutality towards a mentally ill man, that resulted in his death.

When: June 19 to 24
Time: June 19 to 22, 7 pm to 9:30 pm; June 23, 2 pm to 4:30 pm & 7 pm to 9:30 pm; June 24, 2 pm to 4:30 pm
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
Price: $39




RIOT, from Ireland’s thisispopbaby, is Luminato’s “house show,” which runs most of the duration of the festival. It’s a bawdy cabaret of dance, drag, circus, spoken word, and comedy. RIOT features performances from one of the most well known drags queens ever Panti Bliss and also features the famed Lords of Strut, who were finalists on Britain’s Got Talent.

When: June 5 to 16
Time: Numerous show times each day
Where: Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, 227 Front Street East
Price: From $39

At the Illusionist’s Table


At the Illusionist’s Table

Acclaimed Scottish illusionist Scott Silven hosts At the Illusionist’s Table throughout the festival, which is an intimate evening of fine dining and whiskey-tasting, interwoven with illusion, mentalism, and storytelling in a private dining room at Toronto’s historic Casa Loma.

When: June 7 to 24
Time: 6 pm to 8:30 or 9 pm to 11:30 pm
Where: The Austin Room, Casa Loma
Price: $225 (Includes a three-course dinner by BlueBlood Steakhouse)

The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir


Magnetic Fields

If you’re in the mood for some live music, indie folk legend Stephin Merritt with his band, The Magnetic Fields, will be in town for a two-night special event performance of his biographical 50 Song Memoir, which celebrates his first half-century on the planet.

When: June 22 (songs 1 to 25) & June 23 (songs 26 to 50)
Time: 8 pm t0 9:40 pm
Where: Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge Street
Price: From $39

Le Grande Continental

Luminato auditions


Le Grande Continental is a public participation show that will take over Nathan Phillips Square for four shows. The performance will feature almost 400 local dancers in a large scale dance piece choreographed and directed by Montreal’s Sylvain Émard. The show concludes with the audience being invited to join the party for a freestyle continental dance party.

When: June 22 to 24
Time: June 22, 9:15 pm; June 23, 4 pm & 9:15 pm; June 24, 11 am
Where: Nathan Phillips Square
Price: Free to attend

Instruments of Happiness


Instruments of Happiness

Instruments of Happiness is composed by Montréaler Tim Brady and features 100 electric guitarists performing a new piece inspired by The Beatles late guitarist George Harrison.

When: Saturday, June 16
Time: 11 am to 3:30 pm
Where: Brookfield Place, 181 Bay Street
Free to attend

Malpaso Dance Company with Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble


Malapaso Dance Company

Following their sold-out appearance at Luminato in 2015, Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company returns to Toronto with a mixed-bill featuring works choreographed by Artistic Director Osnel Delgado, Canadian Aszure Barton, and Batsheva Dance Company’s Ohad Naharin.

When: June 15 & 16
Time: 8 pm to 10 pm 
Where: Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge Street
Price: From $39

This year look forward to a total of 29 events. You can find full programming details here.

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