luminato 2015

The top 10 shows at Luminato 2015

The Luminato Festival will once again explode through the streets, cinemas, theatres and concert halls of Toronto from June 19 to 28. This festival highlights the diversity of Toronto's rich arts and culture landscape by bringing the best of the world to showcase their work. Expect the unexpected and bring your dancing shoes.

Here, in no particular order, are my picks for the best bets at this year's Luminato Festival.

Acclaimed Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer's Apocalypsis is an epic oratorio performed for the first time since 1980 by a cast of 1,000 featuring Brent Carver, Tanya Tagaq, Nina Arsenault and more. Watch Toronto come to life, then to death, then to life again under the direction of Lemi Ponifasio.

Jason Collett's Basement Revue
The Basement revue at the new Festival Hub is by far the best way to end your night at Luminato. The intimate late-night curated gathering with a rock and roll sensibility feature a who's who of Canadian literary and musical talent on stage. Expect surprise guests.

My One Demand
UK-Based group Blast Theory, uses Toronto as the set for a live, interactive film, about unrequited love. The film is brought to life by a cast of seven Toronto-based actors including the hilarious Faisal Butt. Audiences can watch and interact with the cinematic journey as the film unfolds in real-time from mobile devices inside the movie theatre or from their tablets or computers at home.

7 Monologues
This is a series of seven shows from seven different artists in a single day. You can see all of the performances or a single one. Try to catch Charlotte Rampling bringing the poetry of Sylvia Plath to life backed by a live cello player in The Night Dances; a new work from Canadian playwright Daniel McIvor called Who Killed Spalding Gray and a visual work from artist Shary Boyle and folk musician Christine Fellows called Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home.

Unsound Toronto
In this Canadian premiere, the Hearn is transformed into a radical music venue, featuring an explosion of sound light and technology. A series of shows fusing experimental and classical music are pitched against synthetic projects featuring performances from Tim Hecker, Morton Subotonick, Stars of the Lid and more.

Contemporary Colour
This arena-scale spectacle at the ACC combines pop music, sequins, and flag flipping. Created by David Byrne and starring Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent, TuNeYaRdS, Ad-Rock + Money Mark and more, alongside high school colour guard teams. This performance is sure to wow.

Orchestra Karaoke
Audiences will get a chance to sing their favourite karaoke jams backed by a live 60-piece orchestra. The project started with a poster in a Hamburg harbour bar that said "we believe that social change starts with singing collectively in a choir." If you want to join the revolution come and lend your voice in song to this experiment in a collective euphoria.

Brazilian Block Party
Dance in the streets with this day-long carnival of active cultural jamming featuring music, dance, food, and craft-making workshops. It's curated by Uma Nota Culture and inspired by Carnaval Saフバ Joaフバ and the myriad other festivals in Brazil that animate communities and bring art and culture into the streets.

Cabaret Series at the Festival Shed
This series offers a chance to check out a few of the top cabaret performers on stage including Kid Koala, Bridget Everett, Joey Arias, and Taylor Mac. In this interactive performance about an interstellar journey that separates two lovers, Kid Koala will create an "ambient vinyl orchestra`using dozens of harmonized turntables to create a unique evening of light and music.

Malpaso Dance Company
This is Cuba's hottest contemporary dance troupe`s Canadian debut. They are performing with live music from Grammy-award winner Arturo O'Farrill. These 10 talented young dancers from Cuba's premiere dance schools and companies are known for their refined technique and youthful energy. Their work embodies the country's rich dance tradition.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions for the shows to see at Luminato 2015 in the comments.

Follow Sima Sahar Zerehi on Twitter @SimaSaharZerehi.

Photo of David Bryne and Contemporary Colour

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