Summer Theatre Toronto

Toronto summer theatre preview 2013

With Toronto theatres having concluded their annual seasons, it's over to the festivals and outdoor shows to represent the summer fare. And boy is there a lot of performance to fill the void during the city's warmest months. Alongside the premiere theatre festivals, Fringe and Summerworks, this year Shakespeare is not the only game in town. Here's a roundup of what to look forward to this summer in Toronto theatre:

Toronto Fringe Festival / Various Venues / July 3 - July 14
The launch of Toronto's largest indie theatre festival is mere weeks away. The Toronto Fringe Festival is one of the most exciting and jam-packed weeks on the arts calendar and this year the little festival that could turns 25. The fest spans twelve days and features over 140 shows across 35 different venues in the city. The list of addition programming (FringeKids!, a site-specific Art Category, Fringe Club, Tent Talks, etc.) will make your head spin. To plan your fringe journey, pick up a guide book at one of the locations listed on their website.

As You Like It / Humber River Shakespeare Company / July 9 - August 4
Humber River Shakespeare presents outdoor theatre across the GTA, even venturing as far as Aurora, Caledon, and Collingwood this year. The comedy of choice is As You Like It, the green world play set in the Forest of Arden. It's here where Rosalind uses the disguise of Ganymede to escape her uncle and woo the romantic Orlando. In Toronto, you can find Humber River at the Evergreen Brickworks, Riverdale Farm, Old Mill Inn, and Etienne Brule Park.

Dusk Dances / Withrow Park / July 30 - August 4
If you haven't yet experienced Dusk Dances, there's something incredible about seeing a park crowd swell with spectators as the roving performances unfold. While it's a shame that Withrow will be the only Toronto park to host this year's series, there are sure to be some standout pieces among the works assembled this year: The Last Round (Susie Burpee), The Alice Odyssey (Melanie Kloetzel), May I Join You? (Carmen Romero), and 1981 FM (Throwdown Collective).

Taming of the Shrew/Macbeth / Shakespeare in High Park / June 26 - August 31
In an ambitious move, Canadian Stage goes repertoire with two of the Bard's plays, one comedy and one tragedy, presented in High Park. A lot of fine comedy can be had with The Taming of the Shrew, a clash of the mighty genders, with the proper treatment. The more challenging of the two is Macbeth, full of darkness, deceit and witchcraft, that's undoubtedly difficult to stage outside. It'll be interested to see how directors Ted Witzel (Shrew) and Ker Wells (Macbeth), the York-Canadian Stage MFA Directing students, tackle each play.

The Misanthrope / Guild Festival Theatre / July 18 - August 11
Now in its third season, the Guild Festival Theatre presents a play each summer in the Scarborough Bluffs. The Guild Inn, which is surrounded by sprawling gardens and old architectural details, serves as the idyllic setting. Past productions include an adaptation of Aristophanes' The Clouds in 2012 and Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard in 2011. This year the company presents The Misanthrope, Moliere's comedy about hypocrisy.

SummerWorks Theatre Festival / Various Venues / August 8 - 18
It'll be difficult for SummerWorks to top last year's rich and memorable crop of performances, yet the 2013 lineup features a lot of potential standouts. The slate of shows include remounts from Sky Gilbert (To Myself at 28), Itai Erdal (How to Disappear Completely), and Kat Sandler (Delicacy), the North American debuts of internationally-celebrated work, Sch端tzen and Tender Napalm, Outside the March's Murderers Confess at Christmastime, as well as a host of intriguing encounters at the Performance Bar.

Richard III / Shakespeare in the Ruff / August 13 - September 1
This young Shakespeare company burst onto the scene last year in Withrow Park with The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Things get a little darker this time around as they tackle the Bard's portrait of the complex and conniving monarch Richard III, who rose to power on the tide of ambitious and devious deeds. It's directed by the accomplished Diane D'Aquila and stars Alex McCooeye in the title role.

Photo from iShow

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