Luminato Festival

Art takes over life at Luminato Festival with epic premieres, festivals within the Festival, a new indoor venue in an urban garden of light at the Festival Hub, and more

Luminato Festival is set to create adventurous art and ideas in adventurous places from June 19 to 28 with a celebratory, 10-day multi-arts schedule that reimagines Toronto and the way we experience it. This June, local, national and international artists, from one to 1,000, animate the city with music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, film, food, and more.

Alongside two previously announced major projects, R. Murray Schafer’s epic oratorio Apocalypsis (June 26 to 28) and David Byrne’s arena-scale spectacle, Contemporary Colour (June 22 to 23), Luminato Festival today announced a full slate of programming details for 2015 with a focus on projects and artists celebrating the cultural richness of the Americas in a salute to the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games being held in Toronto this summer.

Art takes over life. Art suggests a new vision for life,” said Jorn Weisbrodt, Artistic Director, Luminato Festival. “We will bring Toronto to life with intimate confessions by some of the greatest artists of our time; with an empire of 1,000 performers creating an empire of sound and movement; with a lush garden in downtown Toronto for all to enjoy; with new, throbbing music energy at the Hearn Generating Station; with theatre that will literally make your head spin; with sequins, sabres and pop music stars; with free and family-friendly programming; and so much more.

There are so many reasons we are excited to share the details of the 2015 Luminato Festival: we’re finding new ways to use old spaces; we’re premiering major productions; we’re working with the best artists and performers in the world. But most importantly, we’re sharing it all with audiences here in Toronto. Luminato Festival is about creating adventurous art and ideas in adventurous places – bringing people together, making the moment special, and taking the ‘everyday’ out of everyday life,” added Weisbrodt.

Festivals within the Festival: Unsound Toronto and 7 Monologues

On opening weekend, the Unsound Festival marks its Canadian premiere with Unsound Toronto at Luminato (June 19 to 20), transforming the Hearn Generating Station into a sonic playground for two days with shows that fuse experimental and classical music, pitched against thrilling synesthetic projects that incorporate technology, lasers, scent and more. Curated and commissioned by Mat Schulz and Malgorzata Plysa, Unsound is an amorphous music festival that has become one of the world’s foremost events in electronic and experimental music, famed for innovative programming, discovering new artists and producing events in adapted spaces. From 8 p.m. to the wee hours each night, music genres collide and blur in a series of premieres, performance experiments and international collaborations. Tim Hecker brings scent and sound together in a startling new way with the world premiere of Ephemera; Stars of the Lid collaborate with filmmaker Luke Savisky; 82 year old Morton Subotnick revisits his pioneering 1967 electronic music album Silver Apples of the Moon; Australian-Icelandic musician Ben Frost performs live; and more.

On June 20 and 21, 7 Monologues, a festival of one-person-shows, offers a kaleidoscope of seven individual voices sharing stories in seven unique pieces that celebrate the enduring power of the singular storyteller through movement, music, imagery and figures of speech. Award-winning stage and screen actress Charlotte Rampling and renowned French cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton perform the works of Benjamin Britten and Sylvia Plath in The Night Dances. With Who Killed Spalding Gray? Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor brings his newest solo work to Toronto. Musician Christine Fellows and visual artist Shary Boyle collaborate once more with Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home. In Dolor Exquisito (Exquisite Pain) artist Emilio Garcia Wehbi and Biutiful actress Maricel Álvarez reinterpret French artist Sophie Calle. The Referendum, a retelling of El Plebiscito – Chile’s campaign of hope and the foundation for Pablo Larrain’s 2012 Oscar-nominated film No – is read by its multi-award winning author Antonio Skármeta. Between Contentions and How to Overcome the Great Tiredness is a mesmerizing solo dance performance by rising Brazilian star and dancer-choreographer Eduardo Fukushima, and SPAM, dubbed a ‘spoken opera,’ is a multimedia performance by Buenos Aires director, playwright and actor Rafael Spregelburd.

Theatre, dance, film and more

Acclaimed Argentinean writer and director Mariano Pensotti returns after his much-lauded Luminato debut with Cineastas in 2014, to present El pasado es un animal grotesco (June 19 to 21), a multi-layered mega-fiction performed by four actors on an enclosed stage that rotates like a clock.

Malpaso Dance Company, Cuba’s hottest contemporary dance troupe, shares a slice of Havana in a dynamic program of movement and music (June 24 to 26). Showcasing a repertoire of four pieces over three nights, the ensemble is accompanied live by Grammy Award-winning jazz composer Arturo O’Farrill and his band.

Filmed in a single continuous shot and streamed live online and to select cinemas nation-wide, My One Demand (June 25 to 27) is a live, interactive film about unrequited love that follows seven people as they embark on a journey across Toronto. Created by internationally-renowned, UK-based artist group Blast Theory and celebrating its world premiere at Luminato Festival, the film (starring Julian Richings and a local, soon-to-be-announced cast) unfolds live as audiences watch and interact with the cinematic journey in real-time from mobile devices inside the movie theatre or from their computers at home. My One Demand is presented by Redken.

In keeping with the annual, nocturnal tradition, Luminato goes late night on June 26 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) at Roy Thomson Hall in Holst The Planets, an incredible astrological work by Gustav Holst depicting the planets of the solar system.

Free art for all

Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer shares a spontaneously-generated, never-ending montage sequence that uses tens-of-thousands of discarded images to create a compelling visual and auditory experience projected against a plaza in the downtown core. Both a film and a public sculpture, Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell. juxtaposes archival images with sound to create a highly personal experience for all who encounter it. The project is presented in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) from June 19 to 28 and supported by Jonas and Lynda Prince.

For 2015, the Festival Hub in David Pecaut Square is bigger, better, lighter and greener than ever, animated by celebrated Brazilian artist Regina Silveira. Silveira’s installation Glossary is a large-scale play on the word ‘light’ in two parts, running for the duration of the Festival. Commissioned by Luminato Festival, Glossary incorporates a series of coloured, translucent marquees that form a playful pathway bathing festivalgoers in countless words for light from dialects and languages from across Canada and around the world. At night, the city is illuminated with lasers as handwritten words for ‘light’ dance across buildings in the downtown core.

Festival Hub and brand-new indoor venue

Completing the transformation of the Festival Hub is the Garden of Light, designed by Janet Rosenberg, one of Canada’s most distinguished landscape architects, and planted with the support of local greenhouses, flower markets, conservatories and Toronto’s greenest thumbs. The Hub reflects a yearning for more greenspace in Toronto and asks how we can make the city brighter, lighter and more livable as David Pecaut Square is transformed into a lush, green, and fully-licensed urban oasis – the city’s biggest backyard – offering 10 days of food and beverage, cabaret, music and unexpected interventions.

A brand new, indoor venue called the Festival Shed, also located in David Pecaut Square, boasts a broad range of exciting programming, including Luminato Festival’s first-ever cabaret series, dubbed Cabaret at the Festival Shed. In this disarming meld of performance art, theatre, music and play, Kid Koala hosts an interactive live experience that puts audiences in groups of four at stations equipped with turntables, effects boxes and a small crate of colour-coded vinyl records, tasked with accompanying Kid Koala as an ‘ambient vinyl orchestra’ on June 19 and 20. Bridget Everett, a performer called “raw and riotous” by The New York Times, entertains with her extraordinary style on June 22, and musician, muse and artist Joey Arias shares A Centennial Tribute to Billie Holiday (June 25). Award-winning playwright, actor, singer-songwriter and cabaret performer Taylor Mac, favourite of the New York Times, reframes the history of music with his 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The 20th Century Abridged on June 26 and 27.

Two Festival fan-favourites are back at the Festival Shed with sure to sell-out performances. Jason Collett’s Basement Revue, the mystery line-up that brings Canadian literary and musical talent to the stage with a rock and roll sensibility, is Luminato’s late-night destination and official after-party for audiences and artists for 10-days straight. The Basement Revue is presented by Mill Street Brewery.

The New York Times returns with TimesTalks Luminato (June 21), its long-running, popular series of live and online conversations with the most celebrated artists, newsmakers and social influencers of the day. Times writers Ben Sisario, Jon Pareles, and Sarah Lyall interview Nelly Furtado (Contemporary Color), St. Vincent (Contemporary Color) and Charlotte Rampling (7 Monologues: The Night Dances).

Family-friendly and FREE!

Open from noon till 2 a.m. from June 19 to 28, with South American-inspired food and drink served with love by popular Toronto restaurant Parts & Labour, The Festival Hub is the place to start and end your Luminato experience each day. Free and family-friendly programming is paramount this year with a jam-packed schedule that boasts something for everyone (even your dog).

In a nod to Toronto’s celebration of sport at this summer’s Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, Luminato takes the party up a notch with daily concerts, literary talks, and food events all inspired by different Pan American countries. Stop by the Festival Garden Stage (the Festival Hub’s outdoor performance space) each night for a range of world music concerts in a fun fusion of musical talents from Toronto and around the world. Highlights include Las Yegros, Ani Cordero, Martha Redbone Roots Project, Los de Abajo, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, Socalled, Kobo Town, Las Cafeteras, Mundo Livre and so much more. Plus, catch a free daily showcase of the brightest Canadian talent with The New Canadian Music Series co-curated by Slaight Music and Luminato Festival also on the Festival Garden Stage.

Bring the entire family (pets too) for an afternoon of fun at the TSO’s Free Outdoor Concert: A Symphonic Zoo on the Festival’s closing Sunday (June 28), as the full forces of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform music inspired by animals including selections from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Stravinsky’s Firebird, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, The Bulldog from Elgar’s Enigma Variations and The Mule from Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite.

Highlights at the Festival Hub include:

  • Opening Night Garden Party + Orchestra Karaoke (June 19): audience-members-turned-karaoke-singers have the opportunity to give the performance of a lifetime accompanied by a full orchestra composed of some of the city’s best non-professional musicians. Plus, catch a colour guard demonstration from teams featured in Contemporary Color and much more.
  • Luminato Literary Talks (June 23 and 24) + the North South Project (June 20): Join local literary royalty for a series of chats or listen to a collective work of storytelling authored by twelve celebrated writers including Carmen Aguirre, Joseph Boyden, Ins Choi and more from across the breadth of the Americas, from the Canadian Arctic to Argentina, brought to life by local performers.
  • A Celebration of Indigenous Pan American Food (June 21): Luminato Festival’s annual food festival adds some indigenous and Pan American flavour this year. Learn about the indigenous ingredients that form the heart of Pan American culture and cuisine, following each ingredient’s journey from its origins around the globe to today in Toronto, and sample unique interpretations by 12 of Toronto’s best chefs.
  • Brazilian Block Party (June 27): a festive, all-day, outdoor street party headlined by Brazilian group Mundo Livre, with food, drink, music and dance, curated by Uma Nota. A carnival of active cultural jamming and a lot of dancing!
  • An Imaginary Rose Garden (June 19 to 28): Luminato Festival and Lancôme Canada invite you to add a little colour to the city by combining natural beauty and technology with a unique digital installation nestled in the heart of the Festival’s Garden of Light environment. This project is presented by Lancôme.

The Festival Hub is supported by OLG, Next Pathway Inc., Mill Street Brewery and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly.

And more

Other not-to-be-missed programs include the return of The Copycat Academy, Copycat Talks, and Running Commentary on Cronenberg, a project by Hannah Hurtzig produced by Luminato Festival. Designed to engage emerging artists from diverse fields, The Copycat Academy takes the work and biography of an artist as the model for its curriculum and over the course of a one-week intensive learning experience, that artist’s process is hijacked. This year’s subject is filmmaker and novelist David Cronenberg with international Academy participants led by an impressive faculty including renowned choreographer Meg Stuart, cultural theorist Marcus Boon, artists Kent Monkman, film theorist Jonathan Beller, neurosurgeon Dr. Mojgan Hodaie, and more. Copycat Talks and Running Commentary invite the public to engage with academy participants and faculty (June 22, 26, and 28).

Part of the Festival’s free art for all programming, Art in Transit is an artistic-TTC-takeover that pairs artists from around the world (who have never been to Toronto) with screens on subway station platforms. Artists create 10-second silent video postcards sharing their vision of Toronto from distant viewpoints around the world. Art in Transit is presented by CIBC. And at the Festival Hub and various Festival venues, grab a copy of LightNews, Luminato Festival’s daily dose of performance in print, written daily (and at light speed) by the Luminato team.

Luminato Festival is supported by an enthusiastic, dedicated and diverse group of more than 500 volunteers. The Volunteer Program is presented by Manulife.

Tickets for the 2015 Luminato Festival are now on sale and can be purchased 24/7 at or by calling the Luminato Festival Box Office at 416-368-4849 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Ticket savings are available for youth (18 and under)/students, arts workers and groups (10+), or by bundling four or more events in a ticket package. For full ticketing details, dates, times and prices, please visit

About Luminato Festival

Luminato Festival is Toronto’s international multi-arts festival for people open to having art change their outlook on the world. For 10 days each June, Luminato Festival transforms Toronto’s theatres, parks and public spaces with hundreds of events celebrating theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, magic, film, and more.

Luminato Festival is a charitable, not-for-profit, cultural organization whose vision is to commission and present significant local, national, and international programming that reflects Toronto as a crossroads of ideas, cultures and traditions. Now in its 9th year, Luminato Festival has become one of North America’s leading arts festivals. The Luminato Festival runs June 19 to 28, 2015.

Luminato Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support and vision of its Founding Luminaries, SuperNova donors, and Patron Circle Members. Luminato Festival also proudly acknowledges the support of its Founding Government Partner the Province of Ontario as well as the following partners:

Major Partners: Government of Canada, L’Oréal Canada
Presenting Partners: City of Toronto, CIBC
Program and Official Partners: BMO, Manulife, Slaight Music, Mill Street Brewery, OLG, President’s Choice black label Collection
Major Media Partners: Toronto Star, Bell Media, The Globe and Mail
Marketing Partners: Classical 96.3 FM and AM740, Air Canada Centre, CBC
Government Partner: Ontario Arts Council
Corporate Supporters: Aimia, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, The Boston Consulting Group, glaceau smartwater, glaceau vitaminwater, Janet Rosenberg & Studio, Next Pathway Inc., Stikeman Elliott LLP

Apocalypsis is presented by BMO and supported by The Hal Jackman Foundation and Gretchen and Donald Ross. Contemporary Color is presented by CIBC.

Media Contact

Melissa Augimeri
416 532 9035