Luminato 2019 Round Up

A recap of the thirteenth annual International Festival of Arts and Ideas

Jun 25, 2019 | BY: Luminato

After 80+ performances and events including 7 world premieres3 North American premieres, 5 Canadian premieres and 5 Luminato commissions, Luminato 2019 came to a close last month.

From artists, audiences, donors, corporate partners, volunteers and every single person who worked behind the scenes to make #Luminato2019 happen, THANK YOU!

We’re thrilled to have been able to share 17 incredible days of programming with you and can’t wait to kick things off for Luminato 2020. In the meantime, here's a round up of highlights from Luminato 2019 to see you through until our 2020 announcement. 

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Luminato 2019 Highlights

Maada'ookii Songlines: was an incredible finale to Luminato 2019! A crowd of over 4000 people joined us to celebrate the spirit of this incredible city with 200 singers from 11 diverse choirs, 4 soloists, and an Indigenous ensemble braiding their songs, styles, voices and cultures, set against Toronto's breathtaking waterfront.


Photo by Brian Medina 

Maada’ookkii Songlines was presented by TD The Ready Commitment and supported by the Government of Ontario and Canada Council for the Arts. 

Forget Me Not: The sold out world premiere of renowned puppet master Ronnie Burkett's latest work was an immersive theatrical experience that both mesmerized and enthralled audiences.

Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

Forget Me Not was presented by BMO.

House of Mirrors: The North American debut of the kaledescopic wonder from down under was an incredible part of #Luminato2019 and made for some stunning photo ops. 

Photos by Dahlia Katz and Archie Naik

House of Mirrors was supported by OLG and the Government of Ontario.

Monday Nights: The interactive basketball/theatre hyrbid, performed in a converted parking garage, won the hearts of Luminato audiences as the city cheered on the Raptor's to their historic NBA championship! 

Photo by Taku Kumabe 

Monday Nights was supported by The McLean Foundation. 

KIRA, The Path | La Voie: The premiere of Lua Shayenne's uplifting and energetic dance production, with Guinean drummer and choreographer Fara Tolno, started Luminato 2019 off on a highly rythmic note. 

Photo by Dahlia Katz

The Full Light of Day: Vancouver based Electric Company Theatre's innovative production wowed audiences and had critics marvelling at Director Kim Collier's "mind boggling" (Ludwig Van Toronto) creativity. 

Photo by Don Lee 


Masquerade: Moscow's oldest theatre company, Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia, transformed John W.H Bassett Theatre into snowy 19th century Russia. 

Photo by Valeriy Miasnikov

Four Sisters: The final work in Susanna Fournier's The Empire trilogy cemented her reputation as one of Toronto's most exciting playwrights to watch. 

Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh 

Four Sisters was supported by The William and Nona Heaslip Family Foundation.

Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools: Artists Evalyn Parry and Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory brought back their thought-provoking (and 2018 Dora-award winning) work. The performance was complimented by a riveting Illuminating Ideas panel discussion - Changing Tides

Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh 

Obeah Opera: Nicole Brooks' foot-stomping, spirit-lifting musical retelling of the Salem witch trials from the perspective of Tituba, a Caribbean slave woman, was one of the biggest hits of Luminato 2019 with audiences clapping and singing along with the 20-strong all-female cast. 

Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh 

Obeah Opera was presented by Renette and David Berman.

BIZIINDAN!: A musical night to remember at Toronto’s iconic Koerner Hall featuring artists' Marie Gaudet, Pura Fé⁣, Lido Pimienta, Digging Roots and Jeremy Dutcher. 

Clockwise from top left, Marie Gaudet and Pura Fé, Lido Pimienta, Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish of Digging Roots and Jeremy Dutcher. Photos by Jeremy Mimnagh 


BIZIINDAN! was supported by Slaight Music 

The Cave: Created by legendary Canadian artists John Millard, Tomson Highway and Martha Ross, this apocalyptic cabaret explored climate change from the perspective of animals fleeing a forest fire. The production was live-streamed across the globe on June 22, a Luminato first! 

Photo by Delal Hagos

The Cave was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council, with the generous support of Soulpepper Theatre Company.

Illuminating Ideas: Our series of films and panel discussions, including True North, Angry Inuk, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, LGBTQ+  Censorship in Art, Southwest of Salem and Witch Hunts Through History, made for some thought-provoking and insightful discussions throughout the festival. 

Illuminating Ideas was supported by Luminato's major media partner The Globe and Mail. 

Hell's Fury, The Hollywood Songbook: This autobiographical opera, featuring world-renowned baritone Russell Braun, wowed audiences with its incredible set design and projections by the award-winning designer Michael Levine

Photo by Trevor Haldenby

Hell's Fury, The Hollywood Songbook was a co-production with Soundstreams and supported by Steinway Piano Gallery Toronto. 

Flowers for Kazuo Ohno (and Leonard Cohen): Performed by the fiery Colombian dance troupe, Compañía del Cuerpo de Indias, this amazing international dance work was the perfect marriage of the music and movement of two iconic artists, Kazuo Ohno and Leonard Cohen.

Photo by Carlos Lema Posada 

Flowers for Kazuo Ohno (and Leonard Cohen) was presented by Cheryl and Rob McEwen, YPO Toronto and St Joseph Communications and was supported by Anonymous (2), David Allgood and Helen Stevenson, Rena Bedard and Bill Dillane, Bill and Dawne Benson, Tiana Koffler Boyman and Marc Boyman, Michael Bregman and Katie Osborne, Cardinal Couriers Ltd, Paul and Lynn Damp, Robert and Tracy Elder, Bill and Sharon Fielding, Claudia and Sven Grail, Heather and Greg Hogarth, Grant and Anne Hood, Don K. Johnson, OC LLD, Lorraine and Neville Kirchmann, Leslie MacLeod and Allan MacEwan, Don and Helen McGillivray, Gilles and Julia Ouellette, Gretchen and Donald Ross, OC, Greg and Kate Sorbara, Maureen and Warren Spitz, Pamela and Larry Stevenson, Bill and Judy Stewart, Kingsley and Christine Ward and Sandy and John Welton.

Rite of Spring: The North American premiere of Yang Liping's epic dance work set social media ablaze with its distinguished moments of exceptional beauty and gravity defying movement.

Photo courtesy of A Peacock Contemporary Dance Company

Rite of Spring was presented by Joan and Jerry Lozinski and was supported by Eleanor and Francis Shen

And finally, we'd like to say a big THANK YOU to our amazing volunteers for Luminato 2019! We couldn't have done it without you and we appreciate all your hard work. 

Until next time!