Black text on light blue background: Progress, Feb 1-18, International Festival of Performance and Ideas

Progress Festival

The Theatre Centre and SummerWorks Festival

Progress is an international festival of performance and ideas presented in partnership by SummerWorks Performance Festival and The Theatre Centre. The festival is collectively curated and produced by a series of Toronto-based companies, operating within a contemporary performance context.

ASL Interpreted Events

Opening Night Party
Thursday, February 1
9:30pm – late
Featuring DJ sets by Regina Gently and MDLSX’s Silvia Calderoni, and a performance by ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company

Long Table with Lois Weaver
Friday, February 9
7:00pm – 8:30pm

The Long Table is an experiment in performance as a means of public engagement, and has been taken up by a vast array of practitioners in a variety of disciplines as a way to encircle, question, and reflect in a performative, and communal way. The originator of The Long Table, Lois Weaver, hosts this special edition for Progress.

The Long Table is curated and presented by SummerWorks in collaboration with FADO Performance Art Centre and The Rhubarb Festival.

This is a free event, but advance registration is highly recommended as capacity is limited. Click here to register now:

Contemporaneity 2.0
Gandhari followed by a Q&A
Friday, February 16

Contemporaneity 2.0
Becoming & MWON’D (uma) followed by a Q&A)
Sunday, February 18

Single Tickets: $25: PURCHASE TICKETS
3-Show Progress Pass: $60: PURCHASE PASS
Box Office: 416-538-0988

“…a new perspective on space, movement, and performance, and what can be created if we’re willing to take a few risks.”
– Toronto Standard

Unsettling the widespread use of “contemporary” as describing European and white American theatrical dance, this series resists by asking: can we re-centre the contemporary as a shared inquiry, widening circles of inclusion, aesthetics and political frames through the body, divergent practices and perspectives, with care, rigour and curiosity.

In Wild Moon & Eventual Ashes’ Becoming (Tkaronto), a woman journeys to the dream world to connect to her ancestral guides, challenge her oppression and trauma, and affirm her magic. In MWON’D (uma), Rhodnie Désir (Montréal) turns to the word’s etymology—moun, for human; mwen for me; and anmey, for cry of distress—to find the intimate, troubled and spiritual space of being. And in Gandhari, Gitanjali Kolanad (India) uses the mythological figure from the Mahabharata and the martial art form of kalaripayat to examine the effects of loss on the body, tracing a path from grief, through anger and revenge, to transcendence.

Contemporaneity offers performances as well as free open process showings and conversations with the artists. Anandam is also pleased to offer the Audience-in-Residence salon, moderated by guest artists, inviting audiences to listen to each other’s questions, curiosities and experiences, and to write their own creative, collaborative, and critical responses. Come and be a part of this very special dance series, as we generate new ideas about dance, theatre, ritual, tradition, innovation and contemporary performance; as we hold together the multiplicity of meaning created in live performance.

“The premise of the show is to reclaim contemporary dance, to mean, CONTEMPORARY DANCE; as in current, present day, and not limited to the Eurocentric picture that you probably have in your mind.”
– Travis Knights, The Tap Love Tour podcast

Progress Late Night
Saturday, February 17
11:00pm – late

Progress never sleeps.
This late night event will feature an exciting line-up of DJs, performers and special guests. Stay tuned for details as they become announced.

Presented in collaboration with Toronto Dance Community Love-In –

Tactile Audio Display seating available

TAD-TARDIS (Tactile Audio Relative Dimension In Sound) is an eight channel tactile sound system for the body. A limited number of TAD-TARDIS seats are available to patrons for whom it may increase accessibility. Please select a TAD seat when purchasing your ticket.

minor matter
Friday, February 16 at 10:00pm
Saturday, February 17 at 10:00pm
Sunday, February 18 at 6:00pm

Single Tickets: $25: PURCHASE TICKETS
3-Show Progress Pass: $60: PURCHASE PASS
Box Office: 416-538-0988

In minor matter, two apparatuses are at play—blackness and the spectacle. This is the second work by Dominican-born Ligia Lewis from her trilogy (BLUE, RED, WHITE). Three dancers push against the boundaries of the stage, while illustrating a humble relationship between their bodies and the space that encapsulates it.

Lewis turns to the colour red to materialize thoughts between love and rage. Built on the logic of interdependence, the theatre’s parts—light, sound, image, and architecture—become entangled with the performers, giving life to a vibrant social and poetic space.

minor matter (2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production) unfolds multi-directionally, creating a poetics of dissonance from which questions of re-presentation, presentation, abstraction, and the limits of signification emerge. The performers get exhausted as their bodies strip the stage of its formal mystique to approach its matter—black.

“It turns out utopia is going to have to coexist with apocalypse and that both have been with us all along. Lewis’s work offers a kind of oblique blueprint for how joy, hope, anger, and despair are all always the case, using the paradigmatic fact of blackness.” – 4Columns, New York City

English Surtitle Performances

Thursday, February 1 at 8:00pm
Friday, February 2 at 8:00pm
Saturday, February 3 at 8:00pm

Single Tickets: $25: PURCHASE TICKETS
3-Show Progress Pass: $60: PURCHASE PASS
Box Office: 416-538-0988

“I was born twice: I was first one thing, and then the other.”

Award-winning performer Silvia Calderoni defies gender and genre in this visceral and visually ravishing production from Italy’s renowned performance troupe, Motus.

MDLSX is an explosive performance-art-piece-meets-pulsating-DJ-set which refuses to be labeled or contained. It spills across barriers, both artistic and societal, in its exploration of gender ambiguity. Combining Calderoni’s own life stories with fiction, the works of Judith Butler, and rock & roll, MDLSX is a kaleidoscopic investigation of identity. It is a hymn to the freedom of becoming, to gender bending, to a being that cannot be contained by the borders of the body, skin colour, sexual organs, or a national identity.

“Silvia Calderoni must be made of mercury, or some improbably liquid element that has yet to be discovered. Surely no body of mortal flesh could undergo the quicksilver transformations achieved by this remarkable performer….”
– Ben Brantley, New York Times

Dis Merci
Wednesday, February 14 at 7:00pm
Thursday, February 15 at 7:00pm
Friday, February 16 at 8:30pm
Saturday, February 17 at 7:00pm

Single Tickets: $25: PURCHASE TICKETS
3-Show Progress Pass: $60: PURCHASE PASS
Box Office: 416-538-0988

The arrival of more than 40,000 refugees in Canada since 2015 provides the backdrop to this timely work that explores our relationship to our Canadian identity; to our individual identities; and how we relate to “the Other”.

In Dis Merci, four neighbours are getting ready to throw a party for a refugee family arriving in Canada. Despite their best intentions to accept the newcomers into their lives with genuine warmth, they quickly veer into prejudice, stereotypes, and dysfunction. Through dance, theatre, knitting, and inflatable objects, this deliciously awkward devised piece cracks opens complex issues around how we treat anyone who deviates from the norm.

Joe Jack et John’s Dis Merci is the latest work from this innovative company that has been devising inclusive theatrical performances since 2003. Joe Jack et John incorporate elements of dance and the visual arts in its politically engaged artistic practice to throw into question the notion of alterity. Co-founder Catherine Bourgeois has created a searingly relevant show with an integrated cast of people living with and without disabilities.

Having charmed audiences at home and abroad, Joe Jack et John make their Toronto premiere with a signature work tackling the realities of the society in which we live with grace, honesty, and dark humour.


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