Prize-win­ning ex­pe­ri­en­tial shows il­lus­trate the chang­ing na­ture of the fest


The 28th edi­tion of SummerWorks wrapped up last week­end, and it’s clear the fes­ti­val has changed – and not just be­cause the hub is now clearly, and con­ve­niently, in the Queen and Lis­gar area.

More than ever, the most ex­cit­ing shows seem to be per­for­mance art or ex­pe­ri­en­tial shows rather than script­based works.

The fact that many shows – in­clud­ing sev­eral prize-win­ners – had two or three per­for­mances, or some­times a to­tal au­di­ence ca­pac­ity of a cou­ple dozen peo­ple, was frus­trat­ing for the ca­sual, non-scene viewer.

For in­stance, the win­ner of the fest’s pro­duc­tion award, Lost To­gether, con­ceived by Shira Leuchter, was bril­liant, and un­like any­thing I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced at the fes­ti­val, but in­volved a mere 21 par­tic­i­pants.

And the NOW Au­di­ence Choice Award went to xLq’s 4in­Xchange, an in­ter­ac­tive piece that in­volved four peo­ple at a time.

“Both the pro­duc­tion award and au­di­ence award went to in­ter­ac­tive, ex­pe­ri­en­tial shows this year – which is so ex­cit­ing – and yet again a di­rec­tor of a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary work has won the di­rec­tion award [Alyssa Martin for fan­ta­sylover],” said the fes­ti­val’s artis­tic and manag­ing di­rec­tor, Laura Nanni.

“This re­ally val­i­dates our com­mit­ment to artists in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of what per­for­mance can be.”

Honourable men­tions for the pro­duc­tion award were the ex­cel­lent Box 4901 and Lion Womxn; and for di­rec­tor to Ma­jdi Bou-Matar and Aida Key­haii for the im­pres­sive Adren­a­line and Swim Team.

The emerg­ing artist award went to The­atre du Poulet for The Ex­tinc­tion Of Hong Kongers, with honourable men­tion go­ing to xLq.

The Jon Kaplan spot­light award, given to a fea­tured per­former in a show, went to Amanda Cord­ner for Body So Flu­o­res­cent. Honourable men­tion went to the Lion Womxn ensemble.

The Con­tra Guys award for new per­for­mance text went to Natasha Adiyana Mor­ris for The Ne­groes Are Con­gre­gat­ing; honourable men­tions to Aisha Sasha John (the aisha of is) and Aurora Ste­wart de Peña (Hot Cuts).

And the Bud­dies in Bad Times van­guard award for risk/in­no­va­tion went to Eroca Ni­chols, for both Truthteller and The Reck­on­ing. Honor­able men­tions went to the artis­tic teams be­hind Café Sara­jevo and Ka­ti­ma­juit.

4in­Xchange, with Mad­die Bautista and Jor­dan Camp­bell, won the NOW Au­di­ence Choice Award.

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