As a theatre artist and lover, what I’ve been missing most during the pandemic is live theatre! Theatre brings people together, encourages empathy, and creates community. Canadian Stage is helping to fill the void, and giving us hope, with their plans for a safe theatre season held in High Park this summer.  

For almost 40 years, Canadian Stage has presented Shakespeare in High Park. This summer will look a little different: Canadian Stage has chosen to share the High Park Amphitheatre with partner companies (including Native Earth Performing Arts, Storytelling Toronto, and Summerworks) that will offer theatre-goers the opportunity to watch a diverse selection of Toronto arts and culture, including plays, concerts, a new musical, family programming, movies, and more. It will be called Dream in High Park and will hope to expand what once was Shakespeare in High Park into a collaborative, multi-disciplinary and meaningful reflection of Toronto’s diverse theatre community. 

Canadian Stage is embracing the change that this pandemic has offered us by opening up their creative doors to a wide variety of artists. This summer in High Park might be the first in-person live theatre season in Toronto since the onset of the pandemic, and Canadian Stage recognizes the unique opportunity to include a large selection of creative voices. All of which have been dying to be live and on stage.  

Photo by Dahlia Katz

“This summer brings us to a critical moment for arts and culture in this city,” says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “We hope to be entering a period of recovery and healing from the pandemic. We are all feeling tentative and yet are yearning for art and connection. What we wanted to do with High Park this summer is share it – share it in a way that meaningfully takes action on commitments we have made in the last two years and share it in a way that facilitates the beginning of this recovery period ­– not just for us but for the community at large.”

Executive Director, Monica Esteves, says that Canadian Stage is optimistic for a mid-June launch. The High Park Amphitheatre, usually open to 1000 people, will now be limited to an audience of 100. It’s a perfect space for social distancing. 

“We have access to something that is so special in this city,” says Executive Director Monica Esteves. “The High Park Amphitheatre is often one of the first places new Torontonians experience theatre in the city, and they bring their kids, those kids bring their kids – it is a generational experience. To share this special space and collaborate with so many incredible organizations, of all sizes and forms, has been a delight.”

I am so looking forward to attending Dream in High Park this summer. I can’t wait to sit under the summer sky and feel the vibrations of actors and creatives from my seat in the Amphitheatre. I want to be inspired! In person and by a wide variety of artists, and this seems like the perfect opportunity to refresh my understanding of theatre and art. Hope to see you there!

Dream in High Park is scheduled to kick off June 29th. See full lineup of programming here