SummerWorks is a veritable launchpad for new work, so it’s a great tip to check out these performances while they’re on the ground floor. Seeing these performances in their (oft) unvarnished state makes for a raw, unforgettable experience (nearly half of the works are in the development phase—as part of the SummerWorks Lab). Check out the whole roster. You’re in for a treat.

Here’s what we’ll be keeping our eyes on during this year’s festival. 

Syreeta Hector’s Black Ballerina probes her experience of being a mixed-race (Indigenous, African Canadian, and French) woman, and how that has informed her experience as a classical ballerina. Dramaturged by Seika Boye, Black Ballerina asks tough questions about inclusion and diversity, and challenges us to reexamine how we view identity. August 11 to 15 at The Theatre Centre – BMO Incubator (1115 Queen Street W). 

Emerging artist Celia Green’s Wah Wah Wah is a highly physical and theatrical look at the incidences of harassment experienced by young women, and how those moments eat away at a person over the course of time. If you’ve ever received an unsolicited dick pic, had a bra snapped as a middle-schooler, or been subjected to sexual harassment at work, you’ll get it. August 8 to 18 at The Theatre Centre – BMO Incubator (1115 Queen Street W).

From ‘Safe and Sorry’ – Photo: Peter Demas

Lauren Gillis and Alaine Hutton’s blistering work, Safe and Sorry, deals with a man who teaches a dating and pick-up seminar called Power Play, which suddenly becomes popular with the incel crowd. The play shines a light on the state of affairs within sexual relationships, but it also asks us to open our minds to the vulnerabilities of others, particularly those who are struggling to make themselves more appealing to the opposite sex. August 9 to 16 at The Theatre Centre – Franco Boni Theatre (1115 Queen Street W). 

Based on the critically acclaimed album of the same name, Audible Songs from Rockwood lifts stories from the files of women incarcerated at Rockwood Asylum for the Criminally Insane between 1856 and 1881. Written, created and performed by Simone Schmidt, Rockwood remembers these women and posits new questions about the very foundation of our systems of incarceration. August 10 to August 18 at The Theatre Centre – Franco Boni Theatre (1115 Queen Street W).

With a fresh take on the confusing world of relationships, CHILD-ISH is a verbatim play drawn from actual interviews with children about love and dating. Kids’ exact words are re-contextualized and performed by adults, with surprising (and often uproarious) results. This play will make you question whether you really have it all figured out when it comes to matters of the heart. August 8 to August 14 at The Theatre Centre – Franco Boni Theatre (1115 Queen Street W).