This morning we headed to Toronto with our goal being a visit to one of the many Luminato events. As per many of our trips back to the city we had to go through our old neighbourhood near Yonge and Eglinton. Heinrich had to make his usual stops at Higher Ground and Sporting Life while the kids and I checked out some "porch sales" aka garage sales for those with a garage! After Heinrich's requisite shopping and lunch we treated the kids to a cupcake from the very well known Cupcake Shoppe on Yonge. As you can see, they thoroughly enjoyed them.
I have heard about Luminato but have never been to any of the events. At gymnastics last week one of the moms was telling us about this new event which her husband was a part of. She said it was free and suitable for kids - perfect! The event, The New Waves Festival was held at the Young Centre for Performing Arts which is located in the Distillery District.
This festival is the brain child of Albert Schultz. It is described as:
"An Artistic Treasure Hunt. Ranging from choreographed pieces inspired by simple, everyday tasks, to vocalists disguised as architectural wonders, to bedtime stories and cell phone theatre, New Waves offers something for all ages and interests, free of charge."
There were so many aspects to this event that I loved. It was very welcoming. Not intimidating at all. Albert Schultz spoke to us on a few occasions to either guide us to events we would enjoy and to ensure that we were having a good time. One thing I love about Torontonians is that a "star" can be in their midst and no one lets on! The volunteers of this event always ensured that you had somewhere to go. Each event didn't seem to last more than 15 minutes which was perfect for children. Although there weren't many children there it was the perfect event for parents wanting to introduce their children to the performing arts.
When we first arrived we were greeted by Albert Schultz and another resident artist and they suggested we go upstairs to see a Closet Performer. Basically you don't have time to question suggestions or worry about your part in this mysterious event! We went upstairs and at start time our family and two other people were led into a closet. Quite literally a dressing room closet. Inside was a male performer sitting on a stool starting to sing and tap out a rhythmic beat. We all stood around him and he basically made up a song with our input. It was fantastic. The kids quite enjoyed this. No pressure at all. From what I understand there were other closets with different performers. I heard the evidence of a tap dancer in one!
After the closet performers we went to see Innoventions. As part of the festival the resident artists are taking turns at the different events. Often they won't know what their role will be and they'll have to improvise. At this particular event there were 8 or so visitors and 8 or so artists. We were divided into two groups and as a team we had to come up with a dance or cheer routine. We had ten minutes to prepare and practice and then we had to perform it for the other group. This was so much fun! It was neat for the kids to see the artists develop their ideas and then for them to take our suggestions and build on them. This picture is of our group gearing up to perform.
Probably our favourite event was "Bedtime Stories". We entered a room filled with cots and pillows. There were probably 20 of us in the room. You never knew who the bedtime story reader was going to be. It turned out that ours was the very famous Kenneth Walsh. Wow. So cool. The lights went out and a starry night time sky was projected onto the ceiling. In his fabulous voice (reminiscent of a Shakespearean play) Kenneth read us a very descriptive story. When he wasn't reading another artist sang to us. It was fantastic. The kids lay still for the whole time.
One of the highlights for the kids was the swing room. This room was set up with four swings and paper on the walls for kids and adults to write their thoughts or draw whatever they liked. Young and old seemed to appreciate this room!
Below is a picture of another unique event, the Seven Singing Structures. Each singer came out with a (large) model of some type of structure on their head. The structures included; the Eiffel tower, an outhouse, skyscrapper, etc.. Mickey was in awe. Their voices were incredible and something about them standing there with these things on their head made it quite humorous as well.
It was a great day and we will definitely do this event next year. This event is very fluid and I imagine that it could be visited more that once because the performers change and the audience often factors into the end result. Very dynamic exhibit. Perfect for the homeschooler!