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Luminato was founded by Tony Gagliano, Executive Chairman and CEO of St. Joseph Communications, and the late David Pecaut, CM Senior Partner at The Boston Consulting Group, in 2007. Luminato works with a Festival Advisory Committee consisting of local arts leaders. Janice Price was Luminato’s first CEO and currently remains in this position. Chris Lorway was selected as Luminato’s first Artistic Director, until 2011. In September 2011, Jörn Weisbrodt, a German arts administrator, was named Luminato’s new Artistic Director. Weisbrodt was the Director of Robert Wilson's Watermill Center.
The seventh annual Luminato Festival will take place from June 14-23, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario.
On November 19th 2012, Luminato announced it will present the North American premiere of The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, a biography of the “godmother of performance art,” Marina Abramović, re-imagined by director Robert Wilson, at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Bluma Appel Theatre.
Luminato6 took place June 8-17, 2012, where 14 commissioned and co-commissioned new works, eight premieres, and over 270 events at 25 theatres, museums, parks and public spaces throughout Toronto were presented. There were 1093 participating artists in Luminato6, representing 20 different countries, including six Canadian provinces. Notable performances included Playing Cards 1: SPADES by Robert Lepage.
The fifth edition of Luminato ran from June 10–19, 2011 and featured over 400 mostly free events, at 29 venues across Toronto. Almost 1 million Festival-goers witnessed the work of 750 Canadian and international artists from 28 countries, as they performed world, North American, and Canadian premieres, as well as commissioned works.
The fourth edition of Luminato ran from June 11–20, 2010. Nine new works were commissioned or co-commissioned by Luminato for the 2010 festival, including the North American premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna and the world premiere of Volcano Theatre’s The Africa Trilogy. Luminato 2010 presented five world premieres, four North American premieres, and one Canadian premiere, as well as the North American debut of Syria’s acclaimed dance company, Enana Dance Theatre. Luminato 2010 took place in 36 venues across the city, featuring artists representing 30 countries.
The third annual Luminato was June 5–14, 2009. Themes of the festival included the celebration of the guitar, the commemoration of Edgar Allan Poe, and the exploration of society's relationship with technology. The festival was opened by Randy Bachman at Yonge-Dundas Square as part of the Luminato First Night event. The 10-day event included performances by Goran Bregovic, a Brazilian Guitar Marathon and a tribute to Neil Young featuring the Cowboy Junkies; Holly Cole; Danny Michel; Steven Page; Carole Pope; Bill Frisell Trio; Issa (formerly Jane Siberry); Colin Linden; Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian); Harry Manx; Jason Collett; Sarah Slean and musical director Kevin Breit.
Luminato 2009 featured the North American Premiere of Robert Lepage’s nine-hour epic Lipsynch, which weaves together the stories of nine interconnected lives over the span of 70 years.
The second annual Luminato was June 6–15, 2008. The event featured 1,400 local artists and hosted 40 international arts managers and producers who were seeking new works to present abroad. According to a festival wrap-up report, Luminato attendance at ticketed events rose 11% from the first year’s attendance numbers.
The festival also featured four world premiere events, and seven Canadian premiere events celebrating diversity and art. Programming highlights from the 2008 Luminato Festival included:
Black Watch, The National Theatre of Scotland’s theatrical piece by playwright Gregory Burke. The Festival also featured director Tim Supple’s international version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream presented by a company of 23 Indian and Sri Lankan dancers, street acrobats, martial arts experts, musicians, actors and performers. The play was performed in seven languages; English, Tamil, Malayalam, Sinhalese, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, and Sanskrit. The Daily Mail (UK) described it as “Ravishing and enchanting. Supple’s all-Indian production is a Dream as you’ve never seen it.”
Luminato presented Mikel Rouse’s epic opera trilogy for the first time in repertory. The multi-media musical trilogy includes The End of Cinematics, a live video collage. In high contrast are Rouse’s solo show Failing Kansas, a multi-media opera directly inspired by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and his talk show opera, Dennis Cleveland, a fusion of pop, rock and rhythmic structures.
The inaugural Luminato festival took place from June 1–10, 2007. The event featured over 1,300 local and 214 international artists participating in events taking place at over 30 venues across the downtown Toronto core. The festival had over 1,035,000 attendees present, both local Torontonians and tourists.
Some highlights of Luminato’s inaugural festival included: Book of Longing, a music theatre piece using Leonard Cohen’s poetry set to music by Philip Glass. Luminato hosted the inaugural performance of the international tour, which then continued to other festivals and venues around the world.
Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy), the comedic oratorio commissioned by Luminato, and written by Eric Idle & collaborator John Du Prez. Based on Life of Brian, the hour-long oratorio premiered at the Toronto festival before beginning an international tour.
Pulse Front: Relational Architecture 12 was a light installation produced by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and was situated at Toronto’s harbourfront. The installation was dependent on audience participation, with 20 onsite handlebars linked to computers that transmitted the heart beats of those who touched them to one of 20 searchlights streaming above Harbourfront Centre, Toronto.
Luminato receives funding from sponsors, private donors, ticket sales, and various government agencies. In 2005, the Ontario Government committed $1 million in funding, which moved the project forward for the first festival. In 2008, the Ontario Government announced a series of strategic investments in the province’s cultural industry. As part of that initiative, Luminato received $15 million, which was internally restricted by the Board of Directors towards commissioning future projects and securing first-performance rights from Canadian and international artists.
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- "My Bindi".
- Chung, Matthew (June 12, 2007). "Luminato a big success, say organizers". The Star (Toronto). Retrieved March 27, 2010.
- Knelman, Martin (April 2, 2008). "Ontario giving $75M to arts". The Star (Toronto). Retrieved March 27, 2010.
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