Canada: home of bears, maple syrup, and one very handsome Prime Minister. But there’s so much more to our fellow Commonwealth country and we’ve cherry-picked some of their finest theatre, circus and music to prove it.

Watch six performers flip, twist and slide in Company 605’s Inheritor Album, where they test their athletic limits to explore cycles of precedence and inheritance. Get carried away with the totally immersive raw power, along with interactive visuals, lighting and electric soundscape.

If that’s not enough, b*boys, b*girls, breakdancing and hip-hop all link up with high-energy circus acts with Cirque Eloize’s iD. 15 acrobats, aerialists and dancers bring their unique styles to this resolutely urban universe and show us their show-stopping moves, of course with a killer soundtrack.

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From a full stage to a close-to-empty one, solo performances can be just as affecting and enthralling, as you’ll soon see with Huff, a darkly comic yet wrenching account of a young man and his brothers, living on a First Nations reserve in northern Ontario. Award-winning writer-performer Cliff Cardinal plays over a dozen characters in this one-man show, that’ll leave you awed in both its humour and vivid imagery.

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Another one-man experience not to be missed, you can take a look at the way you see others with composer and vocalist Gabriel Dharmoo’s Anthropologies Imaginaires, a mischievous performance where he appears on stage alone, singing foreign, exotic chants and other ritual music. As he performs these tribal exorcisms, experts appear on a video screen explaining his actions. But guess what? It’s all fake. Come examine the eccentricities of Western culture, and the ways we view the ‘other’.

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Storytelling meets music in Tomboy Survival Guide, part anthem, part campfire story, and part instructions for dismantling enforced gender stereotypes. Writer and storyteller Ivan Coyote and an all-tomboy band navigate public washrooms, flower girl dresses at weddings, tying double Windsor knots and discover the power and beauty in realising they were handsome all along.

The master storyteller, David Lynch, gets a music makeover in Sex, Lynch and Video Games. Celebrated Montreal-based composer Nicole Lizee turns Lynch’s already trippy work into absurdist sound art, stretching, compressing and repeating three-second clips from the likes of Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks into distorted pieces. In a bit of cross-cultural connecting, the Australian Art Orchestra joins her for this show that features her David Lynch Etudes, a homage to 80s video games and glitched up karaoke.


If you prefer your music less surrealist and more soulful, Jessy Lanzy’s house-inflected r ‘n’ b will set you up for a hazy late night at Meriton Festival Village. She’ll woo you with the falsetto and down-tempo pop beats that’ve earned her comparisons to Prince.

If this doesn’t have you gleefully singing ‘O Canada’ right now, you might just have to come along and see for yourself…

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