Live Performances, Concerts and Festivals to Keep You Inspired At Home

From immersive theatre to live concerts, experience Toronto’s creativity in new (virtual) ways.

While nothing beats watching plays and attending festivals in person, Toronto’s creative community delivers artful, live entertainment to your home.

If you’re like many who need a break from binge-watching, enjoy the following experiences, virtually for now. (Still streaming? Add one of these filmed-in-Toronto shows and movies to your queue.) 

Check back regularly as we add more to enjoy from afar. See our calendar of virtual events and live streams.

Tune into a “live” concert.

Toronto’s thriving live music scene is still sadly on pause. Luckily, many of the city’s musicians have taken to serenading audiences from home. Some of Toronto’s live music venues are even adding virtual concerts to their event listings. You can also now enjoy select live shows from the Horseshoe Tavern online. 

On the R&B front, Waveland Canada curated a virtual concert series: Toronto R&B Sounds. Every Saturday, local Toronto artists perform intimate, live sets for your viewing pleasure. Toronto R&B Sounds tickets are available online and concerts run until the end of November. 

URGNT’s first season of live concerts are available now

In the same vein, URGNT’s mission is to have the city’s incredible (now empty) venues play host to even more incredible musicians. The “ad hoc crowd-funded livestream series” streams shows out to at-home audiences: 19 concerts from 19 different venues. And although URGNT’s first season of live concerts is complete, they plan to stream more in the future. Until then, check out their Youtube channel for past shows.

A gofundme is active now so that musicians—and the other many roles that support the industry—are supported.

This year’s programming highlights struggles of self-isolation

Fight stigma with the largest arts & mental health festival.

Until November 25th, enjoy 48 feature films from around the world at Rendezvous With Madness 2020. This Toronto festival celebrates the creative genius that often accompanies mental illness while challenging mental health stereotypes. Developed by local arts organization Workman Arts, this year’s programming specifically highlights the struggles of self-isolation. Check out their 2020 schedule to learn more about the lineup. 

Satisfy your love of food and film. 

The Toronto Food Film Fest, aka TFFF2020, is screening food-related films until October 25th. Thought-provoking and insightful, these films highlight the beauty and harsh realities of our food industry. And if mouthwatering visuals trigger your hunger, this festival comes with curated snacks and menus that can be delivered to your home. Purchase your pass online and enjoy a large selection of eye-opening films—higher-level passes include cooking workshops, meditation classes and food boxes. 

Celebrate literature in more ways than one.

Back again for another year, the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) goes digital and brings the finest Canadian and International creators, right to your screen. Look forward to musical performances, slam poetry, virtual neighbourhood tours, live readings and more. There’s even light-hearted entertainment for the kiddos. TIFA runs until November 1st and is completely free to attend.

Catch an international art, theatre and music festival.

When Toronto-artist Nick Green’s newest production got cancelled due to COVID-19, he created the Social Distancing Festival: a hub of live-streamed performance art. The site curates international artists whose work got disrupted by the pandemic, and organizes their upcoming performances by date and time—so you can easily access them. The festival’s live streams are set to return this fall, so stay tuned for more!

Local artists perform from home for TO Live’s Living Rooms

Glimpse into the living rooms of Toronto’s performance artists.

TO Live, a network of three iconic local theatres and a spectrum of talent, launched Living Rooms. The initiative—“a dazzling digital extension of [their] theatre stages”—features daily performances from different local artists, broadcasting from the comfort of their homes. It’s a beautiful, intimate way to celebrate talent in the city.

Sit down to some quality Canadian theatre.

The award-winning Expect Theatre in the Distillery District commits to producing cutting-edge films, live performances, podcasts and educational programs that explore contemporary Canadian life. Their podcast, PlayME from CBC Podcasts, transforms theatre scripts from top Canadian productions into audio plays.

Explore Canada’s dynamic creative culture.

Culture Days is on until the end of October, with a versatile mix of artsy entertainment including music, poetry, dance, theatre and any other creative avenue you can think of. The events are free with a pay-what-you-can donation option, should you choose to donate. Additionally, Culture Days features lots of kid-centric events for all ages. 

Score front row seats to the orchestra and ballet. 

Watch members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and Principal Dancers at the National Ballet of Canada, perform from their individual homes in this charming look at life under quarantine.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s new TSO On Demand is yet another safe way to support and enjoy the arts, at your own leisure. Streaming from Roy Thomson Hall, fill your space with the sounds of classical, jazz, holiday tunes and more.

Make happy hour, the funny hour.  

Comedy and happy hour? Sign us up! The Second City currently channels their wit into virtual happy hour meetups, of which you’re invited. Join Toronto’s funniest as they joke, sip and chat, adding a laid-back flavour to live comedy. Second City’s Happy Hour takes place every few Thursdays and features both sketch and improv. Access the schedule online to snag your seat at their virtual bar. 

Toronto Immersive Theatre Group
Subscribe for daily ‘phone plays’ with Against the March

Participate in immersive theatre—over the phone.

Against the March—an immersive theatre experience group—introduces The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries, a weeklong subscription to a personalized narrative in the form of daily phone calls. Break up your daily routine with “your very own micro mystery using the investigative power of good conversation”. Intriguing.

Another immersive option is Convergence Theatre’s Convergence Against Corona!, made up of two parts. The first one commissions artists to create works based on anonymous “COVID Confessions.” The second part, The Corona Variations, consists of six 5-minute phone calls, or “phone plays.” Head to their website to donate or purchase tickets.

See the Calendar of Events for more virtual events and live streams.

See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.

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