Dive into Toronto’s performing arts scene with summer 2024’s must-see events from Canadian, Indigenous and international performers.

Toronto is a wonderland for arts lovers. Whether you’re a fan of visual arts, live music, film or live stage, there’s always a festival, event or performance to plan a birthday weekend getaway or family trip around.

Here are 12 theatre, musical, comedy and dance performances you won’t want to miss, including great kid-friendly options.


2-Spirit Cabaret, 8th Edition

A celebration of Two Spirit and Indigiqueer resilience and creativity, 2-Spirit Cabaret, 8th Edition (June 13, 2024) features music, dance, drag, comedy and performance art. 

A joint production of Native Earth Performing Arts and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, this Queer Pride Festival event includes a mix and mingle session with food.


Canadian Opera Company’s Aportia Chryptych: A Black Opera for Portia White

A Canadian Opera Company (COC) world premiere, Aportia Chryptych: A Black Opera for Portia White (June 14–16, 2024) reclaims Black Canadian contralto Portia White’s story. 

It’s a tale of art, memory and political resistance, as viewers are introduced to a classical voice once considered the best of her generation, later lost to history. Opera, spoken word, rap, folk, hip hop and R&B fuse in an explosive score that closes out the COC’s 2024 season.

The National Ballet of Canada’s Jewels

The final run of the 2023–2024 season, the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of George Balanchine’s Jewels (June 15–22, 2024) is a ballet triptych inspired by the radiance of three precious gems. 

Each section is set to music by a different composer—Gabriel Fauré (Emeralds), Igor Stravinsky (Rubies) and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Diamonds)—and has a different style, from French Romantic to jazz era to Imperial Russian grandeur.


TINA – The Tina Turner Musical

A rousing comeback story like no other, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical (June 18–July 28, 2024) is a raise-the-rafters celebration of the Queen of Rock n’ Roll. 

An inspiring tale of triumph over tribulation, this musical extravaganza features electrifying Tina Turner hits, jaw-dropping costumes and more. This production at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre features the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall and is directed by the internationally acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd.

Summer Music in the Garden

Easy, breezy waterfront vibes make for a promising season of free summer concerts at the Toronto Music Garden. 

The Summer Music in the Garden series (most Thursdays and Sundays, June 21–August 29, 2024) consists of 18 intimate, live music performances by Indigenous, Canadian and international artists, including JUNO Award winners. 

The series is now 25 years young, taking place under a landmark willow tree in a garden inspired by Bach’s “Suite No. 1 For Unaccompanied Cello.”

Alkebulan: A Musical African Fairy Tale

A multimedia performance that combines theatre with live music, this sprawling love story dramatizes one woman’s migration across the African continent. 

Written by Ghanaian-Canadian playwright Kobinna Ulzen and directed by Ethiopian-Canadian Fantahun Shewankochew, Alkebulan: A Musical African Fairy Tale (June 22, 2024) takes place between regular seasons at Theatre Passe Muraille.

Gay AF Comedy Pride-Stravaganza

Expect fierce laughs and fabulous standup at the Gay AF Comedy Pride-Stravaganza (June 22, 2024), a comedy showcase that includes JFL and Canada’s Drag Race alumni like Clif Knight, Tamara Shevon, Heather Mariko, Robert Watson and Mickey Dykeman.


Canadian Stage’s Hamlet

Enjoy theatre under the stars with Canadian Stage’s production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (July 21–September 1, 2024). 

In a departure from the Shakespearean rom-coms that Dream in High Park is known for, this production goes dark with a tale of political intrigue, familial betrayal and existential questions around life, death and revenge. 

Shakespeare in the Park at the High Park Amphitheatre has been a Toronto tradition for over four decades, and this production is suitable for all ages, including kids. Bring a picnic and blanket or rent a lawn chair at the event.


Toronto Summer Music presents Breathings

A unique creative collab between Indigenous performers and those from Constantinople, Breathings (July 22, 2024) puts breath at the centre of the musical act, with Iranian setar player and vocalist Kiya Tabassian, Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk and Mi’kmaq drummer and singer Darlene Gijuminag, among others.

It’s part of a full lineup of Toronto Summer Music (July 11–August 3, 2024) events showcasing traditional and classical music.

Toronto Summer Music presents Beethoven Unleashed

Classical music star Kerson Leong is accompanied by the TSM Festival Orchestra as he showcases his masterful violin stylings at Koerner Hall in an evening of Ludwig Van Beethoven. 

Beethoven Unleashed (August 1, 2024) features “Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61” and the celebrated “Eroica” symphony, as conducted by Simon Rivard.


The Big Easy: Music of New Orleans

Sit back and feel America’s musical heartbeat as Soulpepper Theatre presents the world premiere of The Big Easy: Music of New Orleans (select dates in August 2024). 

Providing a rollicking overview of musical history, this production explores the joy, resilience and innovation of the city that gave birth to jazz legends like Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Dr. John.


Shrek – The Musical

Based on a little-known cinematic tale of a cranky green ogre with a heart of gold, a wisecracking donkey and a feisty princess, Shrek – The Musical (August 6–18, 2024) is a Mirvish stage production at the Princess of Wales Theatre that presents the power trio in an original story about the need to love ourselves and one another. 

It’s a powerful message well supported by silly songs, colourful costumes and toe-tapping dance numbers.