Entertainment Beat

Afrofest is back at Woodbine Park, bringing the sounds, sights, and smells of African music, food and culture to the Beach.

From noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 4 and 5, the 27th annual festival will highlight international and local African artists with no admission cost. Vendors will offer clothing, food, and arts and crafts. Kids and adults can take free drumming lessons, and there will be workshops and a children’s village.

Highlights on the performers’ schedule include legendary zouk group Kassav, San Fan Thomas, Congolese group Wenge Musica, and Nouvelle Generation featuring Bill Clinton Kalonji, Celeo Scram, and Flamme Kapaya.



The fourth annual Toronto Beaches Film Festival will run on Saturday and Sunday, July 4 and 5 at the Fox Theatre (foxtheatre.ca).

Scene from Sybil and Betts
Scene from Sybil and Betts

Tickets for any of the five showings are $12, with films screening at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, and at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Highlights include Start Local, directed by Toronto’s Nate Lacroix. The documentary focuses on a small Ontario community and the people there who support the ‘local’ movement. Start Local plays at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Fellow Toronto director David Bajurny’s Sybil and Betts – Requiem for a Friendship will have its world premiere at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The documentary tells a story of two women, painters and life-long friends, and what their friendship means when one develops Alzheimer’s disease.

Other feature films include The Paddler, Strange Rumblings in Shangri La, and Life’s a Beach. All features will be preceded by several short films from around the world.

Scene from Life's a Beach
Scene from Life’s a Beach

Many directors and producers will be in attendance when their films are shown.



Hélène Nicole and Kat Leonard will perform back to back in the Roof’s Off concert on Saturday, July 4.

Hélène Nicole and Kat Leonard
Hélène Nicole and Kat Leonard

In Hélène’s word, she and Kat will “cut the ribbon … blow the roof off, the sky’s no limit!” The two musicians promise an amazing spectacle of female fun featuring Kat’s ‘MySelfie,’ followed by Hélène’s French dysfunctional woman show.

The fun gets started at 7 p.m. at Café Chez Hélène, 1437 Kingston Rd. in Birch Cliff Village. Tickets are $20 in advance or $30 at the door.



Beacher Toby Malone has adapted a touring version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that will travel to more than two dozen Ontario locations this summer, put on by the Driftwood Theatre Group.

Malone has a PhD in Shakespearean adaptation and performance from U of T, and has worked as a dramaturg with the Stratford and Shaw Festivals, Soulpepper, the Grand Theatre London, Canadian Stage, Bessie Putters Circus, Kill Shakespeare Enterprises, Arizona Theatre Company, the Bell Rock Company, and six seasons with Driftwood.

Hamlet – as performed on “the Bard’s Bus Tour” – will run from July 9 to Aug. 16, covering 27 locations across the province. The tour has offered professional pay-what-you-can performances in outdoor locations in small towns and local city neighbourhoods for 21 years.

Malone has used elements of the First (“Bad”) Quarto (1603) and the First Folio (1623) to create this version of Hamlet. The story, for those who missed the recent run of Bard in the Park performances at Norwood Park and Kew Gardens, follows the titular Danish prince through a plot for revenge on his uncle Claudius for the murder of his father and the taking of the throne (with apologies to true Shakespeareans for the gross oversimplification).

Malone’s version takes advantage of Driftwood’s “inventive theatrical style and magical outdoor settings,” according to press materials. “This is Hamlet with the brakes off!”

The closest performance to the Beach will be in Withrow Park in Riverdale, near Carlaw and Strathcona Avenues, on July 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26. Performances start at 7:30 p.m., and a donation of $20 is suggested.



Scarborough Players present Key For Two, by British farce masters John Chapman and Dave Freeman. The production is directed by Greg Nowlan and produced by Katherine Turner.

Scarborough Players will perform the British bedroom farce Key For Two in July. Back, from left, are Jean Ireton, playing Anne; David Borwick, playing Alec; Carolyn Tutchener, playing Harriet; Ryan Wilson, playing Gordon; and Erin Jones, playing Magda. Front, from left, are Meg Gibson, playing Mildred; and Scott Simpson, playing Richard. PHOTO: Thomas Kowal
Scarborough Players will perform the British bedroom farce Key For Two in July. Back, from left, are Jean Ireton, playing Anne; David Borwick, playing Alec; Carolyn Tutchener, playing Harriet; Ryan Wilson, playing Gordon; and Erin Jones, playing Magda. Front, from left, are Meg Gibson, playing Mildred; and Scott Simpson, playing Richard.
PHOTO: Thomas Kowal

This humourous 1980s bedroom farce tells the story of Harriet, a divorcée living in an expensive apartment in Brighton. In order to cover costs – of both the apartment and ‘Mummy’s’ vodka habit – Harriet cooks up a plan to “entertain” two men. The plan goes awry, as they tend to in the theatre, in this instance triggered by the arrival of childhood friend Anne, who is followed by her drunken husband and, soon enough, two irate women seeking their husbands.

Key for Two performances will take place on July 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18 at 8 p.m. Matinée shows will happen at 2 p.m. on July 5 and 12.

An opening night wine and cheese reception will be held following the first performance, where the audience can enjoy a glass of wine with the cast and crew. An audience talk-back session will be held with the cast and crew following the Thursday, July 16 performance.

Tickets are available by calling 416-267-9292 or at theatrescarborough.com.

Scarborough Players, founded more than 50 years ago, includes a number of Beachers and southwest Scarborough members, and performs at Scarborough Village Theatre, 3600 Kingston Rd. at Markham Road.



Mark Battenberg
Mark Battenberg

Beach composer and guitarist Mark Battenberg presents The Song of the Nightingale, a guitar concert and sunset meditation at Kingston Road United Church on Saturday, July 11.

Beginning at 8 p.m. in the main sanctuary, Battenberg will perform pieces from his The River Spirit and Morpheus the God of Dreams albums. The meditative music will be timed to coincide with the golden light of sunset filling the sanctuary.

Admission is $10, which will go to the church’s operating budget.


Feathers Pub, 962 Kingston Rd., presents the summer edition of 1, 2, 3 Ladies.

Angela Sani has recently returned from a tour including Holland, Germany, and the UK, where she played live on BBC Radio. She’ll play songs from her two albums.

Melissa Bel has two albums getting regular airplay on BBC. She was a recent finalist on La Voix, the French Canadian version of talent show The Voice.

Brooke Palsson is an actor known for appearances in Flashpoint, Less Than Kind and Rookie Blue, but she will be showing off her musical talent for the first time at 1, 2, 3 Ladies.

The concert showcasing three local singer/songwriters will take place on Saturday, July 11 starting at 9 p.m. There is no cover.



East End band the Porchdog Choir will add to the canine groove when they play the Salty Dog Bar and Grill, 1980 Queen St. E., on Saturday, July 11. From 3 to 7 p.m., the band will play mostly original tunes with no cover charge. For a taste of their blend of rock, country, blues, and more, see theporchdogchoir.com.



Beacher and Wexford Collegiate artistic director Ann Merriam is directing and producing Summerland, a musical at the Fringe Festival.

From July 2 to 12, more than 100 teenagers and alumni from Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts, Etobicoke School of the Arts, Sheridan College, and the Randolph Academy will put aside rivalries and join together to put on Summerland, described as “The Breakfast Club meets Peter Pan meets Lord of the Flies.”

The story covers 10 high school students stranded between worlds after a bus accident, and early arrival to the Harbord Collegiate Institute site-specific venue will allow the full high school experience.

Summerland was written by Dora-nominated Anika Johnson and Barbara Johnston, with singer-songwriter Suzy Wilde.

Tickets for Fringe performances are $12.

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