Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary arts festival that celebrates working class culture. Founded in 1986 by the Labour Arts Media Committee of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, Mayworks is Canada’s largest and oldest labour arts festival. The Festival was built on the premise that workers and artists share a common struggle for decent wages, healthy working conditions and a living culture.
Our goal are to promote the interests of cultural workers and trade unionists, and to bring working-class culture from the margins of cultural activity onto centre stage.
Mayworks’ artistic vision is specifically guided by our equity policy that recognizes the systemic discrimination and injustices faced by equity-seeking groups, and designates women, First Nations people, people of colour and queer-identified people as being disadvantaged in our society. To that end, our artistic vision actively seeks to allow for representation of these designated groups both as audiences and artists, and in the type of programming we do. We are also guided by a desire to provide programming that will engage new, non-arts audiences, and that will challenge euro-centric notions of art. Furthermore, Mayworks artistic vision is to showcase high caliber art and artists that are politically and socially engaged and that would otherwise not have a venue for their work.
Our Timeline and Events
The Festival takes place every year in early May. We also program pre-festival events such as fundraisers throughout the year.
Beyond the Festival, Mayworks also provides cultural services supporting arts programming to other organizations in effort to promote the interests of cultural and other workers year-round. For more information on our cultural services, please click here.