Preview: The Next Stage Theatre Festival

It’s that time of year again, The Next Stage Theatre Festival is almost upon us. Now in its seventh year, Next Stage showcases local and national independent theatre artists ready to take their performances to the next stage of development.

The Next Stage Theatre Festival launched in 2008. Held at the Factory Theatre, Next Stage was created to encourage artists who have previously participated in any Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals member festivals to move beyond the summer production model and showcase their work to a wider audience, including discerning artistic decision makers who could be interested in programming their shows on main stages across the country.

Just like the summer Fringe festival, there is an element of community spirit centred around the McAuslan Beer Tent, located at the Factory Theatre Courtyard – a fully heated and covered patio where audience members and artists alike can sit down for a beer and a chat before and after the shows. The tent is also home to the Next Stage Festival Box Office during the festival.

The twelve-day festival, produced by the Toronto Fringe, has an exciting line-up this year, presenting ten productions whose actors, directors and playwrights have been recognized by a total of eleven Dora Award Nominations, Canadian Comedy Awards, a Governor General’s Award for Drama, several audience awards such as ‘Patron’s Pick’ and ‘Best of the Fest’ (Winnipeg Fringe Fest), and have the distinction of being named ‘Outstanding New Play’ by NOW Magazine.

FACTORY THEATRE MAINSPACE:

AWAKE (Expect Theatre/ Spark Collective) – A hit of the 2011 Fringe, AWAKE takes you deep into the heart of one of Toronto’s most violent neighbourhoods. Set in the funeral of a victim of gun violence, AWAKE explores the ripple effect of gangs within a community. Developed over three years, the production portrays the lives of those living in an “at risk” community. The show is made up entirely from interviews with mothers who lost sons, gang members, outreach workers, and police.

THE PEACE MAKER (Pomme Grenade Productions) – Overflowing with live music, The Peace Maker is the story of one woman’s journey through Israel and Palestine as she wrestles with ideas of identity and justice and the desire to ‘make-peace’ in the Middle East.

SUDDEN DEATH (Pyretic Productions) – It’s the biggest night of hockey legend John “Rambo” Kordic’s life. Kordic’s a man who’s addicted. To the white stuff. And we’re not talking snow—no, this ain’t that Canadian story. He’s been bar brawling and grabbing tits and crashing cars and shooting steroids and he’s at his breaking point. But still, Kordic’s a tough sonofabitch. Award-winning playwright Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman examines the dark underbelly of our national pastime to uproariously tragic effect.

THRONE OF GAMES (Bad Dog Theatre Company) – Fans of Game of Thrones and the uninitiated alike will love Throne of Games, a hilarious and unscripted interpretation of George R.R. Martin’s bestselling medieval fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire that inspired the award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones. Directed by acclaimed Canadian actor and improviser Colin Munch, this expanded remount of Bad Dog Theatre Company’s smash hit features a tour de force cast of Canada’s most brilliant comedic performers.

FACTORY THEATRE STUDIO:

MEMORIAL (Next Step Productions) – Dylan is getting married today. Dylan is dying. Dylan wants to attend his own memorial so he can hear all the fabulous things people are going to say about him. If only his sister would finish the eulogy and his boyfriend would get him a chocolate milkshake. Dylan has to organize everything.

POST EDEN (Suburban Beast) – Post Eden is a ‘live film’ about a fantastical day in the life of a fractured suburban family. Inspired by interviews conducted with real residents of Neighbourly Lane in Richmond Hill, playwright/director Jordan Tannahill creates a multimedia fantasia in which a girl exhumes her dead family dog from her backyard in order to break a curse that has befallen her family. Actors onstage interact with their filmic selves in disarming ways, as the lines between documentary and fantasy blur.

SALT BABY (Salt Baby Productions) – “Really? You don’t look it.” Growing up on Six Nations, Salt Baby never quite fit in, a “white” looking “Indian.” Fair skin and curly hair makes her more of a Shirley Temple type than a Pocahontas type. Salt Baby navigates the Rez and the city while explaining herself, as well as her blood quantum, to the world and to Alligator. “It’s always different for Indians.”

WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN (QuestionMark-Exclamation Theatre) – The sold-out hit of the 2012 Toronto Fringe returns! Anabel gives her heart to a stranger and he disappears with it. Her limbs begin to fall asleep. George is on the run but keeps getting distracted by romantic comedies. He blames his mother. Mona resorts to seeking therapy from GoogleShrink™. She takes in a mysterious guest clad in purple plaid. A comedy with guts about fate, pheromones, and the TTC.

FACTORY THEATRE ANTECHAMBER:

LIZA LIVE (Total Betty Productions) – One part talk show, one part game show, and one part cabaret, Liza Live! is all that and more! Experience Liza May Minnelli like you’ve never seen her before. Featuring music and memories from one of the most dynamic (and dysfunctional) female stars of the last 60 years, Liza Live! is a hilarious and heart warming look into the life of a woman who when the going got tough, the tough hit the stage!

PITCH BLOND (Convection Productions) – “They think I’m stupid and I like it.” Oscar winning actress, Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday) was famous for playing dumb blondes, but some argue that Judy Holliday’s best performance was trumping Joseph McCarthy’s inquisitors when she was being questioned for having communist-sympathies. Join Laura Anne Harris in Pitch Blond, as she explores Holliday’s early career and the notorious courtroom appearance that proved just how clever one needs to be to play the ditzy blond.

TICKETS

ONLINE Click here!

BY PHONE416.966.1062
10am – 5:30pm MON-FRI (Nov. 19th – Jan 2nd) 1pm – 7pm MON-FRI (Jan. 2nd – 19th)
Visa or Mastercard only.
*Gift Vouchers are available (by phone only)

AT THE DOOR
NSTF Tickets can be purchased at the Factory Theatre one hour before the first show of the day, January 2nd – 13th, 2013.
Cash, Visa and Mastercard accepted (NO Debit or Amex).

TICKET PRICING
$15 Evening Performances (7pm onwards start-time)
$12 Afternoon Performances (6:59pm or earlier start-time)
$10 Ante-Chamber performances

PASSES

$48 – Four Play Pass: Good for 4 tickets, redeemable in advance by phone or at the door. Maximum of one ticket per play. Non-transferrable.

$88 Eight Play Pass: Good for 8 tickets redeemable in advance by phone or at the door / Maximum of two tickets per play per pass. This pass can be used by two patrons.