Get ready to laugh away the winter blahs with The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival
After a long and arduous winter, Torontonians could really use a good laugh. Launched last week on March the 6th, The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (TOSketchfest for short) features 11 days of hilarious performances, as well as various workshops and panels with some of comedy’s funniest names.
The 2014 Lineup
Hailing from across the country the 2014 TOSketchfest lineup includes hugely popular sketch comedy acts including headliners The Kids in the Hall, The Irrelevant Show and Gavin Crawford. Of the nearly 30 productions playing at this year’s festival, there are even some critically acclaimed American acts taking part as well.
In fact, many of the performers are already well-known staples in Toronto’s comedy and theatre scene. Taking a look at the 2014 TOSketchfest troupe listing, you will find names like Vancouver’s Peter n’ Chris who regularly take part in Toronto’s other festivals like the Toronto Fringe Festival. Indeed, whether you’re looking for something completely off the wall or something more intellectual, there’s something at this year’s festival for everybody.
The Workshops & Panels
In addition to the many great acts featuring at this year’s TOSketchfest, patrons will also have the opportunity to hone their sketch comedy skills at the various workshops and panels discussions that will be taking place during the festival. From learning how to better use your body on stage to a hands-on class to help you write hilarious and memorable sketches, there’s a workshop for all comedy aficionados – whether they’re a complete novice or time-tested pro. The great news here is that most workshops (with the exception of Sketch Writing with Kevin McDonald which runs $175 plus HST) won’t cost you a thing.
And starting this Wednesday, festival goers will also have the chance to sit in on a series of public panels and gain valuable industry insight from some of Canada’s most renowned sketch comedians. The Lot Lounge Series is a collection of four panel discussions taking place at the Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue). This year’s theme is learning how to transform your sketch or improv idea into a full-fledged screen or stage production. You can even learn how to successfully promote your comedic masterpiece using various media outlets. Best of all, all public panels are completely free of charge.
Toronto as a Hub for World Class Comedy
The performances, panel discussions and workshops are all part of the festival’s mandate to, “present, promote and support exceptional live, scripted comedy making Toronto a funnier place to be.”
For Gywnne Phillips of The Templeton Philharmonic, Toronto is not only her home, but also a world famous hotspot that has been the nesting ground for some of the best and brightest comedians on stage today.
“I think Toronto loves comedy! We have experienced some of our best audiences ever while performing sketch here,” she explained in an email to Mooney on Theatre.
Toronto can often be perceived as a staunch business-only city, but when it comes to great comedy, Torontonians are known for their unwavering support.
“I think it’s different when it comes to theatre. I personally have been at various theatrical productions in Toronto and noticed a definite coldness in comparison to audiences in the other parts of Canada or in the US. But when it comes to comedy, Toronto really seems to appreciate it. Plus, some of the best comedy acts/comedians in history have come out of Toronto, and I think that’s in part due to our great, supportive crowds!”
- The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival runs for 11 days starting March 6th
- Tickets are available online and will cost you $15 for a single performance, but you can also get some great sponsored package deals from Steam Whistle and Oyster Boy that include other perks like brewery tours and restaurant gift certificates.
- For a full schedule of all the workshops, panels and performances, visit the TOSketchfest website.