The Seat Next to the King – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

Seat Next to the King Fringe 2017From the press release:


“You could go whenever you wanted. I ain’t holding you back.”

TORONTO, May 26, 2017 | In September of 1964, a chance meeting in a public washroom between two men – one white and one black – reveals the bond they share and the ties connecting them to America’s most powerful leaders in Minmar Gaslight ProducIons’ presentation of THE SEAT NEXT TO THE KING, written by Steven Elliot Jackson and playing at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, July 6th to 16th.


Behind the door of a public washroom in a Washington, D.C. park, two lives linked to the country’s most influenial figures collide when a white man seeking a sexual encounter meets a black male stranger. Winner of the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival New Play Contest, this bold, affecting piece tackles race, sex, the meaning of ‘manhood’, and the cost of reconciling each for two disparate human beings with a shared innate need. Featuring blistering performances by Kwaku Okyere and Conor Ling, The Seat Next To The King is directed by Tanisha Taitt, following her extended hit production of Sister Act for the Lower Ossington Theatre and returning to the Toronto Fringe for the first time since 2010’s stirring The Whores.

“I didn’t plan to do the festival again,” Taitt says. “I’d done six shows in three cities and was content with my Fringe experience. This beautiful piece brought me back. Steven’s script is raw, with an external simplicity that belies its internal complexity. The characters are real historical figures, but the story is fact-meets-fiction. It’s an unapologetic, sexy, heartbreaking, relevant work that holds me in its hands.”

Jackson believes it is this relevance that impacted the New Play award jury, and will do the same to audiences. “Plays do not win prizes by separating us from times long ago, but by helping us connect with a time that may be closer to our current world than we realize,” the playwright asserts. “By exploring issues of masculinity, racism and sexuality, this play searches for the connections between us in times when we feel lost, frightened and bewildered – reminding us that we are not alone and will persevere.”


  • “The Seat Next to the King” plays at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Unsuitable for Minors, Mature Language, Sexual Content, and Nudity.


    • July 6th, 06:30 pm
    • July 8th, 11:30 pm
    • July 10th, 07:15 pm
    • July 12th, 12:00 pm
    • July 13th, 08:45 pm
    • July 14th, 01:45 pm
    • July 16th, 01:00 pm

Photo by Steven Jackson.