Toronto Theatre Features

4 Things We Liked (And 3 Things We Didn’t) At The 2014 Toronto Fringe


We Liked 100% Presale. This was the most financially-successful Toronto Fringe Festival in recent memory, with artist revenues skyrocketing and a record number of sellout performances. Every festival has their winners and losers: for every company who raked in a few thousand bucks, someone else lost their shirt. But that’s the nature of the beast — and never before have there been so many winners.

We Disliked 100% Presale. The presale policy was fantastic for the artists, but angry Tweets and indignant queue-chatter both suggest that the resultant parade of SOLD OUT signs has left plenty of theatregoers with 10-packs burning holes in their pockets and beefs to pick with the festival. Maybe there’s a sweet spot between 50% and 100%; maybe Fringe should sell rush tickets next year (10 names on the comp list, but only 2 showed up? Why aren’t you selling those 8 seats? [editorial clarification: If someone is on a comp list the spot can be released and ticket sold. However, if they have been issued a *physical* comp ticket – for instance a member of the media – their spot can *not* be released unless they have been able to notify ticketing in advance. The feeling seems to be their empty seat, visible by a final check before closing the doors, should be up for grabs by waiting list folks. – Megan Mooney]); maybe Fringe just needs to do a better job communicating which shows are sold out. But however they repair this damage, Fringe has to get on it soon. Continue reading 4 Things We Liked (And 3 Things We Didn’t) At The 2014 Toronto Fringe

Summer Marriage: Sterling and Unit 102


A Summer Marriage on Queen West: Unit 102 and Sterling Theatre to Merge

This summer, two of Toronto’s west-end indie theatre companies are joining forces. This is great news for artists and audiences alike. Sterling Theatre Company and Unit 102 Acting Company will share a roof at the corner of Queen and Dufferin, and the venue will be renamed and announced at their upcoming inaugural event, scheduled for mid-August.

When I sat down with them to discuss the merger, I expected the core members of Unit 102 and Sterling to be energetic and enthusiastic. What I didn’t expect was the immense trust and admiration these artists have for one another. Each is fiercely dedicated to their craft and, as members of a creative team, they are steadfast in their support of one another. Continue reading Summer Marriage: Sterling and Unit 102

“Go Out and Try It”: Old-Fashioned Innovation at the Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival

The Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival gives Toronto playwrights a forum to try out new works.

The screaming at the old firehall can be a little distracting. I’m sitting with Pat McCarthy and Carolyn Zapf, co-artistic directors of the Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (March 12-30), and the whole building reverberates with banging and yelling from the rehearsal studio below. No one seems to notice and I don’t question it. The bedlam in the background is just part of the furniture; you might as well wonder why a chair has legs.

Continue reading “Go Out and Try It”: Old-Fashioned Innovation at the Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival

Tarragon Season Announcement (2014/2015)

Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre announces their 2014/2015 season

From Press Release

Toronto, February 19, 2014 Artistic Director Richard Rose and General Manager Gideon Arthurs proudly rolled out Tarragon Theatre’s 8-play 2014-15 season today, filled with adventurous theatrical experiences both on and off the stage, and set Tarragon up for a fresh, affordable and seductive reinvention of the theatre-going experience. Tarragon’s 44th season, dubbed “Lies, Sex & What Comes Next”, features works from some of Canada’s greatest talents alongside brilliant artistry from Germany for a roster that showcases five world premieres of Canadian plays, two English-language premieres of cutting-edge German works and a brand new, home-grown Shakespeare adaptation.

Continue reading Tarragon Season Announcement (2014/2015)

Mirvish Season Announcement (2014/2015)

Newsies, the musical

Toronto’s Mirvish announces their 2014-2015 season

The biggest game in town, Mirvish, have unveiled their 2014-2015 season, and it’s massive: Kinky Boots, Titanic and Newsies for musical-lovers; Buyer & Cellar, Arcadia and Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike for those who like their theatre more cerebral; a few greatest-hits productions see a return engagement (Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Book of Mormon); and a few more get their Toronto premiere. (Rick Miller’s Boom, Our Country’s Good, Robin Hood and Return to Grace)

The popular Off-Mirvish season is also returning, offering three shows in the intimate Panasonic Theatre with a more experimental bent–and the selection of Bonus Shows (which includes a tour of Wicked and–for the whole family–the fresh-from-Australia Dinosaur Zoo Live) will surely be an enticement to subscribers.

For ticket prices and a full list of productions, click the jump. But steel yourself: when I said Mirvish seasons are big, I meant it.

Continue reading Mirvish Season Announcement (2014/2015)

Preview: The Next Stage Theatre Festival 2014

Kick off 2014 with the seventh annual Toronto Fringe’s Next Stage Theatre Festival beginning January 8

The 7th year of the Toronto Fringe’s Next Stage Theatre Festival is upon us.

The Next Stage Theatre Festival, or NSTF, is a platform for past Fringe artists (from Toronto or any other CAFF member festivals) to take groundbreaking work to the “next stage”. Some performances are remounts of previous Fringe shows, but most are new works from previously established Fringe artists. This year’s festival runs from January 8 – 19, 2014.

Continue reading Preview: The Next Stage Theatre Festival 2014

Fundraiser 55 hour soap-a-thon Christmas at Choke and Poke Toys – part of the Impulse Festival

Catch great improv anytime day or night and watch sleep-deprived improvisors give their all

christmas at choke poke

The Impulse Festival being presented by Soulpepper and National Theatre of the World is not only bringing amazing improvisational acts from around the world to Toronto, and hosting fantastic workshops for beginners and experienced improvisers alike, but it’s also the home of a 55 hour long improvised soap opera being performed for charity, Gilda’s Club of Toronto.

Improvisation is always impressive to watch. People thinking on their feet. Mistakes turned into gifts. The audience helping to drive the action. Never knowing what to expect next. But this takes improv to a whole different place.

Continue reading Fundraiser 55 hour soap-a-thon Christmas at Choke and Poke Toys – part of the Impulse Festival

Preview: DESH (Akram Khan Company/Canadian Stage)

akram khan resize

A familial story told through dance, Akram Khan brings DESH to the Canadian Stage

He’s known as one of Britain’s top choreographers receiving numerous awards and commissions from around the world. Whether you recognize his name from the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremonies or you have heard about his spectacular awe-inspiring dance shows, choreographer and dancer Akram Khan has become a household name but his journey as a celebrated artist wasn’t always an easy one.

Khan is bringing a very touching and personal story to the Toronto audiences; a story that transports him back to his own childhood and homeland, Bangladesh. The 80-minute solo dance work, DESH (meaning homeland), showcases his complex relationship with his father as he uses intricate fast unique movements to tell this emotional story. Visually and technologically appealing in every way, DESH, commissioned by Canadian Stage, is being premiered at the Bluma Appel Theatre on October 31st and Toronto, you don’t want to miss this!

Continue reading Preview: DESH (Akram Khan Company/Canadian Stage)

A Retrospective Look at 360 Screenings

360 Screenings returns with their upcoming and highly anticipated Halloween event

It’s a night at the movies cranked up to a higher level – where the silver screen blends, blurs and extends, absorbs you in and now you’re part of the adventure. It’s an experience you’re likely not to have had before.

And you won’t know what it is until you get there.

Robert Gontier and Ned Loach, the founding duo behind 360 Screenings, have been keeping audiences entranced and guessing for over a year with their innovative movie screening and theatrical performance in one. With a rapidly growing fan base increasing solely through word of mouth and the power of social media, their screenings have become one of the go to events to look out for in the city.

Continue reading A Retrospective Look at 360 Screenings

Theatre Passe Murialle’s Student Creation Week


Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille’s annual Student Creation Week opened their doors to four GTA high schools offering workshops and intensives to help students hone their creative theatrical talents

Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending Theatre Passe Muraille’s Student Creation Week performance. It was an honour to be invited to this very special event. For those who have not heard of the Student Creation Week program, I encourage you to check out the page on the TPM website.

Theatre Passe Muraille hosts the Student Creation Week annually. It is an inspiring way for this theatre to kick-off its season. Theatre Passe Murialle has been dedicated to producing new original works—particularly collective creations such as this—since its founding 46 years ago. Continue reading Theatre Passe Murialle’s Student Creation Week