For Torontonians interested in indie theatre, in its anything-can-happen excitement when the house lights dim, Toronto Fringe has been the go-to organization since its creation in 1989. Although the Fringe is mostly known for its summer Fringe Festival, it also hosts the Next Stage Theatre Festival in January, which is fast becoming a notable winter theatre event in Toronto.
Now in its fourth year, Next Stage was created as the stepping-stone for theatre artists between the Fringe festival and major theatre companies, and to give indie theatre fans something to look forward to in the winter after the summer festivals end. Like many productions in the summer Fringe festival, the works in Next Stage are risky, raw, and rough. It’s a chance to discover fresh new talent and to see more established acts test their experimental material in front of audiences for the first time. Since its inception, the plays in Next Stage have also garnered Toronto Fringe a total of nine Dora Award nominations.
Every year, Next Stage presents eight productions during its run, selected by the Toronto Fringe jury out of over 90 applications. The works for 2011 run the gamut: from one-person performances to ensemble cast productions; from an avant-garde psychological piece (At the Sans Hotel), to a musical reinterpretation of popular fairy tales (Fairy Tale Ending), to a drama about the teenaged Mary and Percy Shelley, Lord George Byron and Clare Clairemont (The Apology).
The local and international artists chosen by Next Stage have all presented work in the worldwide Fringe theatre circuit. Some of these shows make their debuts in the Next Stage festival, while other productions are substantially reworked and remounted after appearing in previous Fringe festivals.
If you enjoy the challenging, alternative, and innovative aspects of indie theatre, or if you want to check out the next big theatre sensation before everyone else, get your tickets now to the Next Stage theatre festival!
From now till January 16
$12 for afternoon shows (starts before 7pm), $15 for evening shows
By telephone: 416-966-1062, or toll-free at 1-866-515-7799
In person: in the McAuslan Beer Tent right beside the Factory Theatre, starting one hour before the first show of the day.
125 Bathurst St., at the corner of Bathurst and Adelaide
By public transit: you can take the 511 Bathurst streetcar and get off between Queen St. W and King St. W. You can also take either the 501 Queen or the 504 King to Bathurst St., and walk north or south to Adelaide St. depending on your stop.
By car: there is street parking on Adelaide.