It’s More Than Just a Theatre Festival: Toronto Fringe Launches Creation Lab!
Today Toronto Fringe Executive Director Gideon Arthurs announced an exciting new development to Toronto‟s theatre scene – The Fringe Creation Lab at the Centre for Social Innovation Annex. The Fringe Creation Lab features over 3,000 square feet of creation space and a quickly growing list of resources that will accommodate rehearsals, workshops, readings, seminars and intimate special events for Toronto‟s theatre & dance community. The Fringe Creation Lab stems from the Fringe Festival‟s founding values of access to creative opportunity.
Arthurs explains, “The Toronto Fringe has been a launching pad for Canada‟s most successful theatrical ventures, but too often independent „Fringe‟ artists aren‟t given access to resources they need to have their creative endeavours succeed”. The Fringe Creation Lab was born out of roundtable conversations that identified problems facing the independent theatre community. While much of the community‟s immediate response was a lack of funding, the Fringe identified common needs and is offering the Fringe Creation Lab as a pooled resource for stage artists in the GTA.
Arthurs continues, “The Fringe Creation Lab will be a home base for independent artists, thinkers and arts enthusiasts to foster their creative spirit and entrepreneurship. By creating a hub for this diverse community, we can elevate our craft, share resources, and reach new heights together”. The Fringe Creation Lab is an extension of the Fringe Festival‟s founding values of access to opportunity and is available to artists at pro-bono and subsidized rates on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration to book space will be announced in the fall.
CSI Executive Director Tonya Surman says, “We are absolutely thrilled having the Toronto Fringe as an anchor tenant at CSI Annex. The Toronto Fringe – and the Creation Lab – are precisely what the Centre for Social Innovation is all about: creativity, opportunity, and community driven solutions that strengthen our future”. The Centre for Social Innovation is a social enterprise with a mission to catalyze social innovation in Toronto and around the world. Operating two sites in downtown Toronto CSI provides a home to over 300 social change organizations. The Fringe Creation Lab will be CSI‟s largest space dedicated to one tenant, however it will be shared by hundreds of theatre artists each year. CSI creates community workspaces, incubates emerging enterprises, and develops new models and methods with world-changing potential.
The Fringe Creation Lab marks Toronto Fringe‟s last step in its year-round transformation (at least until the next surprise from the home of the unexpected). In 2008 Toronto Fringe began this transformation when it launched The Next Stage Theatre Festival, a second festival in the wintertime. An impressive roster of outreach programs benefiting artists and youth have launched as well, including distributing up to $10,000 to Fringe artists remounting their shows through the Fringe Evolution Fund and handing out 1,000 passes each summer for priority youth to attend the Fringe Festival free of charge.
But wait, there’s more!
‘Da Kink In My Hair is one of the biggest success stories to start at the Toronto Fringe. The show was picked up by David Mirvish and went on to tour the world and later be developed into a show for Global Television. Trey Anthony, the show‟s creator, joined today‟s celebration announcing the launch of a new award to recognize and promote culturally diverse Fringe artists. To whom much is given….
‘da Kink award will give $500 to two shows at this year‟s festival that are written by a person of colour or a cast featuring people of colour.
Today‟s announcement also marked the launch of a new partnership for the Toronto Fringe with Toronto‟s NOW Magazine – Canada‟s leading alternative news and entertainment weekly since its inaugural issue in 1981. Alice Klein, NOW’s Editor and CEO, says “We are so delighted to be working with the Toronto Fringe as it settles into a new home and takes its last step in a transformation from annual event to a truly year-round arts organization. Looking forward to this summer‟s Toronto Fringe Festival, NOW’s passionate theatre-adoring readers and the Fringe’s surprise-filled excitement are as natural a combo as “love” and “first sight”. This year’s Fringe Festival will run July 6 – 17.
Individuals looking to donate to the Fringe Creation Lab can visit http://www.fringetoronto.com or call 416-966-1062