Toronto Fringe Festival

Toronto Fringe Festival
Photo: fringetoronto.com
The Toronto Fringe Festival is an annual performing arts festival held every summer in Toronto, Ontario. Canada. It was founded in 1989 and has since become one of the largest fringe festivals in Canada and arguably in North America.

The Toronto Fringe Festival is part of the so-called Fringe movement started by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1947. It is a network of unjuried theater and performing arts festivals designed to showcase under-represented artists and celebrate innovative and experimental work. At fringe festivals, all submissions are accepted. If there are too many applicants, participants are selected on a first come/first served basis or at random by lottery. The Toronto Fringe Festival presents about 150 shows every year selected by lottery from about 700 entries.

The Fringe showcases both up-and-coming and established artists. Here theater students get a chance to participate in their first production outside of school, emerging artists can get their big break, and established performers can experiment and test out new work before showcasing it elsewhere. At the Toronto Fringe Festival, anyone can put on a show without going through the rigorous selection process and worrying that they are not good enough.

The organizers of the festival provide venues and assistance but never intervene in the artistic content of participating productions. There is no censorship at the Toronto Fringe Festival and there will never be. The Fringe is a member of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) and thus follows one of the Association’s golden rules: 100% of the ticket revenue is returned to artists. The festival is a non-profit event that relies on sponsors, donors, government grans and volunteers.

Each edition of the Toronto Fringe Festival features more than 150 shows and 1,000 individual performances in over 30 venues throughout Toronto. The festival encompasses all forms of art including theater, dance, music, comedy, busking (street performance), visual art, and more. One of the festival’s main highlights is the 24-hour playwriting contest. Contestants write a play in 24 hours based on items selected by the festival committee. The winning play is performed on the last day of the Fringe.

The Toronto Fringe Festival has become a launching pad for several notable productions such as Da Kink in My Hair (developed into a television sitcom in 2007), The Drowsy Chaperone (opened on Broadway in 2006 and won five Tony Awards), Kim’s Convenience, My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, Mump and Smooth, Cam Baby, Bright Lights, and Life After.

Toronto Fringe

Photo: fringetoronto.com



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