Creation Lab Blog
Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Esther and her pet iguana
Several years ago, my boss told me that I needed to attend a medieval studies conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan—aptly referred to by the pros as The Zoo- with 3180 people who spend both their professional and personal time studying things like How to Properly Build a Trebuchet or How many Bees does it take to make a glass of Mead?
I’m not kidding.
To save my sanity during those 4 days, I kept a diary of my experiences in the margins of a book. Those notes became a blog and on the advice of a colleague, I turned it into a play, The Kalamazoo Diaries, which is having its first production at the 2014 Hamilton Fringe Festival.
Having never written or produced a play before, I wasn’t sure where to begin to look for accessible and reasonably-priced rehearsal space.
“Go right to the Creation Lab! It’s central, affordable and I love working in that space”, said my director, LJ Nelles, a veteran of the Toronto theatre scene. And so I did.
Booking space through the extremely user-friendly C-Lab online calendar was a cinch and when I had to make changes (I have since learned that arranging actors’ schedules is comparable to organizing a wedding), Rahel, a staff member from the Toronto Fringe Festival was most accommodating and helpful. But my biggest sigh of relief came when Rahel told me what the space would cost. It was so much less than other places I had checked out! And now, those savings will go happily to my hard-working cast and director.
So if you are walking on Bathurst and just south of Bloor, and you happen to hear Gregorian chant emanating from the 4th floor of the Centre for Social Innovation or see the shadow of Viking horns through the window, that would be LJ and the cast rehearsing gratefully in the Creation Lab.
I hope to see you in Hamilton this summer,
Playwright and Producer, The Kalamazoo Diaries
Stuck at a medieval studies conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan (a.k.a. The Zoo) with 3180 die-hard medievalists, reluctant medieval studies editor, Natalie Fingerhut, struggles to make sense of the past while being haunted in the present. Believe it or not, this play is funny.
The Kalamazoo Diaries – a serious comedy asking a serious question: How do you really know what happened in the past.
Join our Facebook page for updates and details: “The Kalamazoo Diaries at the Hamilton Fringe!”
You can check out Natalie’s blog posts from her time time at The Zoo here
Monday, June 9th, 2014
We Are Knot Rivals will be presenting their latest work, I Was Born White, at this year’s Toronto Fringe (from July 2nd to the 13th). We were able to catch up with Melisse Watson as rehearsals were on in the C-Lab.
I Was Born White is a multi-media dance performance that tells the true story of my interracial adoption. My family made the decision to adopt and raise a white baby but soon learned that their new child was, instead, Black. This is the life of this Black child – of white and Indigenous ancestry – and how I grew to see myself holistically.
Telling my adoption story – and all of the complexity, beauty and hardship that comes with it - what has been made easy has been the new home Knot Rivals Company has been invited into to make our show a reality!
Rehearsing at the Fringe Creation Lab has not only been incredibly inspiring but also encouraging and accessible. As a dance company, rehearsals are critical – they can’t just be done anywhere! We’ve needed space to move and delve into the characters each dancer has been exploring over the last few months, and the Creation Lab has been by far the best option for us thus far to accommodate all the dancers and sound-makers involved!
In addition to the creative energy the space carries, I walk in and out with a little more change in my pocket than I normally would! We as a company appreciate how affordable the space has stayed, because with a small budget, there’s nothing like renting space to rehearse for single digits – we are more than happy to support a space that supports us as artists, and ultimately creates more space for more stories to make it to the stage.
This adoption into the arms of the Creation Lab has allowed the story we’re telling to thrive. We cannot wait to present I Was Born White; from the womb to the stage, thank you Fringe Creation Lab, you’ve been wonderful company!
Come see I Was Born White, it will be a show not to be missed! For more information go to: www.iwasbornwhite.com
Robert Gill Theatre (214 College Street, 3rd Floor):
Wednesday July 2, 8:45 pm
Saturday July 5, 4:00 pm
Sunday July 6, 12:00 pm
Tuesday July 8, 10:45 pm
Thursday July 10, 7:30 pm
Friday July 11, 11:30 pm
Saturday July 12, 5:15 pm
Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
The Theatre Relay is a new project in its first year, designed for dynamic new theatre artists to hone their creative skills in theatre creation, direction and performance. Participants each create a 7-10 minute solo piece around one central pre-determined theme. After being given opportunities to share and workshop their ideas, they direct the performance of their piece by another artist, as well as performing the work of someone else. These works are then brought together to form our first mounted production.
Having access to the Fringe Creation lab has been incredibly beneficial for the project. It’s so conveniently located and accessible, and the subsidized hours have made it possible to actually provide the company with a beautiful, open neutral space to explore the work (and to escape the pain of having to rehearse in our tiny living rooms!). We’re so excited to watch the work of these flourishing artists grow, and we can’t wait to see what happens!
Collaborating Director: Shayne Monaghan
Producer: Julia Haist
Featuring: Lisa Alves, Eduardo DiMartino, Julia Haist, Charles Manzo,
Franny McCabe-Bennett, Ruthie Pytka-Jones, Shea Wojtus
The Box Toronto, 89 Niagara Street, Toronto ON
June 13th, 2014 -7:30 pm - $10 admission by email (email@example.com) or at the door
June 14th, 2014 – 2:00 pm -PWYC admission at the door
June 14th, 2014 – 7:30 pm -$10 admission by email or at the door
For More Information, Visit:
Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
We asked Taryn Parish what she’s up to in the Fringe Creation Lab….
If you’ve ever been in the building during our rehearsals, you’ve probably heard lots of laughter and ‘90s music coming from our studio. That’s because we’re rehearsing for our ‘90s nostalgia sketch comedy show Hey ‘90s Kids, You’re Old. Part of Toronto’s 2014 Fringe Festival, Hey ‘90s Kids, You’re Old is set in the present and blends ‘90s pop culture with the world of today. What if the Midnight Society still told stories? What if you started using your CD Player again? Where is Waldo, anyways? Hey ’90s Kids You’re Old will bring you back to yesteryear, but will also examine what it means to be a ’90s kid in a post ’90s world.
I’m working with six actors who all have very busy schedules, who all live in different parts of the city, and who all depend on the subway for transportation. As such, one of my biggest challenges is finding rehearsal space that is affordable, central, and that offers flexible hours. The Creation Lab is all of that and more to me. The space is always bright, clean, secure, and well equipped which allows for every rehearsal to be as productive as possible. I also love how professional and supportive the Fringe staff is. They are wonderful to interact with and they are always quick to follow-up to make sure everything is working as intended. I thrive on organization and love working in a space that is so well set up and with staff who are dedicated and involved.
We have an amazing website www.hey90skids.com and are all over social media – come reminisce with us!
Thursday, April 10th, 2014
A Creative writing workshop facilitated by trey anthony, Award winning writer and creator of the theatrical hit and tv show, ‘da Kink in my hair.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
9:30 AM to 2:00 PM
The Blake Thorne Studio in The Fringe Creation Lab
Have you had events in your life that have made you exclaim, “I need to write my life story!” Or do you have a family history so rich and wonderful that you want to write it all down! And let’s not forget about all the family drama!
Well, trey anthony’s bio pages workshop is for you. Here you will learn how to weave your personal stories into your new book, play, essay, blog, or how to just write for fun! This is a very intimate workshop and we dig deep. So come prepared to share, learn, cry and laugh.
We are delighted to hold our workshop at Fringe Creation Lab which gives artists affordable spaces where we can let our imaginations run wild in a creative space. Fringe Creation Lab plays a huge role in keeping the arts alive and thriving in Toronto!
Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
(R-L) Jorge Molina, Chris O’Sullivan, Laura Jabalee, Penelope Corrin rehearse a scene from Norm Foster’s My Narrator. Photo credit: Samantha Hurley (samanthahurleyimaging.com)
“Sparrowhawk Theatre is an Equity Collective, which means that the producers find all the funding themselves. It’s a tall order, and discovering Creation Lab was a HUGE help to the show. Everyone at the Creation Lab has been tremendously helpful, and the subsidy rates have allowed us to have top-notch rehearsal space at the lowest cost in the city. Centrally-located, well-maintained and well-lit, accessible and helpful staff — we’ll use Creation Lab again!” - Steven Holmberg, Sparrowhawk Theatre
Sparrowhawk Theatre presents two one-act plays by Norm Foster, “Canada’s Comedy King” (London Free Press). When director Steven Holmberg discovered My Narrator and The Death of Me, he instantly recognized two comedic gems full of emotion and truth. These very seldom-seen plays get straight to the heart of love, loneliness, life and death. This production will be a rare chance to view them, and they’ll be presented together at Unit 102 Theatre, 376 Dufferin Street. One Ticket, Two Plays!
This professional production brings together a dedicated team of talented actors, including Roger Doche, Jorge Molina, Laura Jabalee, Chris O’Sullivan and Royal Canadian Air Farce’s Penelope Corrin.
DATES: Apr. 1 – 6, 2014 (Tues – Sat 8pm, Sat & Sun 2pm)
WHERE: Unit 102 Theatre, 376 Dufferin Street
TICKETS: $17.95 advance/online; $20.00 at the door
Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Ever wonder how we are able to rent out studio space for as low as six bucks an hour? Or how we name our studio spaces? It is thanks in large part to our generous sponsors.
We are very excited to introduce our new Creation Lab sponsor, Blake Thorne. Blake came to theatre in his forties when he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. The experience, as Thorne describes it, was formative:
“It was extremely challenging, for each day I knew at some point I would be frightened out of my wits. I became attracted to fear! Fear adjusts, realigns, resets, refocuses, and re energizes ones thinking. Fear, and the subsequent relief, can change your life.”
From there, he would go on to act, produce, and co-manage a successful theatre company. He learned, rather quickly, that access to affordable rehearsal space “could make or break” a production. This is part of the reason why the Creation Lab appealed to Blake: “It is a space that can appeal to all, including underprivileged youth… To let them experience life changing revelations as I did!” A patron, a donor and past board member, Blake has been a long time supporter of the Fringe so taking on the role of Creation Lab sponsor seemed like a natural progression.
The Toronto Fringe would also like to extend a big “THANK YOU!” to our returning long time sponsor, Neville Austin, who was there from the beginning. Without the generous support of donors like Neville and Blake, we would not be able to offer our renters the most affordable rates in the city.
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
This week, Back Burner Productions will be hosting their eighth annual What ARE You Doing UP There?!What ARE You Doing UP There?! in the Fringe Creation Lab
What ARE You Doing UP There?! 2014
Where clowns and cabaret performers mingle
with comedians, dancers, jugglers, and jinglers,
musicians, magicians, poets, painters, performance artists and more!
The oddest array of characters you’ll ever meet, this side of Bathurst and Bloor!
Performances, Arts Workshops, & More!
Zita Nyarady, Jean-Paul Mullet, Korri Birch, Jeff Giles, SidePony Nation, Sage Tyrtle, Money Fish
The EIGHTH ANNUAL What Are You Doing UP There?! Festival brings together the work of emerging and established artists in a celebration of the arts! The festival originated in 2007 as a series of short, student-produced plays, all showcased in the basement of a house! It has grown to include over a hundred of talented artists from a wide variety of disciplines, and this year we’ve moved UP to the Fringe Creation Lab. This year, the festival has added afternoon WORKSHOPS to its festival line-up, a chance to hone those artistic skills and learn from some of Toronto’s hardest working and most talented artists! Back Burner Productions aims to create and produce original Canadian artworks that will enrich the Toronto artistic community! What Are You Doing Up There?! takes all those ideas we’ve been keeping on the back burner of our minds, and gets them UP on the stage!
We’re so grateful that the show is at Fringe Creation Lab this year! As emerging artists, finding affordable rehearsal or performance spaces can be a barrier to getting our work where we want it to go, in front of enthusiastic audiences. Fringe Creation Lab helps us do just that this year, and is a huge part in making this celebration of the arts happen!
The festival starts this Thursday and runs through Saturday:
Performances: Thursday February 13th, Friday February 14th, and Saturday February 15th at 8pm
Doors (food and drinks) open at 7:00pm.
Tickets only $10!
Workshops: February 14th and 15th from 10:00am to 6:00pm
Improv, Storytelling, Poetry and Writing, and Hula Hooping!
For more information, to buy tickets, or to register for workshops, check out our website! www.backburnerproductions.weebly.com
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
For the past couple of months, Ivan Wanis Ruiz has been facilitating the Toronto Actor’s Practice in the Fringe Creation Lab. Here are a couple of questions we asked him about it.
So exactly what is the Toronto Actors Practice?
A great acting coach of mine had told me that in order to be a successful actor, one has to train in the same way an athlete goes to the gym to train to be very good at a sport. I have always found hard it to get better from a weekly class and wanted to do more. I remember, for a while, having a crew of about five actor friends who would get together and just work on scenes for fun and for the practice. We would bring in stuff we auditioned for, famous scenes, obscure scenes, etc. and just try them out. I really want to do that again and so I started a Meetup group dedicated to just that idea.
The idea behind the Meetup is doing. No feedback or coaching is given (although, we might ask questions such as, “where are you?” etc).
Why did you want to do this?
In an acting class that runs 4 or 5 hours, you might spend the majority of the time watching. Honestly it’s for selfish reasons; as an actor so much is out of our control. You have no say whether or not you get an audition, or if you get the part. I wanted to have something that I could do regularly that was more than a class.
How does it work?
In this group, our aim is to have everyone doing! For example, within the two hours you will be working with partners practicing a scene (at least once, but hopefully more), performing the scenes a couple of times, doing improv games and spontaneously getting up and running others lines. Each session starts with a brief introduction and a few improv warm ups. Then, two or three person scripts (from theatre, film, television and commercials) are distributed. After a few minutes, everyone reads their scenes. When groups are done, everyone switches partners and does the scene over.
Is this open to everybody?
All are welcome and I hope to get a mix of both beginner and veteran actors into the group. I bring all the scenes and sides, but everyone is welcome to bring their own stuff as well – it’s a great opportunity for anyone who wants to practice for an audition as well.
How can people find out more?
Probably the best way is to join the Meetup group
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Photo credit: LV Imagery
As indie theatre artists I think we all have rehearsed in parks, church basements, business school classrooms, hallways, livingrooms, art galleries, parking lots, museums, foyers, cafeterias, and apartments. You name it, it has been a space for rehearsal. Having access to the Creation lab in preparation for Polar Opposites debut at Next Stage Theatre Festival has been a dream. A place to play. A platform to create. Having space is key to the development and staging of any theatrical work.
In particular for this project as we play in theatrical mask and the fast paced physical nature of the show. The quirky and adventurous side of Polar Opposites has been bolstered by 24hr access to the Creation Lab. Allowing us to accommodate our busy schedules and fully explore what creative minds we have super late late late into the night.
At this point I’m not sure what’s a more brilliant time to play, 9am or 3am, but the fact that we even have that options is what makes it great.
The tiltHAUS crew is currently busy working up a sweat, throwing ping pong balls and generally devising up an absurdist storm of polar bear creativity in prep for the festival right around the corner.
Get your throwing arm ready…
by Nicole Ratjen
2 polar bears, 1 melting iceberg.
1 part comedy, 1 part tragedy, ⅓ part table tennis and a ¼ mask theatre. Entirely Absurd.
Next Stage Theatre Festival 2014
Factory Theatre Antechamber
Co-Directed by Rachel Blair and Nicole Ratjen
Performed by Stephanie Jung and Nicole Ratjen
Musical Direction by Bryan Osuszek
Dramaturgy by Rachel Blair
Masks by Eric Double and Nicole Ratjen
Co-producer / Stage Management by Andrew Gaboury