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Creation Lab Blog

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

now in the creation lab: Shotgun Juliet presents STEALTH


Matt Eger Headshot

Hello there!

My name is Matthew Eger and I am the Artistic Director of a new theatre company called Shotgun Juliet. Shotgun Juliet is a new Canadian theatre company devoted to creating new, innovative, and exciting theatrical works. Starting out, it is close to impossible to find affordable space, and without opportunities like the creation lab, productions like STEALTH would never happen.

A little bit about our show: Four women have vowed to be silent and in hiding throughout the night. Is what threatens them outside, or is it hiding with them in the shadows? When one attempts escape, nothing will ever be the same.

Directed/Conceived by Matthew Eger

Choreographed/Performed by Patricia Allison, Miranda Forbes, Darwin Lyon, and Amanda Pye

Cast Miranda Small
Cast of STEALTH                                                          Miranda Small


8-11 Gallery, 233 Spadina (Entrance in alley off Sullivan St.)

October 28th – Nov 1st


Tickets $17 @ the door (cash only)

Inquiries send to




Monday, October 20th, 2014

Now in the Creation Lab: Johnson Girls – My Treasure Island


Richard at C-Lab

Little Richard from My Treasure Island!!!


We rehearsed our show, My Treasure Island!!!, at C-Lab. It plays at Passe Muraille’s Backspace Oct. 24 – Nov. 16, 2014. It’s a comedy about a young woman who becomes obsessed with Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, Treasure Island. 

Rehearsing at C-Lab was great. Nice natural light and good floors. Love the café on the first floor and the supercool conglomeration of people doing work in that building, The Centre for Social Innovation. No issues with noise and the cupboard is a godsend!

Many thanks!

Karen Woolridge

Producer, Johnson Girls



My Treasure Island!!! stars Caitlin Driscoll (Punch Up) and Gemma James-Smith ( Directed by Kate Lynch.




For More Information visit:

Twitter hashtag: #MyTreasureIsland


Thursday, June 12th, 2014

now in the Creation Lab: The Kalamazoo Diaries

Esther and friends

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,

Natalie Fingerhut
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.

HFF-Image 3-Natalie Fingerhut-Final

Natalie Fingerhut

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

now in the creation lab: we are knot rivals

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.

we are knot rivals c lab post


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:

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

now in the Creation Lab: Theatre Relay



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 (  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

now in the Creation Lab: Hey ‘90s Kids, You’re Old

Creation Lab Rehearsal


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 and are all over social media – come reminisce with us!

Twitter: @hey90skids


Instagram: @hey90skids


Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Now in the Creation Lab: Bio Pages Toronto Creative Writing Workshop with Trey Anthony

treyA 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

Now in the Creation Lab: Sparrowhawk Theatre

(R-L) Jorge Molina, Chris O'Sullivan, Laura Jabalee, Penelope Corrin rehearse a scene from Norm Foster's My Narrator.  Photo credit:  Samantha Hurley

(R-L) Jorge Molina, Chris O’Sullivan, Laura Jabalee, Penelope Corrin rehearse a scene from Norm Foster’s My Narrator. Photo credit: Samantha Hurley (

“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

Now in the c-lab: Our New Sponsor, Blake Thorne!

BT door

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

now in the lab: The EIGHTH ANNUAL What Are You Doing UP There?! Festival

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

Kat Letwin MC - WAYDUT 2013

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!

Twitter: @backburnerideas