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Creation Lab Blog

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


Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

now in the lab: toronto actors practice


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

Now in the Lab: Polar Opposites


polar opposites

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


Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

this month in the lab: spiderbones performing arts


Jeff D’Hondt is preparing his new show, A False Face, or this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival. He’s been working in the Fringe Creation Lab over the past couple of months.


We’re currently working on A False Face, a main stage entry in the 2013 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Hunter Stowe, a gifted Aboriginal palliative care worker determined to help people die peacefully, meets Jake Montour, an Aboriginal addictions counselor, is terrified that he’ll soon be as shattered as his clients. Weaving memory, humor, loss and science in an urban landscape, A False Face reveals what happens when the masks come off and we must face our true selves.

More information can be found on Twitter or on our production blog.

Jake will be played by Cole Alvis (who incidentally is just finishing a run in the 2013 Toronto Fringe, as part of the cast of MSM), Hunter will be played by Madison Walsh (who was in the 2011 Toronto Fringe production, the Editor). The play will be directed by Ali Richardson (a participant in the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe, as part of the cast of the F Word).

There will be a one-night-only preview in Toronto on Aug. 29, 2013 at 8 p.m. at the Storefront Theatre, 955 Bloor Street West. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is by donation, suggested donation $15.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

this week in the lab: the usher collective

Usher Picture

The Usher Collective is rehearsing this week in the Creation Lab. Here are some details about the project they’ve been working on:


The Usher Collective (Kawa Ada, Lindsay Anne Black, Nina Gilmour, Thomas Morgan Jones, Derek Kwan and Debashis Sinha) have been working in the Creation Lab as a team of writers to create a new stage adaptation of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.  We are writing with words, design, bodies, and sound to find the most effective way to bring this haunting tale to the stage.  Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for their support of this process.

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

ongoing in the lab: monday night of new works


Monday Night of New Works is a fantastic initiative for independent artists to connect and create new work. We’re thrilled to be hosting this event in our Creation Lab!


Monday Night of New Works is an open forum held roughly every six weeks. Playwrights bring their works-in-progress to be read aloud, and we discuss their work with the group. It’s an opportunity to meet other independent artists, connecting actors, designers, producers, directors, and budding playwrights.

The Fringe Creation Lab has allowed us to emerge from our basement. Literally. The Fringe Lab gets this event out of my basement apartment and into a central location in the city which is accessible for returning members and those who are interested in checking the workshop out for the first time.

For more information, click here to see an  interview we did for an online blog.

you can find us on Twitter @MondayNewWorks, Facebook, or our website.

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

this month in the lab: good old neon


Good Old Neon has been rehearsing in the Creation Lab, where they are preparing their show, The Hystericon,  for this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. The show is sure to be hysterical – in the true sense of the word…!


Avant-garde theatre company Good Old Neon is currently rehearsing for its debut production, The Hystericon, to be presented in the Passe Muraille Mainspace this summer at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Augustine, Blanche, and Geneviève are the most famous patients of Dr. J. M. Charcot, prime subjects for his experiments in “hysteria,” that dark recess of psychiatric medicine. When The Hystericon opens, they are performing a “hysterical revue” for the benefit of the audience – but as lines are dropped and cues missed, the ladies begin to bicker among themselves, and soon the show takes a turn for the stranger.

Based on the true-life stories  of three patients in the Salpêtrière insane asylum for women, in 19th century Paris, the The Hystericon is a metatheatrical exercise in eclecticism, fusing traditional theatre technique with bouffon clown, physical theatre, dance, and madness.

We can’t wait to get this thing in front of an audience! In the meantime, be sure to check out our production blog at You can also follow us on Twitter @goodoldneonTO.