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Next Stage Festival is January 7 – 18, 2015

Next Stage Theatre Festival


Announcing the 2015 Next Stage Theatre Festival Line-Up!
January 7 – 18, 2015 at Factory Theatre

After a record-breaking year for ticket sales in 2014, the Next Stage Theatre Festival returns with a line-up of indie theatre creators who will illuminate the stages of Factory Theatre in January of 2015. This year the festival features companies from across Canada, showcasing the very best indie theatre in the country.

The Toronto Fringe is pleased to announce the full line up of the 2015 Next Stage Theatre Festival. Please read about all 10 shows below.

Factory Theatre Mainspace:

Presented by Theatre-a-go-go
Written and directed by Caroline Azar
Produced by Christopher Douglas
Music and Lyrics by Caroline Azar
Sound Design by Richard Feren
Set and Lighting by Stephan Droege
Production Design by Stephan Droege
Costume Design by Chantelle Laliberte
Stage Management by Andrew Dollar
Production Management by Andrew McAllister
Poster Design by Jorial
Featuring David Keeley, Sharon Heldt, Christy Bruce, Kris Siddiqi, Lise Cormier, Andrea Brown, Jasmine Chen

Caroline Azar had her start in performance as the lead singer of the experimental all-woman punk band Fifth Column. Now a successful playwright and director, Azar has contributed to Fringe theatre for over 20 years. In 2005, she wrote the Fringe favourite Man-O-Rexic, garnering exuberant reviews. For the 2012 Fringe, she rewrote the controversial Honour Killings.

About the show: Azar’s bravest show to date, DINK is a punk-play with songs, about the unravelling of a family as hidden desires and secrets come to light. Starring film and television talent David Keeley, this is a Canadian crime tale that addresses gender politics, class, race and leadership constructs in the volatile year of 2009. It is a Canadian Tragedy, which spans from suburban Canada to war-torn Afghanistan.

Quotes and Accolades:

* “This moving and tragic tale speaks to anyone caught between worlds and asks that both old and new worlds be re-evaluated. A powerful addition to the Fringe line up that should not be missed.” – Mooney on Theatre (Honour Killings)
* “The coolest show you’re likely to see at this or any other Fringe Festivalthe songs are haunting” – Now Magazine (Man-o-rexic)


Presented by Jasmyn Fyffe Dance
Choreography by Jasmyn Fyffe
Featuring Jasmyn Fyffe, Jonna Abrams, Bretonie Burchell, Alyssa Petrolo, Jessica Tomasone, Roney Lewis

Jasmyn Fyffe is an award winning choreographer and dancer, seen in last year’s NSTF’s street-dance spectacular, Jack Your Body. Fyffe received a Frankie Award for Outstanding Choreography at the 2013 Montreal Fringe where Pulse premiered. Fyffe has toured shows to New York and across Ontario, appeared in a Nelly Furtado music video, and recently was seen as part of the Harbourfront NextSteps program with Gimme One Riddim in March of 2014.

About the show: Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, James Brown. Inspired by the Motown and Soul music Fyffe grew up with, this polished piece of contemporary dance takes us back to an era where the heart of music was felt deep down in the soul. A mix of groovy high-energy sequences and intimate moments inspired by the heartfelt and political lyrics of the era, Pulse is a joyful expression of one woman’s love of Motown music.

Quotes and Accolades:

* “Pulse is a show you will love…The dancers dive into this intricate choreography with real weight, sure action, and emotional commitment.” – Bloody Underrated
* “Fyffe is an indisputably a talented performer and dancemaker” -The Dance Current


For a Good Time, Call Kathy Blanchard
Presented by Outside Inside
Written by Michael Ross Albert
Directed by Jim Warren
Featuring Daniel Pagett, etc

Michael Ross Albert’s work has been showcased Off-Broadway, in the foothills of Eastern Appalachia, and in several international multi-arts festivals including the Toronto Fringe. This Toronto remount sees Albert pairing for the first time with long-time mentor Jim Warren (Dora Award winning Soulpepper and Stratford Festival director) to help bring this gripping family dramedy into sharp focus. Albert wrote Karenin’s Anna for Toronto Fringe 2014, which was listed as Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Production and Outstanding Ensemble by Now Magazine.

About the show: Game Four. Lawrence is having a breakdown. Sky’s been kicked out of his house. Amanda’s career is going nowhere. Mary won’t leave the living room until someone wins the Stanley Cup. And they’re all preparing for a devastating loss, both on the ice and at home. But, Lawrence has a plan to fix his family for good. A tragic comedy about heartbreak, hockey, and the places we used to call home.

Quotes and Accolades:

* For a Good Time, Call Kathy Blanchard is a “contemporary meditation on family, especially the vicissitudes of dealing with the passing of elderly family members and the transitioning of estate ownership in the 21st Century, couched in an almost Christopher Durang like situation comedy.” -NY Theater Now
* “Michael Ross Albert’s script is brilliantly clever and original, and offers a perfect balance of drama and comedy.” -Mooney on Theatre (Karenin’s Anna)


Piece by Piece
Presented by the mcguffin company
Written by Alison Lawrence
Directed by David Ferry
Featuring Mary Francis Moore, Maja Ardal, Terrence Bryant, Brian Young

The mcguffin company, known for its biting and poignant satire, premieres a moving drama by critically acclaimed playwright Alison Lawrence. Lawrence’s wildly popular play The Catering Queen was a hit at the Toronto Fringe, and the popular non-fiction book she penned with collaborator Mary Francis Moore (bittergirl) took her all the way to the Today Show on NBC. Up next: this October the mcguffin company is producing Lawrence’s The Thing Between Us starring Moore at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Backspace.

About the show: 16-year-old Steffie can’t leave the ICU where she lost her mum, while her father wrestles with grief at home. Barb is losing her husband Frank as his memory dims. Frank’s doctor John can control everything in life but his wife Jessie’s fertility. Six people are drawn together in an urban hospital in this compelling ensemble piece about hope in the land of sorrow, and the remarkable and astonishing moments of love in times of loss.

Quotes and Accolades:

* Alison Lawrence’s script … is both funny and moving.” Rating: NNNN, Jon Kaplan Now Magazine (The Catering Queen)
* “A sellout success!”- Toronto Life Magazine (bittergirl)
* If you’ve been yearning to see a well-made comedy again – you know, the kind with a beginning, middle and end and a whole lot of laughs in between – then you ought to run, not walk, to The Catering Queen.”- Toronto Star


Factory Theatre Studio

Unbridled & Unstable
Presented by The Templeton Philharmonic
Created and Performed by Gwynne Phillips and Briana Templeton

Since 2011, the duo behind The Templeton Philharmonic have earned praise for their fast paced writing, zany characters, and tongue-in-cheek interpretive dance sequences. In 2014, they created the site-specific dark comedy An Evening In July for the Toronto Fringe. The show, inspired by the cult documentary Grey Gardens, allowed audience members to roam around a surreal, 1970’s estate. It was a production that Mooney on Theatre heralded as “truly captivating.

About the show: Unbridled & Unstable will feature some best-loved sketches from the duo’s repertoire, alongside plenty of daring new material. The show will be loaded with surreal humour, memorable characters, and biting social commentary. Expect dance. Expect hilarity. Expect… the unexpected.

Quotes and Accolades:

* Nominated for “Best Sketch Troupe,” 2014 Canadian Comedy Awards
* Nominated for the “Just for Laughs Best English Comedy Award,” 2011 Montreal Fringe
* “Phillips and Templeton are masters of transition, using carefully choreographed dance routines to move between sketches. Equal parts wild abandon and studied precision, the physical comedy of these moments is irresistible. Basically, they killed it.” – Mooney on Theatre (An Evening in July)


Myth of the Ostrich
Presented by Offside Productions
Written by Matt Murray
Directed by Steven Gallagher
Featuring Astrid Van Wieren, Alanis Peart, Renée Hackett

Playwright Matt Murray has a wildly successful Fringe track-record, having been a part of shows such as Talk Thirty To Me (director, 2007) and the Best Of Fringe hit Remember, Maggy? (co-writer/director, 2011). Murray’s most recent project (Myth of the Ostrich) was the sleeper hit of the 2014 Fringe – a word of mouth sensation that is back by popular demand. The stellar ensemble and veteran NSTF director (Steven Gallagher) returns for this NSTF remount.

About the show: After Pam finds an inappropriate letter from her teenage son to his mystery girlfriend, she arrives unannounced at Holly’s house to discuss their children’s relationship. What starts as a pleasant visit, quickly becomes a complicated, bizarre, and hilarious roller coaster ride of misunderstandings.

Quotes and Accolades:

* “The play feels so real that it would be understandable if you forgot you were in a theatre, at least until the next belly-laugh comes along.” – Jason Booker, The Charlebois Post
* “Myth of the Ostrich is a knockout comedy. It’s got sharp insight and laughs aplenty. I’m still giddy more than an hour later!” – Mooney on Theatre


Big Shot
Presented by Surreal SoReal Theatre
Written by Jon Lachlan Stewart
Directed and Dramaturged by Georgina Beaty
Stage Managed by Kira Maros
Sound Design by Dave Clarke
Projection Design by Paul Bezaire
Featuring Jon Lachlan Stewart

Most major cities in Canada have had the opportunity to be amazed by the striking visuals and powerhouse solo performance in Big Shot – and now Toronto has its chance to see this national touring favourite. Performer/creator Jon Lachlan Stewart is riveting in this role, having lived in these diverse characters since 2008. Surreal SoReal produces theatre that emphasizes the body as a tool for expression.

About the show: A shooting has just occurred on the Vancouver Skytrain, and a twelve-year-old boy who was at the scene of the crime retells it all for the audience, in the style of his favorite action movies. Complete with slo-mo stops, freeze frames and fast forwards, the boy weaves in and out of every character involved, all a part of Vancouver’s diverse, fractured communities. Big Shot is a portrait of the tensions that rise when different cultures within the urban community are forced to fight for themselves – and a riveting piece of multi-media physical theatre.

Quotes and Accolades:

* “Massively impressive… a challenging puzzle for the audience” – The Georgia Straight (Big Shot)
* “The black-clad Stewart actually seems to change the planes of his face with every character he plays” – The Winnipeg Free Press (Big Shot)


Presented by Discord and Din Theatre
Written by Jenna Harris
Directed by Clinton Walker
Produced by Emma Mackenzie Hillier
Featuring Jenna Harris, Michelle Polak

Mine will mark Jenna’s debut as a playwright. Harris is known in the theatre community as the Interim General Manager of Studio 180, editor of the play anthology City Voices: A Book of Monologues by Toronto Artists, and as an actor (Tick, Toronto Fringe). Discord and Din produced Sitting in a Tree at Toronto Fringe in 2008. Harris’ new play is a fiercely intimate portrait of two young women in love.

About the show: A bar, two strangers and a Fuzzy Navel. Mine is a rhapsodic odyssey of love, loss, laugher and the lives of two women as they try to navigate each other and their relationship. Composed within a haunting and sensual rhythm, Mine is a play that speaks to our desire and desperation to be understood, valued and loved. Our human need to belong.

Quotes and Accolades:

* Mine was a finalist in the 2014 Safe Words New Canadian New Play Competition
* “The actor disappears into [the character's] raw, powerful emotions.” Jon Kaplan on Jenna Harris’ performance in Brilliant Traces (2008), Discord and Din Theatre’s inaugural production


Factory Theatre Antechamber

Snack Music
Presented by SNAFU
Created and Performed by Ingrid Hansen and Steve Chmilar

Creators of the fan-favourite Kitt and Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near Post-Apocalyptic Future at the 2014 Toronto Fringe, SNAFU creates unexpected spectacles in unusual spaces. The premiere of Snack Music sees SNAFU Co-Artistic Director Ingrid Hansen pairing with musician Steve Chmilar to produce an intimate, personalized musical encounter. These award-winning Fringe veterans are crafting this intimate encounter just for NSTF audiences.

About the show: Will you see your story reflected on stage? Snack Music artists Ingrid Hansen and Steve Chmilar will create live improvised songs built from the audience’s true stories, in the intimate antechamber of Factory Theatre. A form of playful playback theatre, Snack Music is part musical parlor game and part storytelling slam. Featuring ukulele, glockenspiel, saxophone and more.

Quotes and Accolades:

* “Kitt and Jane is an unpredictable, hilarious and ultimately uplifting portrait of what today’s kids may be thinking about the world they’re inheriting from their parents.” – CBC Canada Writes
* Vancouver Fringe New Play Prize (Kitt and Jane)
* English Theatre Award – Montreal Fringe 2013 (Little Orange Men)
Graham Clark Reads the Phonebook
Presented by Laugh Gallery
Created and Performed by Graham Clark

Hailing from Vancouver, comedian Graham Clark made his Toronto Fringe debut in 2014 to rave reviews and sold out houses. His show, I Think Therefore I’m Graham, combined friendly, laid back comedy with thrift store prize giveaways. Fringe media sponsor Now Magazine said of his performance in the show: “this affable dude could crack you up just reading the phonebook” and thus the idea for his new show was born. Graham Clark is a two-time Canadian Comedy Award winning podcaster for the show Stop Podcasting Yourself and is a regular on CBC Radio’s The Debaters.

About the show: Graham Clark Reads the Phonebook is a one-man show that mines comedy from the pages of a plain old phone book. From the wide range of businesses advertised to the absurdity of the book itself, Clark will leave no stone unturned while focusing his observational lens on the subject at hand. In an era when the book is facing extinction, this show will serve as a fitting eulogy.

Quotes and Accolades:

* “Vancouver stand-up Graham Clark may have a scraggly biker beard, but this affable dude could crack you up just reading the phone book.” –Now Magazine
* “Graham Clark’s routine is a non-stop laugh riot” –Mooney on Theatre
* “A true performance artist” – Canadian Press Service


General Festival Information

The 2015 Next Stage Theatre Festival runs from January 7-18, 2015 at the newly renovated, fully accessible Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street.

Advance Tickets & Passes Available Monday November 17, 2014:
– Online at
– By phone at 416-966-1062

Tickets are $15 for Mainspace and Studio shows and $10 for Antechamber shows.

The 2014 Next Stage Festival Schedule will be available starting November 10, 2015. For more information visit

Read the press release here.