About the Toronto Fringe
Toronto Fringe is a grassroots, charitable organization that runs the Toronto Fringe Festival each July, the Next Stage Theatre Festival each January, and various year-round artist programs. Toronto Fringe is a creative match-maker, connecting artists with audiences, and empowering everyone to unleash their inner artist.
The Toronto Fringe’s mandate is to create opportunities for both emerging and established artists to produce their work with artistic freedom while engaging members of the community by making productions as affordable and accessible as possible.
The Toronto Fringe provides creative opportunities for artists and audiences by producing two important festivals – the Toronto Fringe Festival and the Next Stage Theatre Festival – and by running outreach activities that benefit youth, artists and the theatre community at large.
The Toronto Fringe is an organization that is inclusive and accessible and all of our programming reflects this principle. To this end, we ensure that:
- The Fringe produces well-marketed, well-organized and fiscally stable events through which artists may develop and produce new work.
- Participants have a reasonable opportunity to earn back their investment and compensate themselves for their work.
- The Fringe provides audiences with the opportunity to experience a wide variety of quality theatre at an affordable price.
We are proud members of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) and World Fringe. More information here.
The Toronto Fringe presented its first festival in the summer of 1989. Over the past 30 years it has grown into this city's largest theatre festival, welcoming over 90,000 patrons and giving voice to over 1,200 artists annually. To date we have returned over $6,000,000 in box office revenue to artists. We have also premiered some of Canada's most successful theatre productions including 'Da Kink In My Hair, The Drowsy Chaperone, Mump and Smoot, My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, and Kim’s Convenience, to name a few.
The Fringe Festival's success has spawned year-round activities for the organization, including the Next Stage Theatre Festival, which is now going into its 11th year. Next Stage is a curated festival that runs annually each January, features 10 productions pulled from top Fringe companies, does not charge an application fee, and returns 70% of the ticket price to the artists. The festival’s mandate is to provide a platform for successful Fringe artists and companies to take their work to the next level.
In 2011 we opened our Creation Lab in the Centre for Social Innovation at 720 Bathurst Street. Not only is the Lab home to our administration office, it also boasts two fully equipped creation spaces that can be rented for as little as $6/hr. The Creation Lab filled a need for affordable studio space in the community, and was busy day and night. The Creation Lab at CSI closed in 2016 when the Toronto Fringe moved its offices to 688 Richmond Street West. Plans are in development to reimagine the Creation Lab program.
In 2012 we launched the Culturally Diverse Artist Project (CDAP) that encourages people from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds to apply to a special CDAP lottery for the Fringe Festival. Three artists, chosen at random through our Fringe lottery, receive mentorship and financial support. The Toronto Fringe has established new points of access to artistic opportunity for both audiences and artists year-round, and we are very proud of where the organization stands today.
From 2014 to 2017, we ran Fund What You Can, an online crowd-funding platform for indipendent artists across North America, especially Fringe artists. We offered the lowest platform fee on the market (3.5%), plus hands-on support, accessible resources and free crowdfunding workshops.