Started At The Fringe

The Toronto Fringe has always been a launchpad for Canada's up-and-coming talent, giving artists the chance to take big risks that lead to big payoffs. Below are just some of the success stories of nationally and internationally renowned artists whose careers Started At The Fringe.

Started at the Fringe with Ins Choi

Kim's Convenience is now a critically acclaimed comedy on CBC and Netflix. But it never would have gotten off the page if it weren't for the Toronto Fringe Festival. Now, Ins Choi, the creator of Kim's Convenience, returns to the Randolph Theatre where it all began.

Video by Primitive Replica
Cinematography by Eric Chan

started at the Fringe with trey anthony

Watch Fringe alumni Trey Anthony's #StartedAtTheFringe story, as she visits the Tarragon Theatre for the first time since the premiere of her play 'Da Kink in My Hair at the 2001 Toronto Fringe Festival.

Video by Primitive Replica
Shot by Eric Chan
Makeup by Krystal Chance

Started at the Fringe with Irene Sankoff and David Hein

Co-creators of the Tony-nominated Come From Away, Irene Sankoff and David Hein had their first big break at the Toronto Fringe. Their first show, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding was the hit of the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival, where it was picked up for a successful commercial run in Toronto by Mirvish Productions.

Images provided by Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Editing by Primitive Replica

Photo of Kim's Convenience Creator: Ins Choi

I wanted to see my play on stage just once.

Ins Choi

highlights from the Fringe’s many decades of success

The Drowsy Chaperone (Bob Martin and Don McKellar): was in the Toronto Fringe Festival in 1999. Following the Fringe staging, Toronto commercial theatre producer David Mirvish financed an expanded production at Toronto's 160-seat, independent Theatre Passe Muraille in 1999. It went on to Broadway in 2006.

‘Da Kink in My Hair (Trey Anthony): was in the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2001. Mirvish Productions picked it up for their 2005 season. It went on to runs in the US and UK after Mirvish. They also ran a TV series based on the show on Global TV from 2007 – 2009.

My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding (David Hein and Irene Sankoff): was in the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2009. It was picked up by Mirvish Productions in 2009 and went on to an extensive North American tour.

The Musical of Musicals: The Musical (Eric Rockwell & Joanne Bogart): was in the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2013. It was picked up by Mirvish Productions in 2013.

Kim’s Convenience (Ins Choi): started at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival and was picked up by Soulpepper for numerous runs. Soulpepper and Thunderbird Films are now collaborating on a film and TV deal for the show.

Life After (Britta Johnson): was a hit of the 2016 Toronto Fringe and won the Paul O'Sullivan Prize for Musical Theatre. The musical went on to a run with The Musical Stage Company and Canadian Stage in fall of 2017 and wider acclaim after that.

Toothpaste and Cigars (TJ Dawe & Michael Rinaldi): was in Toronto Fringe 2003. It has been made into a feature film which premiered at TIFF 2013 under the title “The F Word”, and has now been released commercially under the title “What If?” – it stars Daniel Radcliffe & Zoe Kazan.

Top Gun! The Musical (Scott White): was in the 2002 Toronto Fringe Festival. It went from Toronto Fringe to commercial production at Factory Theatre, then was one of the shows that launched the first New York Musical Festival.

Killing Kevin Spacey (Elan Wolf Farbiarz): was in the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival. It went from Toronto Fringe to long run off-Broadway.

Michael Healy: got his start at Fringe (with a play called Kicked in the 1996 Fringe) and went on to pen one of the most-produced plays in Canadian history, The Drawer Boy.