Just got home from the Toronto Fringe local lottery. They’re going to publish the full list tomorrow afternoon, but here’s the list of companies as culled from their Twitter Feed:
First, the new play contest winner was THE OAK ROOM by theatre newcomer Peter Genoway.
The Dance Category includes lemonTree creations (with whom I collaborated on their 2009 production of Deathwatch), Human Atoms, monster feelings, alvinhayle and RiaToss Productions. Waitlisted are (not in order) Skindivers Dance Company, Tu Productions, Sisters of Salmone and Jasmyn Fyffe Dance. There were 20 companies hoping for these spots.
The FringeKids lineup includes Song Trolley Productions, Tarradiddle Tales, Trent Arterberry, The Manipulators, Alistair Ant Productions, Blue Like An Orange Productions, Tangled Web Theatre, and Skylark Productions (headed by Akiva Romer-Segal, with whom I worked on Heart In Hand Theatre’s 2009 production of Trout Stanley). Waitlisted are (not in order) Cow Over Moon Children’s Theatre Company, Little Fringers Music, Spicy Mike Productions, Deepali Productions, Shakey-Shake and Friends, NachoMama, 3DOM Theatre Company, Pumpernickel Productions.
The Ontario 90-minute category includes: Certainty Assurance (comedian and Second City Instructor Natasha Boomer), COMPASS Theatre Productions, guy shy theatre, Wigglydolly, Alexandra Lean Productions, Vintage Productions, Empty Box Theatre Company, Do These Pants Make Me Look Fat?, Theatre on a Thought, august Productions Theatrical Inc., and Take Your Mark.
Waitlisted are (not in order): Cilantro Dream Theatre, Divine Bovine, and bethannecole, 775 Productions, Gash! Inc., Bygone Theatre, Newface Entertainment, Johnson Girls. I can’t find information on Google about a lot of these companies, but one of the waitlisted companies is run by frequent Sky Gilbert collaborator David Tomlinson and another is run by Astrid Van Wieren, who won a Dora for her performance in This Wide Night. There were 137 companies hoping for the 11 spots.
The big mama of the night was the Ontario 60-minute category, which had 334 entries hoping for one of just 53 spots. The winners are: Olmstead Productions, The Quickening Theatre, Secretly Illiterate Theatre, DYS(THE)LEXI, Not Bad Abe Productions, Beer in a Glass Productions, Ampex Entertainment, Good Old Neon, the Aft End, Silent Protagonist, rhymes with 7, Backyard Spaceship, Act 3.6.1 Prods, Follow Your Fear, The Goods, Theatre Poisons Everything Theatre Co., Kid Switchblade, Lift the Kid Theatre, Slumgum & Quaqua, Rhymes with Orange Productions, Who’s There Theatre, Broken Cloud Company, SAMBO Productions, The Remnants, LifeWorks, Guayoyo Creative Collective, Clownfire, Next Step Productions, Sex T-Rex, Peppermill Productions, Sterling Studio Theatre, The Raft Project, Fruitful Productions, Your Good Friends, AfterGlow Theatre, NovelSidewalk Theatre Company, Fly on the Wall Theatre Co., Newborn Theatre, (Eduardo’s ) Kith as Kin, Fly with Us, Bent Spoons, Blood Orange Theatre & Deviant Prods, Argentan Heart Prods, Royal Porcupine Productions, Donna Greenberg, Theatre of the Beat, Better to Burn Out Productions, Zoot Zoot Prods, MCM Productions, ChickenWing Theatre, bojit Productions, Play It Again Productions.
Of that list, the names that jump out at me are: sketch troupe Sex T-Rex, which has been getting a lot of buzz; former Ten Foot Pole client Afterglow Theatre, whose Ambiguous did well in 2011 and which is headed by Aaron Rothermund; Stephen Gallagher, writer of 2010 Best of Fringe pick Craplicker and the 2013 NextStage Festival’s Memorial, had his company drawn, but I can’t remember which name it was; Ampex Entertainment is Andrew Frade’s company, and they had a cool show with The Stain at this year’s festival; Sarah Olmstead of Olmstead Productions was Mark Shyzer’s stage manager on his cross-Canada Fringe tour this summer with Fishbowl; Ken Hall — one half of the sketch duo 2-Man No Show with Isaac Kessler — was drawn, but I didn’t hear the company name; and one of the last draws of the night was Matt Gorman’s Your Good Friends Theatre Company, which presented the metatheatrical psychodrama Like A Dog at this year’s festival. Gorman is better known for his other company, Cart/Horse Theatre, whose upcoming show This Lime Tree Bower by Olivier-award winning playwright Conor MacPherson I’m doing PR for.
And now the wait list (not in order): Play Creative, Machineman, Hope Grown Productions!, Natural Progression Theatre, Standing in Line Productions, actwright theatre, Theatre Mischief, Beautiful Gem Productions, Rouge & Peasant Theatre, Docket Theatre, Tickahdeebooo Productions, Spring Garden Prods, ME Prods, Flying Radio Prods
This year, they held the draw for non-local categories online earlier in the day, since they’re not going to be at the lottery party anyway. The Fringe didn’t tweet the results, but I scribbled down some of the winners.
First, the Culturally Diverse Artist Project winner was Paromita Kar and her performance company, Nrittanz. This is the new special lottery that is only open to non-whites and comes with a free spot in the festival and a cash prize. I’ve written before how dumb I think this is. I mean, it’s an affirmative action program in a system that is already blind and unfiltered. This just comes down to a cash prize for having a certain skin colour. It has nothing to do with increasing access, since there’s no means-testing for the prize (which has the condescending implication that all non-whites need a financial handup) nor is there any content regulation, so if she wanted to, Paromita could produce an all-white production of a Pinter play and she’d still get the prize for cultural diversity. I think it’s well intentioned but ultimately a misguided program.
[EDIT: Please see the comments section for an elaboration of my problems with this program.]
The National 60-minute category includes: Mike Delamont, who had a hit this year with his cross-dressing standup routine God Is A Scottish Drag Queen; sketch comedy duo The Peter ‘n’ Chris Show (Peter Carlone guested on my show Big In Germany in Calgary this summer); Keir Cutler, who’s best known for his Teaching Shakespeare series of shows (will he be bringing Teaching Hamlet, a two-hander that was a hit in Winnipeg this year?); and improv troupe Hip.Bang!
The International 60-minute category includes Fringe fixture performance poet Jem Rolls and solo artist Tonya Jones Miller, whose autobiographical show Threads was a hit in Winnipeg this summer. The wait list includes Tim Motley, whose film noir/detective pastiche/magic comedy show Dirk Darrow sold out its run at the Victoria Fringe and Yanomi Shoshinz, whose magical mime/dance/clown shows My Exploding Family and A Day In The Life of Miss Hiccup have been critical and audience picks all over the circuit. There were only 20 entries, which is surprisingly even less than Montreal Fringe’s International applicants.
And that’s what I saw! Check out the Toronto Fringe web site tomorrow for the full list.
And if you’re interested in Edmonton Fringe, they live tweeted their lottery results tonight too.
Post Script: My post about Montreal Fringe’s lottery last week is the most-read article I’ve put on this young blog, and seems to have generated some controversy, especially after it was reposted at Charlebois Post. Montreal Fringe ED Amy Blackmore posted there asking me to communicate my concerns to her directly. I haven’t had a chance to talk to her yet (it’s grant writing deadline season), but I do plan to, and I hope it can lead to some positive developments for all artists participating in the Fringes. Unfortunately, too many artists seem to think that speaking out about things that we’re concerned about is dangerous to themselves and harmful to the theatre community. I think that’s crap. The reason I’m speaking up now is not because I’m desperate for attention or I have a career death wish, but because I’m hoping that I can spark dialogue and lead to positive change. Keep writing.