The Next Stage Theatre Festival

The Next Stage Theatre Festival
presented by the Fringe of Toronto Theatre Festival

January 2010
at the Factory Mainspace and Studio Theatres



The Fringe is Toronto’s largest theatre event, now in its 21st year.  In 2008, the festival presented 148 unjuried works performed and created by over 1200 artists at 30 venues across the city to more than 58,000 patrons.  As part of a worldwide phenomenon of Fringes, the festival is dedicated to creating a supportive environment for independent artists to dream, play and push new aesthetic boundaries.  As an extension of our core principals of access to artistic opportunities, The Next Stage Theatre Festival (NSTF) was launched in January 2008 – in its first year, four of eight productions presented were picked up by major theatres, including an off-Broadway opening for Bash’d, and one, A Quiet Place, was nominated for four Dora Awards.  In its second year, NSTF presented eight productions (six local, one national and one international) and saw 15% growth in attendance, and we’re anticipating several remounts to be announced in upcoming months.


At Fringes and other festivals across the country every year, thousands of artists create work of remarkable quality and diversity.  They contribute to the cultural ecology of our country, and within the context of the emerging artist community often succeed in reaching new audiences in a way that larger institutions envy.  There remains however a gap between “Fringe” and “established” companies.  One of the major challenges for Fringe companies is to take the leap to full production models, especially considering the significant costs related to self-producing.

The goals of the Next Stage Festival are to:

  • Maintain and build on the creative momentum of emerging and established artists
  • Give promising artists another chance to develop their work in front of a sophisticated, supportive audience
  • Offer local audiences more opportunities to enjoy affordable, high-quality theatre
  • Showcase innovative works to local artistic directors and producers

Made possible with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the third annual Next Stage Theatre Festival will run in early January 2010.  Unlike the summer Fringe, the Next Stage is a curated event.  A panel of judges will select eight participating companies based on the merits of a finished script and past artistic successes.


  • To be eligible for The Next Stage Theatre Festival, one core-creator on the application (company, producer, director or playwright) must have previously produced an artistically successful production in a Canadian Association of Fringe® Festivals member festival.
  • The festival is interested in projects from emerging and established theatre artists who are developing new work and/or exploring new artistic avenues – productions of works by mainstream or particularly famous playwrights are not eligible (e.g. – productions of Shakespeare, Shaw, Pinter, etc…)
  • Preference will be given to artists who have received artistic or critical success with a previous production and could use this performance opportunity to maintain their artistic momentum.
  • We welcome applications from artists who are exploring new creative frontiers and/or who are creating in one or more of a variety of genres such as theatre, musicals, opera, dance, movement etc. For those applications that are not primarily text based, the application may also include a detailed project proposal, CD with music, video, or libretto if available.

In 2010, the Next Stage Theatre Festival will feature eight companies participating in two venues.  Companies will be selected from Ontario, across Canada and internationally.

Final selection of participating companies will rely on the quality of the play submitted, clarity of the project description and artistic vision, artistic merit and the production history of the applicant.

We will do our utmost to support the artistic vision of the selected participants, with the expectation that NSTF participants do their best to elevate their work to new heights of creativity and professionalism.


  • 7 to 9 performances over the course of the festival.
  • A venue (100 or 200 seats) equipped with basic lighting and sound. Each company will have at least two lighting specials.
  • The festival will provide one technician who will operate the lighting board. We require that companies supply a stage manager to call their show and run sound.
  • A technical rehearsal.
  • All front of house, box office and festival event publicity services.
  • Some financial assistance for rehearsal space and access to a professional lighting designer.
  • Limited travel assistance for national or international artists.
  • There will be no full application fee for participants (only a reading fee of $30 is required)
  • Participating companies will receive 70% of the box office revenue generated by their performances (less any applicable taxes or service charges). Ticket prices will range from $12-15 with some festival pass options.


  • All elements of the completed production including all costs for sets, costumes, cast, production staff, etc.
  • A production with a maximum running time of 90 minutes.
  • A production that can be set-up and struck in 15 minutes.
  • Accommodation for all company members if required (the Fringe will do its best to assist with billets for participants)
  • Obtaining the necessary permissions/rights for their work and for their artists.
  • A final production that is polished and honed for professional presentation.


  1. A completed script or detailed description for non-text based productions (max 5 pages for description)
  2. Project Statement – overall artistic vision for the project, project goals and objectives, any special notes on process and development. (max 1.5 pages)
  3. Artist Statement – overall artistic vision of the participants or company, the contribution of the project to the development of the careers of participants, any special notes on how participation in NSTF will benefit participating artists. (max 1.5 pages)
  4. Support materials, as available and relevant to your proposal, including:
    • Bios or profiles of participating artists and key personnel. (max 1 page per artist)
    • Press coverage from previous projects. (max 2 pages)
    • Video (VHS or DVD format), sound (CD only) or photo documentation (on CD) of your current or past work if available (material will not be returned to applicants).

SUBMISSION NOTE: In order to reduce the number of copies needed for the selection panel, we will be requiring that the script, project description and artistic statement be submitted digitally. File formats acceptable are PDF, MS Word (Read-Only if possible) or a plain text file.

Completed Application Forms can be submitted in person, by mail or courier. All digital application files must be submitted on CD or emailed to by the application deadline.


For more information please call 416-966-1062 or email

344 Bloor St. W. Suite 208, Toronto, ON, M5S-3A7, 416-966-1062

® FRINGE and FRINGE FESTIVAL are registered trademarks of The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals