The Next Stage Festival is in full swing! Go to www.fringetoronto.com to check out the line up. Almost all of the Next Stage companies have been rehearsing in the Lab and filling our walls with music, dance, drama, cabaret and clowns!
In the meantime, check out this article I wrote for the Next Stage programs:
HOME HUNTING by Claire Wynveen
The indie arts community in Toronto is a vibrant, innovative, kooky, funky, spunky creative conglomerate that is frequently asked to spin straw into gold. As a member of this community, one of the largest obstacles I’ve come up against is finding appropriate space to work in. I’ve worked in church basements, in roachy theatres, in garages, in musty studios and (a whole lot) in my own living room. We all know these environments are not conducive to the creative process – there’s a leaky tap, or a noisy caretaker, or your own dishes in the sink to distract you. And when (hallelujah!) a grant comes through and you rent a swanky space, you’re preoccupied in rehearsal because time, literally, is money. And then when it runs out...you’re home-less again.
Being home-less as an artist has a corrosive effect on the creative process, especially since so many small companies are working with collaborative models, where the writing gets done in-studio and shows evolve out of physical exploration. So when I heard the Toronto Fringe was offering subsidised space at their new Creation Lab, I jumped at the chance to book it for my company, Litmus Theatre. Because of the subsidy we received, we were able to rehearse for twice as long.
In fact, I was so excited about the Fringe Creation Lab and its potential I became a member of the Fringe team – and now am responsible for the vitality of the Lab. Here’s why it’s so exciting: the Creation Lab consists of a new Fringe admin office and two beautiful, bright, loft-style spaces that can be rented at heavily subsidised rates. No application forms, no red-tape. Rental prices are assigned on a sliding scale, which is based on the level of funding of each company or individual.
The best part is the Creation Lab can be booked by anyone at anytime to do anything. The Neville Austin Studio (Neville’s Nook) is our larger studio – over 1000 square feet of bright, open floorspace space illuminated by a wall of windows. Studio B is our more intimate space – 550 square feet of creation space that is perfect for smaller casts, solo shows and company meetings. And it doesn’t stop there: either space can be transformed by creative minds to suit whatever purpose they envision!
The Creation Lab has been open for bookings since September and has already offered artists over 1300 hours of subsidised studio space. Optic Heart Theatre, Monkeyman Productions, Crow’s Theatre, Pleiades Theatre, the Red Light District, and many more have all rehearsed shows in the Lab. Dr. Clown, PAONE, TAPA, Branch Out Theatre and Acting Upstage have used the Lab for meetings, seminars and classes.