Starting tomorrow, January 4th and running until January 15th, the 2017 Next Stage Theatre Festival will be the festival’s 10th birthday celebration. Time to join the party!
This year’s festival features a troupe of dance-theatre renegades; a first ever show performed in Mandarin, Cantonese and English; a musical that has appeared on Orphan Black; bawdy adult puppetry and so much more.
Some highlights from the festival are:
The Death of Mrs. Gandhi and the Beginning of New Physics
Written and Directed by Kawa Ada
Featuring an all-female cast, this political satire centers on some of modern history’s greatest political figures, at odds with each other and their people. The cast is led by powerhouse actors Elley-Ray Hennessy as Margaret Thatcher, Nina Lee Aquino as Imelda Marcos and Ellora Patnaik as Malala Yousafzai. Rounding out the cast, Tennille Read takes on the role of Benazir Bhutto and Trenna Keating plays a young Kim Campbell.
Written Anika Johnson and Barbara Johnston (“Johnson & Johnston”)
Directed by Ann Merriam
Equal parts a horror film and a musical comedy, Blood Ties is an evening in the theatre that you won’t soon forget. This Johnson and Johnston musica is based on a true story about a bachelorette weekend gone horribly wrong. Sheila’s uncle kills himself on the eve of her wedding and she and three best friends are left with the task of cleaning up the mess left behind – a mess that is soon revealed to extend far beyond the blood splattered on the floor.
My Big Fat German Puppet Show
Written and Directed by Frank Meschkuleit
This veteran Muppets/Fraggle Rock puppeteer has created a show that is NOT for the kids. Part puppet show, part circus, part cabaret – how fun! This show won the Just for Laughs Best Comedy Award when it premiered at the Montreal Fringe Festival.
Two Truths And A Lie
Created by and Featuring Graham Isador, Helder Brum, and Rhiannon Archer
Director Tom Arthur Davis
Each night of the festival, Graham Isador (Situational Anarchy), Helder Brum (Born with a Tale), and Rhiannon Archer (Life Records) will regale audiences with three unbelievable stories…one of which is completely made up. After the critical successes of their honest and funny solo shows, these veterans of Toronto’s storytelling scene are coming together to make you laugh while lying to your face.
Created by Bessie Cheng and Aaron Jan
Directed by Aaron Jan
Unapologetic, brutal and unflinching, this 2016 Toronto Fringe audience hit returns to the stage at this year’s festival. Lauded for its brutal look at the psychological challenges of Chinese-Canadian immigrants, Silk Bath will be the first show in NSTF history to be presented in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. NOW Magazine called the show “powerful and affecting.”
**I attended Silk Bath during its Toronto Fringe run. It was engrossing, interesting, and a learning experience.
Created by the Ensemble – every night!
Fast paced, ridiculous and always entertaining, the cast creates an hour long musical from suggestions provided by the audience. This dynamite cast has been seen in mainstage musicals and comedy clubs around the country and knows how to make you laugh one moment and break out your jazz hands the next.
Although these are but a few shows, I highly, highly recommend you check out more shows at Next Stage Festival this year. It is time well spent.
Schedule: Full Next Stage Festival schedule avail here
Venue: Factory Theatre
Tickets: $15 – Mainspace and Studio shows; $10 – Antechamber shows
Buy online, by phone (416-966-1062), or at the door of the venue.
Online and phone sales subject to a $2 per order fee.
Passes available as well.