Since its humble beginnings in 1989, the Toronto Fringe Festival has grown into the city’s largest theatre festival, providing a platform for 1,200 artists and welcoming over 90,000 attendees from around the world annually. Many of the country’s most successful productions premiered at Fringe, and the festival has long fostered emerging and diverse talent thanks to other initiatives like the Next Stage Theatre Festival and the Culturally Diverse Artist Project. Some Fringe plays have been adapted for TV, and many of the creators and stars have become household names. Ahead of this year’s edition, taking place July 3–14 at various venues across the city, here are five people who got their start at Fringe.
The prolific writer, director and artistic director of Toronto’s Theatre Brouhaha is no stranger to Fringe—she’s directed several critically acclaimed plays at the festival, including Bright Lights, Punch Up and Help Yourself (winner of the New Play Contest). Her “twisted fairy tale” Mustard, about a teenage girl and her imaginary friend Mustard, won the 2016 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play. Her latest play, Yaga, which premiered at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, is a black comedy about the Slavic folklore character Baba Yaga.