Toronto Fringe festival will once again be digital

For the second consecutive year, Toronto's biggest theatre event will be digital only

For the second consecutive year, Toronto’s biggest stage event, the Fringe Festival, will be strictly digital because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After considering an outdoor festival for Summer 2021, the Toronto Fringe has decided to move forward with a digital festival to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19,” reads a press release issued by the Toronto institution this morning.

Pre-recorded video, audio and text

“Fringe companies will present pre-recorded video, audio and written pieces for audiences to enjoy as part the Fringe On-Demand series,” it continues.

“Audiences will access content on with the purchase of an affordable and accessible membership pass. An additional Fringe Primetime series series will offer audiences a chance to experience the thrill of a live and interactive Fringe show online.”

The festival will take place July 21 to 31, a change from its planned dates of June 30 to July 11.

Confirmed artists can defer until 2022

As per last year’s announcement, which was issued in May, artists who were originally slotted to be a part of the 2020 festival have been offered the chance to take part in the 2021 digital version.

“Some have accepted a slot, while others have decided to defer to a planned in-person 2022 festival,” says the Fringe.

A digital lottery will be held this spring to fill the remaining slots, with “anyone and everyone” encouraged to apply. Details will be available shortly here.

Last year’s Fringe Collective raised $28,000 in donations for the artists involved. In January, the Toronto Fringe presented the Next Stage Community Booster, which resulted in 13,000+ page views on the Fringe’s website in 10 days. 

Three contests

The Toronto Fringe also announced three contests: the digital new play contest, the digital Adams Prize for musical theatre and the digital 24 hour playwriting contest. Deadlines for all three competitions is March 19.

The festival also announced something called the Fringe Primetime series, which “will offer audiences a chance to experience the thrill of a live and interactive Fringe show online.” Details about this are still to come, but the winners of all three contests will be part of the series.

The Toronto Fringe has been around since the summer of 1989 and has been the birthplace of many lauded works, including Kim’s Convenience, Da Kink In My Hair and The Drowsy Chaperone.


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