The Toronto Fringe, rebranded

THE FRINGE OF TORONTO July 5 to 16, various locations. $12, some same-day $8, Kidsfest $5-$12, passes available ($45 for.


THE FRINGE OF TORONTO July 5 to 16, various locations. $12, some same-day $8, Kidsfest $5-$12, passes available ($45 for five shows, $85 for 10). fringetoronto.com, 416-966-1062.

The Toronto Fringe launched its new festival home at Scadding Court last week with a party hosted by clowns Morro & Jasp and performances by the Wexford Gleeks (who sang a terrific mashup of Hey Ya and Shake It Off) and the charming Asian Seniors Choir and Dance Group.

Last year was the final Fringe in the back alley behind Honest Eds, and now that that institutions glitzy signs have come down (sigh), the festival has changed its branding, too. Gone are the big, bold, retro graphics that made the festival program and ticket booths feel like something out of a carnival.

Judging from their rebranding, theyre going for a more downtown vibe, clearly reflecting the citys diversity and the no-frills atmosphere of the locale. You can see that in the Fringe program covers. Yes, covers. Theres not just one this year but four, featuring a quartet of models: Ryan G. Hinds (a frequent Fringe performer, wholl also be hosting a Torontos Got Talent competition at the Fringe Club on July 16) Julianna Romanyk (a comedy critic and frequent Fringe volunteer) Beardonce (a performer at Slay Day on July 12) and Denise Solleza (in this years Wild/Walled dance show).

While the models are colourful, so, too, are the pages inside the book. Full colour, lots of maps (including ones at the beginning of each venues show list) and, for hardcore Fringers (like me) who see dozens of shows, a colour-coded schedule that will be super-helpful. With the new system, you can look at any given day and time and see whats playing. Site-specific and Kidsfest shows are shaded in different colours. (Before they were in their own sections.)

So check out the program for what to see. And if youre uncertain about some shows, follow along on Twitter on Monday (June 12) at noon when, for an hour, Ill be taking part in something called Pitch Me Your Show. Fringe artists will try to get my interest, convince me their show will be the best at the fest, etc. The hashtag is #FringeTO, Im @glennsumi and the Fringe is @Toronto_Fringe.

Kinda like that Times Square TKTS booth!

Every day, the fests Fringe Daily Discount Booth will sell discounted $8 tickets for select performances on that day. Theyll only be available at the fest box office, so check the booth to see whats available. What a great way to ensure empty seats get filled up.

World Fringe!

The whole Fringe movement began 70 years ago, and on July 11 at the outdoor stage, the Fringe will live-stream a special birthday message to 200 other Fringes across the globe. (Lets hope theres cake.)

Wheel deals!

Getting to shows is really handy when you use Bike Share. (Ive been a member for years.) This year, Bike Share, the Fringes transportation sponsor, is offering a special deal: $15 for the duration of the festival. (Thats the usual rate for three days.) Since the Queen streetcar will be out of commission, making it hard to get to new venue the Theatre Centre, its a good option. Also look out for Fringe-branded free rickshaws along Bathurst and Bloor during the two Fringe weekends.

The hockey rink!

It wasnt used during the launch last week, but the program says the Scadding Court hockey rink will feature food vendors, a bar and patio, installations, games and the outdoor stage. Itll be open until 2 am every night. Speaking of food, dont forget the shipping container restaurants around the corner on Dundas. And the 24-hour McDonalds will probably be the site of lots of drama, too.

The Jon Kaplan tent!

To memorialize the recent passing of NOWs beloved senior theatre writer, the Fringe has named one of the tents in the Club after him. The tent, according to them, will be a relaxing space… where you can rejuvenate after a long day of Fringing, connect with friends (both old and new) and discuss theatre in true Jon Kaplan fashion. Jon loved the Fringe he was at the very first and I can picture him with his shorts, cap, water bottle and smile, loving that gesture.

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