Fringe says goodbye to Honest Eds, and hello to… Scadding Court!

The Toronto Fringe Festival opens today, but even before the first show goes up, the fests unveiled a dramatic new.

The Toronto Fringe Festival opens today, but even before the first show goes up, the fests unveiled a dramatic new venture: the location of their new Fringe Club.

This year marks the final one that the hub of the festival where you can buy tickets, attend a talk, get information, eat, drink and gossip before and after shows and late into the night takes place in and behind Honest Eds alleyway. The festival is marking the occasion with a marketing campaign in homage to the institution, complete with a great big shiny logo mimicking the stores brightly-lit signage.

This time next year, though, its moving south to Scadding Court Community Centre, at the southeast corner of Bathurst and Dundas.

While some people were thinking Central Tech might have been the obvious move after all, its not being used in the summer, no? SCCC is a decent spot. Festival venues Theatre Passe Muraille and Factory Theatre are a few minutes away, and many site-specific shows often take place in nearby spaces.

The move will certainly change the feel of the festival. The current Fringe Club, located right on Bloor West, fits right into the student-fed liveliness of the Annex. While Dundas West is becoming more popular and hey, theres a 24-hour Mickey Dees there it doesnt have the same vibrancy. For now, anyway.

Itll also be harder to get to by subway, although there are streetcars on Bathurst, Dundas and Queen.

The ever-popular beer gardens will take up residence in the SCCC parking lot, and the outdoor hockey rink will house an arts market, complete with performance stage. Theres no word yet on whether those shipping container-style eateries along the south side of Dundas will take part or extend their hours. Theyve done a lot to transform the neighbourhood.

The festival is looking to integrate the Scadding Court Drama Interact program for youth and young adults who are physically or developmentally challenged into the fest. And it will be working with Scadding Courts Newcomer Integration Program to provide work and volunteer opportunities. All good things.

The festival will continue to grow. While it will be sad to say goodbye to the little concrete paradise that is Honest Eds Alley in the summer, and its very convenient to step out of a show at the Randolph or Annex and be right at the Fringe Club, the new spot is promising.

There are a lot of opportunities for site-specific shows nearby, including a public pool and a library. And SCCC is surrounded by a park, which will likely become the site of many brain-storming or romantic post-Fringe Club walks and talks.

Fringe reviews are going to start rolling in soon! Check back here to find out what’s hot and what’s… not. | @glennsumi

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