Next Stage Festival

January 8, 2020

January 19, 2020


Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto



Events Description


With its most diverse lineup to date, Toronto’s premiere winter arts celebration, Next Stage Theatre Festival, returns January 2020 for its 13th edition. Presented by the Toronto Fringe, the 12 carefully curated shows are a thrilling showcase for bold, independent voices and a broad range of new, innovative plays.

2020 is the perfect year to talk about 20/20 vision, as the productions in this year’s Next Stage Theatre Festival portray this theme in many ways – both personal and political — as artists present discussions around politics, bodies, genders, abilities, fears, and desires.


Highlights include a number of performances that prove theatre can be both serious and humorous. A breakout hit of the 2019 Toronto Fringe, the all-Filipina, all-fun comedy show Tita Jokes, written and performed by Tita Collective, returns with new sketches, new songs and a new sixth performer. In their reimagined clown piece Morro and Jasp: Save The Date, Amy Lee and Heather Marie Annis examine the strength of sisterhood when their duo is upset by a romantic partner. In addition, disabled artist Ophira Calof presents her solo show Literally Titanium, which blends music, comedy and storytelling to explore the relationship between her body and mind as they navigate a world that wasn’t built for them.

In Pearle Harbour’s Agit-Pop! the drag tragicomedienne Pearle Harbour presents a cabaret spectacular developed over five years, in an ever-changing collection of Pearle’s favourite and most heart-wrenchingly hilarious short acts. Written by Kevin Shea and directed by Jill Harper, Consumption Patterns offers a rich satire of contemporary exploitation and reveals a world at war with itself, offering a bracing glimpse of what’s to come.

Next Stage is also proud to present Bilal Baig’s powerful Kitne Saare Laloo Yahan Pey Hain, a truthful drama that unapologetically puts queer and trans bodies at the centre of the storytelling, in a truthful drama about a young trans woman that runs away from Bangladesh with only one suitcase and a secret.

Tallboyz – Live: A one-night only show in support of the Toronto Fringe

Catch the stars of the hit CBC comedy series that #StartedAtTheFringe live on stage! Tallboyz Guled Abdi, Vance Banzo, Tim Blair, and Franco Nguyen bring their absurdist but relatable sketch comedy to Next Stage for a side-splitting one-night-only performance. With a hilarious and upbeat demeanor, the Tallboyz take on friendship, politics, bro culture, and everyday life.

Plays in Detail



Company: Theatre Artaud
Director: Rouvan Silogix
Producer: Angela Sun and Theatre Artaud
Cast: athena kaitlin trinh and Diana Tso
Scenographer: Waleed Ansari
Sound Designer: Gloria Mok

49th Day takes us to a cemetery in Việt Nam, where a young woman makes offerings and performs rituals for her deceased grandmother. A poetic investigation of intergenerational trauma and displacement, this piece is a love letter to elders and grandparents everywhere.


Company: Luxury Goods
Playwright: Kevin Shea
Director: Jill Harper
Movement Director/Choreographer: Patricia Allison
Cast: Jennifer Dzialoszynski, Sochi Fried, Ben Sanders, Jonathan Tan

Take vacations. Shower regularly. Befriend the nanny. Hire a sex worker. Buy art. Murder the planet. Retire. Get comfy as a panicked CEO takes a surreal journey through the product pipeline. Surveying our vast economic landscape, Consumption Patterns reveals a world at war with itself—offering a bracing glimpse of what’s to come.

Company: Silver Lining Productions
Creators: Laura Piccinin & Allison Wither
Director: Jennifer Stewart
Musical Director: Aaron Eyre
Cast: Joel Cumber, Starr Domingue, Alex Furber, Daniel Karp, Luke Marty, Alison J. Palmer, Laura Piccinin, Jada Rifkin, Ben Skipper, Allison Wither

This tender musical shines a light on grief and death as experienced for the first time by a group of teenagers. Every Silver Lining was a breakout hit of the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival, featuring a dynamic group of the most exciting new voices in Canadian musical theatre. Pairing profound lyrics with catchy tunes, this show is for anyone looking to laugh and cry in the same breath.

Company: KSLYPH Collective
Creator and Performer: Bilal Baig
Director: Tawiah M’Carthy
Set Designer: Sebastian Marziali
Lighting Designer: André du Toit
Sound & Projections Designer: Steph Raposo

Escaping to the West, a young trans woman runs away from Bangladesh with only one suitcase and a secret. As she fears for her life in her new surroundings, can she trust you to keep her safe? Bilal Baig offers a truthful drama that authentically and unapologetically puts queer and trans bodies at the centre of the storytelling.

Company: Canadian Comedians
Creator and Performer: Ophira Calof
Director: Sanja Vodovnik
Director: Sanja Vodovnik
Dramaturg: Jessica Watkin
Producer: Alia Rasul
Producer: Sabrina Friedman

In the age of body positivity, where does chronic illness fit? Disabled artist Ophira Calof plays her body as a character finally getting its moment in the spotlight, using music, comedy and storytelling to explore the relationship between her body and mind as they navigate a world that wasn’t built for them. This show includes an informal conversation at the end of each performance. Every performance of this show includes access measures. Please note that Literally Titanium will feature two styles of relaxed performance.

Company: U.N.I.T. Productions
Creators: Amy Lee & Heather Marie Annis
Director: Byron Laviolette
Cast: Amy Lee & Heather Marie Annis

For better or for worse, the sisters have to negotiate what their relationship will look like now that there is a third person in the mix. Can they survive this new chapter of life without the person who has always been by their side? Can they still be Morro and Jasp?

Company: Pearle Harbour
Creator and Performer: Justin Miller
Musical Director: Steven Conway
Director: Rebecca Ballarin
Lighting Designer: Logan Raju Cracknell
Visual Effects and Projection Designer: Adam Miller

Award-winning drag tragicomedienne Pearle Harbour presents her cabaret spectacular Agit-Pop! – musical meditations for the pre-post-apocalypse. Developed over five years of live performance, Agit Pop! is an ever-changing collection of Pearle’s favourite, best, and most heart-wrenchingly hilarious short acts. With accompaniment by musical director Steven Conway, Pearle serenades audiences with new arrangements of old classics and little known gems by David Bowie, Judy Garland, Tom Waits and more.


Company: Theatre Lab & Big City Kittens
Creator: Lindsay Mullan
Cast: Bianca Alongi, Cristina Gonçalves, Lindsay Mullan

Tease is a feminist burlesque comedy that is as salty as it is sweet in its exploration of sex, politics and what it means to be a woman. Combining elements of clown, sketch comedy, improv, music and dance, this show will surprise you at every turn. This show includes an informal conversation at the end of each performance.


Company: Tita Collective
Creators & Performers: Ann Paula Bautista. Belinda Corpuz, Isabel Kanaan, Ellie Posadas, Alia Rasul, Maricris Rivera
Director: Tricia Hagoriles
Musical Director: Ayaka Kinugawa
Projection Designer: Mark Andrada

One of the sell-out hits of the 2019 Toronto Fringe, Tita Jokes is back and better than ever. Featuring new sketches, new songs, and a sixth Tita, this all-Filipina, all-fun sketch comedy show will bring so much heat from the Philippines that you’ll forget that it’s winter. The show is a love letter to the strong Filipinas in the artists’ lives: their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and friends.

Company: QuestionMark-Exclamation Theatre
Playwright: Julia Lederer
Director: Heather Marie Annis
Cast: Kaleb Alexander, Rebecca Applebaum, Alison Deon, Michael Musi, Nicole Power, RH Thomson, Jennifer Villaverde, Sophia Walker
Sound Designer: Maddie Bautista
Projections Designer: Montgomery Martin

A staged reading inspired by Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. First Daughter, Helen Spectacular, arrives at the world’s largest robot-producing start-up with a plan to free the robots and grant them human rights. She quickly becomes embroiled in both a love triangle and a secret science experiment that might lead to a major robot revolt. Absurdly comic and existentially chilling, U-R-U examines the societal obsession with progress at all costs and the decreasing worth of humanity in this increasingly artificial world. This show includes an informal conversation at the end of each performance.

Playwright: Mohammad Yaghoubi
Director: Mohammad Yaghoubi
Cast: Aida Keykhaii, Amir Zavosh, Armon Ghaeinizadeh, Jonathan Shaboo, Parmida Kakavand, Sarah Marchand
Lighting Designer: David DeGrow

An award-winning meta-theatrical and autobiographical piece based on the playwright’s traumatic experiences of the Iran-Iraq war. Recently translated from Farsi, this play creates a window into the not-so-distant past: a window to the days when death was just around the corner, and even though many survived death, no one survived the trauma. This show includes an informal conversation at the end of each performance.



Tickets :

Tickets are $18 for all Mainspace shows, and $15 for the U-R-U Staged Reading. Tickets purchased online or over the phone are subject to a $3 order fee.

Tickets for the Tallboyz Fundraiser are $25, $45 or $95

Pay What It’s Worth with – A limited number of Next Stage tickets will be available on Patrons will be able to pay a lower base price up front, and then top up their spend after the show to the level they desire after experiencing the performance.

How to get tickets?
Buy Online
Phone: (416) 966-1062

At the door: At the heated Steam Whistle Tent in the courtyard of Factory Theatre.

The box office opens one hour before the first show of the day.
Cash, Debit, Visa and MasterCard accepted – no AMEX.


Date & Time: January 8 to 19, 2020. – Schedule

Venue: Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M5V 2R2

Cozy up with other culture lovers in the Next Stage heated tent between shows. Head to the tent to find the Box Office and bar, which features Steam Whistle pilsner, wine, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and snacks.

No parking
Public transport accessible

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