New Ideas Festival – the general idea

  Since 1989, when it was co-founded by Molly Thom and Kerri MacDonald (who in 2011 directed Summer’s End in Week Two), Alumnae Theatre Company has hosted an annual festival of new works, which provides playwrights, directors, actors and technicians  the opportunity to develop never-before-produced short scripts.  It’s all about the process.

 The New Ideas Festival is a juried, three-week annual festival of new writing, works-in-progress and experimental theatre, with a different program of plays each week (5 performances of each), and a staged reading on Saturdays at noon of one longer play.

  • Began in 1989 as one of the few juried theatre festivals in Toronto.
  • Encourages playwrights to stay involved in the project throughout the rehearsal process.
  • Is part of the Alumnae Theatre, a not-for-profit and non-union company, which actively encourages diversity in its casting and membership.
  • Is focused on development and community. It does not charge entry fees to participants, or pay fees, royalties or a box office share to participants.
  • Provides dramaturgical support to assist in script development.
  • Provides Directors, Stage Managers, technical and front of house staff with rehearsal space and publicity.

Alumnae Theatre Company retains creative discretion over the festival as a whole.

In 2011, the Festival presented 14 new works, ranging in length from 12 to 60 minutes. There was everything from comedy and mixed-up relationships, to dance, poetry, and a little tea with terror.  Two of the plays, Where Do You Get Off? and From Here To There And Back Again, originated in Alumnae’s Write Now! event in the fall of 2010 – a challenge to write a play based on a particular theme – a TTC trip, in this case – within a limited time frame.


To see the full 2011 program, along with production photos, please visit the Alumnae Theatre website:



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Filed under 2011/12 season, New Ideas Festival 2012

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