New Ideas Festival 2016 opens next week! Plus some etiquette notes…

Week One of the New Ideas Festival opens in the Studio next Wednesday, March 9. It will feature the world premieres of short plays submitted by writers from just about everywhere, runs for 3 weeks, and each week there’s a totally different lineup.    New Ideas 2016 postcard

Unlike the Fringe Festival or SummerWorks, the New Ideas Festival is part of a company’s season of productions – it’s been a highlight of Alumnae Theatre Company’s seasons for 28 years now.

And also unlike Fringe or SummerWorks, which consist of individually-ticketed plays, the New Ideas audiences pay ONE ticket price ($15), and see four short plays.

Poster image for This Will Be My Last Transmission – last show in Week One lineup.

So yes:  even if you really only came to see your cousin’s brother-in-law’s stage debut, please stay for the WHOLE evening (or matinee) – it’s only polite to the other performers, writers, and directors.  And nobody wants to piss off the stage manager!  Plus, it might be a wee bit hazardous trying to exit during the dim scene-change lighting between plays.

During the show, please turn off all electronic devices that emit noise or light, and refrain from texting or e-mailing. Taking photos or audio/video recording is prohibited.


Here’s the Week One lineup (Wed March 9 – Sun March 13):

STUCK by Stacey Iseman, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson.
Prayers to St. George by Andrew Lee, directed by Meg Moran.
The Council by Deanna Kruger, directed by Claren Grosz.
This Will Be My Last Transmission by Natalie Frijia, directed by Zita Nyarady.
Performances of this lineup are 8pm Wed – Sat, with 2:30 matinees on Sat and Sunday. There is a Talkback following the Saturday matinee.

Each week also includes a staged reading of one longer play (approx. 60 mins) followed by a Talkback. The staged readings are on Saturdays at noon – no reservations necessary; admission is PWYC. The Week One reading is A Better Place by Ramona Baillie, directed by Chelsea Dab Hilke.


This year’s Festival also features what the producers have dubbed “a lobby play” – a short piece to entertain audiences pre-show and during intermission. It will be hard to top Brenda Somers’ innuendo-filled turn in 2014’s lobby play Polish Your Pole: she played a cleaning lady responsible for all the poles in firehalls (“This is Kevin. He’s my favourite,” she would croon, caressing the pole opposite the Box Office!) This year’s lobby play is The Nurse  by Francine Dick, directed by Mandy Roveda.

See the full Festival lineup at, and click on individual weeks to see photos and bios of the participants.

Tickets can be purchased by the week ($15 each) or a 6-ticket Flex Pass ($75) can be used for two people to attend all 3 weeks of the Festival.

If not purchasing tickets online, reservations are STRONGLY recommended! Phone or e-mail to hold seats, and pay cash on arrival – no credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales. 416-364-4170 Box 1 or


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Filed under 2015/16 season, New Ideas Festival

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