Stage Door News

Toronto: 2022 Next Stage Theatre Festival extended to February 13, 2022

Monday, January 31, 2022

Toronto Fringe  is  pleased  to announce the 2022  Next Stage Theatre Festival  has been extended to February 13, 2022 to allow audiences to enjoy all seven productions after a quick pivot to digital theatre.

Now available on-demand as part of Next Stage Theatre Festival is Heart of a Dog from Nowadays Theatre, Stand Up Comedy from Comedy Records Live, Stories of a Dish from Nautanki Bazaar, The Sunglasses Monologue by Vivian Chong, Tango in the Dark by PointeTango, and Ursa: A Folk Musical created by The Uncommon Folk Collective. She’s Not Special created by Fatuma Adar will premiere February 7, 2022.

Previously planned as a hybrid in-person and digital festival January 19-30, 2022, the Next Stage Theatre Festival moved completely online in compliance with the Government of Ontario’s Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen announcement on January 3, 2022.  

The Complex and Saving Wonderland closed January 30 after eight successful live digital performances each. Next Stage now features gorgeous, high quality digital theatre presentations for on-demand viewing. Heart of a Dog, She’s Not Special, Stand-Up Comedy, and Ursa: A Folk Musical were recorded live on a COVID safe set at Ada Slaight Hall at Daniels Spectrum, where they were originally set to perform live.

The current 2022 Next Stage Theatre Festival Line-Up:

In Alphabetical Order

Heart of a Dog 

Written by Mohammad Yaghoubi

From Nowadays Theatre Company 

 Heart of a Dog  is a comical adaptation by Iranian playwright Mohammad Yaghoubi, based on a novel of the same name by the classic Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov. In this English premiere, the main character (the dog) will be performed by a woman, which would not be possible in Iran, where a woman's body is a political matter. Previous productions in Iran struggled with censorship, but now living in Canada far from the harassment of the censorship bureaus, Yaghoubi can pursue his creative vision and direct this piece any way he sees fit.

She's Not Special 

Created by Fatuma Adar

From HomeMadeIt Productions

 She’s Not Special combines musical theatre and comedic storytelling to explore the pressures of Black Excellence. As a Black Muslim Woman (a triple threat!), creator Fatuma Adar is on a mission to free you from the clutches of exceptionalism and teach you how to relish in the joys of mediocrity. Co-directed by Adar and Graham Isador.

Stand Up Comedy 

Created by Nick Reynoldson, Dena Jackson, Adrienne Fish, Monty Scott, Todd

Graham,  and  Efthimios  Nasiopoulos

From Comedy Records

Comedy Records, Canada’s first record label dedicated to releasing stand up and sketch comedy albums, presents an evening of hilarious stand-up comedy featuring hometown comics. Hosted by Faisal Butt, audiences will share laughs with notable comedians with a wide range of styles including  Nick Reynoldson, Dena Jackson, Adrienne Fish, Monty Scott, Todd Graham and Efthimios  Nasiopoulos.


Stories of a Dish 

Created by Himanshu  Sitlani

From Nautanki Bazaar

 A global pandemic may have struck, but here is a person who's just stuck! He wants to win the world over with his cooking, but will he be able to? He's got to face isolation, earn acceptance and, most importantly, get groceries delivered. Will he find the secret recipe to happiness? A culinary theatrical journey awaits, in this innovative solo show inspired by the popular  Stories of a Dish video series on Instagram.

The Sunglasses Monologue 

Created by Vivian Chong

 The Sunglasses Monologue  is a play about being seen and embracing life every step of the way. Through  humour, original songs, storytelling, and refreshing perspectives, this intimate one-woman-show from Blind artist  and writer  Vivian Chong  takes audiences through an emotional journey of finding bravery, vulnerability, and optimism in the face of uncertainty.

Tango in the Dark 

Directed by Alexander Richardson

From PointeTango

 Award-winning dance company  PointeTango  heats up  the  screen with Tango in the Dark, an original hour-long dance film created during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Previously part of the Next Stage Theatre Series, PointeTango’s  sultry duo will wow  audiences  with fantastic lifts, exciting spins and the passion of Argentine tango with a unique twist: tango on pointe! Using original music composed by the  Payadora  Tango Ensemble, as well as contemporary and traditional themes, senses will be delighted by an award-winning show that lights the way through the shadows and mysteries of Buenos Aires and tells a story of two dancers moving to the rhythms of the city night.

Ursa: A Folk Musical 

Created by Jake Schindler and Sam Boer

From Ursa Productions

 What happens when a small-town Ontario teenager runs off into the forest in search of adventure? Why, she meets an anxious bear in the midst of an identity crisis, of course! Combining the joys of a folk concert with the timeless wisdom of a folktale,  Ursa: A Folk Musical  weaves  a whimsical story of star-crossed friendship. This unforgettable exploration of the anxieties and  euphoria  of young adulthood is full of fresh and surprising folk tunes performed by a live band.

The Next Stage Theatre Festival is generously supported by Ontario’s Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture.

Toronto Fringe is  a grassroots, charitable organization that runs the Toronto Fringe Festival each July, the Next Stage Theatre Festival each January, and various year-round programs that benefit youth, emerging artists, BIPOC artists, artists with disabilities, and the performing arts community at large. Embedded in Fringe’s operations are the values of Access, Accountability, Creativity, Exploration, and Support.

Next Stage Theatre Festival 

January 19-February 13, 2022 

Tickets at $15 plus fees

More information available at