Toronto Fringe’s Creation Lab Open Jam

Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend the Toronto Fringe’s Creation Lab Open Jam. I was admittedly a little nervous, and didn’t really know what to expect. I thought it might be a good opportunity to meet some like-minded people and learn about some work in the early development stage.

And what exactly is an Open Jam, you may ask? What this means is you could bring whatever artistic creation you are currently working on and share a work space with other members of the artistic community, may it be directors, writers or actors.

The Fringe’s two brand new studios at the Centre for Social Innovation Annex were open from 9am to 5pm for anyone to use as part of their creative process.  The Neville Austin Studio (Neville’s Nook) is a multi-purpose space set up with tables, chairs, free Wi-Fi, paper, and rehearsal space.  Studio B was set up as a break-out space to test out ideas on their feet or in privacy.

The Open Jam encouraged a wide variety of things, like playwrights wanting to hear their unfinished work out loud, or actors, producers and directors wanting to collaborate on new projects. Anyone interested in contributing to and/or observing the indie theatre community in action was encouraged to attend.

So I, first draft of script in hand, went to “jam.” Upon entering, I immediately found myself joining a script reading. A bunch of people, including the writer and a few actors, huddled together in a circle and listened to a brand new theatre piece. It was interesting to be able to give feedback on what worked and what didn’t, and the wide variety of people made for interesting takes on the script. People were quite constructive and positive in their feedback as well, which was encouraging.

This broke off into people working in smaller groups. Some actors rehearsed a Shakespearean scene, others put on headphones and began madly typing away on their own scripts. Others simply chatted over coffee. It was fascinating to watch.

Unfortunately, I never actually got around to testing out my work with actors, as I had intended. However, I certainly like the Open Jam idea, and think that more opportunities like this can only benefit the theatre community.

– The Fringe Creation Lab at the Centre for Social Innovation Annex, 720 Bathurst St, Suites 401-403
– Rental information regarding The Neville Austin Studio and Studio B can be found here: