Fort Awesome (WORKhouse Theatre ) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review (Visual Fringe)

Fort Awesome is part of the Visual Fringe at the Toronto Fringe Festival but is also put on by WORKhouse Theatre and there is a performative element to it. That is how I got ensnared in the Fort: a lovely young woman who appeared to be dressed in nothing but a red raincoat sashayed up to me and, in her most seductive voice, offered me a poem in return for two dollars.

She is one of the working girls of the Poetry Brothel, one of Fort Awesome’s features and a brilliant way to ensnare passers-by. Since I support the work of escorts of all kinds, I gave her a toonie and she gave me a comedically vampy recitation of a poem. I no longer remember who the poet was, but I did think it was quite a good piece of writing.

After that I had to enter the actual Fort Awesome tent to see what they had and I was immediately struck by some bear-themed art. They were paintings and sculptures of anthropomorphic bears in clothing/poses of figurative bears (big hairy gay men.) They were absolutely adorable and I would have bought a print right then and there (as a gift for a gay bear couple who are dear friends) but I didn’t want to chance ruining it as I ran around Fringe all night seeing shows. I’m still hoping to pick one up but I also took the card of the artist, Sandy Tomany, so I can get in touch with him if I don’t manage to do so before the festival ends.

My other favourite thing (I like interactive stuff) was a map of the city and a box of push pins with instructions to mark spots according to a colour guide: Blue to mark your favourite place to swim, red to mark your favourite public makeout spot, green for your favourite place to smoke a joint. (I think there were other colours and reasons to use them, but those are the three I remember.) Some of the push pins had strings with notes attached so you could read a one-line review of why that place was so good for its respective activity.

The WORKhouse Theatre people attending the booth were also such a delight to talk to. According to their Facebook event listing they also have other activities at various times, like Ghost Story readings and Audio Visual Installation, as well as more visual art and jewelleryy. If you’re at the Fringe Club, I recommend dropping by Fort Awesome .


  • Fort Awesome is  in the Fringe Club, behind Honest Ed’s at Bloor and Bathurst, as per this schedule: July 04 – Tent 5, July 05 – Tent 1, July 06 – Tent 4, July 07 – Tent 3, July 10 – Tent 6, July 11 – Tent 1, July 12 – Tent 3, July 15 – Tent 7
  • Hours of Operation: July 4th-6th 6:30-10:30 PM, July 7th 4:30-10:30, PM July 10th-12th, 6:30-10:30 PM, July 15th, 4:30-10:30 PM
  • No cost unless you want to buy something like a piece of art or a personal poetry reading.