Operation Sunshine – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

From the press release:

Operation SUNshine is a solo dark comedy and coming-of-age story about the time playwright Jennifer McKinley rescued 179 SUNshine Girls from the dank basement of her childhood home.

As a child, McKinley watched as ‘Wild’ Bill, her father’s basement boarder, wallpapered his bathroom with SUNshine Girls, cutouts of models who posed for the tabloid newspaper, the Toronto SUN.

After her father’s death, McKinley cleaned out the family home. From the removal process of this DIY wallpaper came the impetus for Operation SUNshine. Found material, images of SUNshine Girls and the news stories on their reverse sides, provides entry to a foreboding world that spirals downward as personal and collective revelations increase in intensity. The show puts a feminist spin on the media’s representation of women, toxic masculinity, sites of danger and children in peril.

Operation SUNshine began as a short story and morphed into a full-length theatrical performance. It was first presented at CRAPSHOOT! (After Hours at Theatre Passe Muraille) and further developed for its return to the same cabaret stage one month later. Additional stories were written and performed at Artscape Gibraltar Point during the 2016 Feminist Art Conference residency. One of those stories, ‘Benji Hayward’, was recorded for Expect Theatre’s PlayME podcast. A rehearsal script was completed during a series of corporeal workshops with director Clara McBride and dramaturge Carolyn Zapf, with support from the Toronto Arts Council’s Playwrights Program.

Operation SUNshine would not exist in its current form without the opportunities for collaboration provided by the Alumnae Theatre Company. Jennifer McKinley is the writer and performer of Operation SUNshine. She is one of the artistic directors of Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival and a lead coordinator of the Feminist Art Conference. Jennifer has performed at clown, sketch comedy and storytelling events throughout Toronto and beyond. In 2014 she produced Jacqueries, Part 1 (Jacob Niedzwiecki/SummerWorks), which received the Buddies In Bad Times Vanguard Award For Risk And Innovation. Director Clara McBride worked as a theatre and film artist in Paris for 17 years, where she specialized in Mask, Physical Theatre and Improvisation. Since returning to Canada, she has directed for the Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival and for Ovation! Performing Arts. She is currently guest faculty at the Ryerson School of Performance and co-producer of their New Voices Festival. Clara teaches at the Second City Training Centre and performs regularly in French with the Improbables at Bad Dog Theatre. She debuted at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2015 as a storyteller in The Dinner Table (Fail Better Theatre). This summer, catch a glimpse of Toronto in the 1980s and 1990s from the perspective of a young girl with a warped imagination.

Jennifer McKinley in association with The Toronto Fringe Festival presents Operation SUNshine

written and performed by Jennifer McKinley
directed by Clara McBride
set and lighting design by Joe Pagnan
stage managed by Helin Gungoren



  • Operation SUNshine plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina Ave.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Sexual Content, Mature Language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. After the building’s business hours, a staff member will need to escort you through this route, so plan to arrive early for evening shows.


  • Friday July 7th, 01:00 pm
  • Saturday July 8th, 05:15 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 08:30 pm
  • Tuesday July 11th, 04:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 09:15 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 05:45 pm
  • Saturday July 15th, 11:00 pm

Photo by Lana Missen