What to Expect at… the 2022 Next Stage Festival

A reimagining of the program image for the 2022 Next Stage Theatre Festival. A blue butterfly flies up towards the left corner of the page.

Looking for information about your favourite theatres? We’ve got you covered! Intermission’s Insider Intel articles showcase one theatre at a time to give you all the information you need before your visit.

This week: Toronto Fringe Festival’s 2022 Next Stage Theatre Festival

What is the Next Stage Theatre Festival?

Each January since 2008, the Next Stage Theatre Festival has offered performance lovers an intimate, cozy festival experience. Next Stage is the curated sister event of the summer Fringe, where approximately 10 shows are programmed by a jury of industry professionals. Next Stage artists are on the cutting edge of “indie” theatre and are creating urgent, exciting work. Patrons can expect to see artists at Next Stage who are about to hit the mainstream – Next Stage artists frequently break out into CBC, Mirvish, Broadway or Netflix hits within a year or two of appearing at the festival.

The slogan for the 2020 Next Stage Theatre Festival was “theatre with 20/20 vision,” a nod to the new decade and the various explorations and discussions created by the artists in the festival. It saw the highest audience capacities of all time, with shows in the Studio Theatre selling at 93% capacity, and shows in the Mainspace Theatre selling at 65%. Next Stage continues to offer independent artists and companies the opportunity to connect with audiences through a wide variety of artistic mediums, continually returning and transforming to suit the times. There’s something for everyone in this year’s exceptionally strong and eclectic mix of artists and shows: humour, music, innovation, and vulnerability from artists with strong and clear voices, who are ready for their next stage.

What kind of theatre can you expect?

The 15th iteration of the Next Stage Theatre Festival has gone Digital!

The 2022 Next Stage Theatre Festival will present exciting and expansive digital offerings, including dance, musical theatre, gaming, stand-up comedy, traditional theatre and more. Next Stage welcomes a curious audience who are ready for fun, satirical and challenging shows with themes around identity, aging, and desire.

Where can you watch the shows?

Previously planned as a hybrid in-person and digital festival, the Festival will now be completely online in compliance with the Government of Ontario’s recent move to Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. Find the full schedule and purchase tickets here.

Tickets prices

Tickets are $15, and festival passes are available for $50. For more information on how to buy passes and individual show tickets, check the festival website.


Next Stage is committed to making their events as accessible as possible, with a variety of features to allow all audiences to enjoy this year’s digital offerings.

  • Transcripts: Audio pieces are accompanied by PDF transcript documents that are compatible with screen-readers
  • Captions: Live digital events will have auto-transcribed captioning. Pre-recorded videos will have Closed Captions
  • Screen Readers: All published PDFs will adhere to best practices for accessibility and will be compatible with screen-readers

Some shows in the series offer additional access options. To learn more about Accessibility at Next Stage and the Toronto Fringe Fringe, visit the Access Measures page on their website.

Artists you might recognise

The Next Stage Theatre Festival will feature many notable artists and companies across various artistic disciplines. Stand-Comedy Night will feature Juno Award nominee Monty Scott. Award-winning dance company PointeTango heats up the screen with Tango in the Dark featuring music from Payadora Tango Ensemble. For a complete overview of this year’s offerings, visit the festival website.

Workshops and Classes

The Next Stage Theatre Festival offers two exciting workshop opportunities for youths:

  • Raising the Curtain: How to Craft a Career in the Arts
  • No Pressure Networking

Both programs offer a low-pressure, educational environment for young artists and arts lovers to learn more about the industry and deepen their appreciation of the arts! Register for the free digital programs here.

This year’s festival:

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Written By

Jessica is a former associate editor at Intermission, as well as a writer, classically-trained actor, and plant enthusiast. Since graduating from LAMDA in the UK with her MA in acting, you can often find her writing screenplays and short plays in the park, writing extensive lists of plant care tips, or working on stage and screen (though she uses a stage name). Jessica freelances with various companies across Canada, but her passion lies in working with theatre artists and enthusiasts.