Imagine a space that allows for more theatre artists to create short bursts of brilliance and creativity.
Theatre artists recognize the immense power of the arts. Typically, theatre productions only allow for a small cast with long lead times. Many aspiring theatre artists don't get enough opportunities to practice their craft.
Theatre inspiraTO, the producers of the InspiraTO Ten-Minute Play Festival, offers more opportunities to artists to showcase their work in a shorter time frame; where artists can learn, explore and experiment; where they can be defiant to the forces that squash their creative ambition; where they can fire up their potential.
Theatre inspiraTO was registered as a not-for-profit corporation in February 2013 in the province of Ontario for the purpose of providing performance, theatre creation and education opportunities for aspiring artists.
Inspire audiences to awaken their imaginative spirit with an innovative ten-minute play festival
Elevate and showcase the power of the ten-minute play
Enable a fully integrated approach in training theatre artists in the ten-minute play format
Create an environment with more opportunities for artists to take part
Quality striving for excellence in the ten-minute play art form
Accessibility for a larger body of artists to participate
Boldness in theatre progamming and design
Learning culture creating innovative educational opportunities
Lasting partnerships with artistic organizations and communities
From small beginnings future seeds are planted
Theatre InspiraTO is the producer of the InspiraTO Festival, Canada's largest ten-minute play festival, launched in 2006 at the intimate Alchemy Theatre in Toronto. The festival founder and Artistic Director, Dominik Loncar, wanted to see if one could create quality theatre using the ten-minute play format. The response by audiences was overwhelming. What started off as a weekend trial run mushroomed into a festival that receives over 600 ten-minute play submissions annually with over 100 participating theatre artists.
How it works
Playwrights from the contest and playwriting program are given a creative challenge. The selected plays are then seen in groupings of 6-8 ten-minute plays in a show. The challenge is to maximize the set design with minimal set and prop disruption between plays. In 2009 Lumir Hladik was asked to join as Associate Artistic Director to create a unified set design and provide expertise to the visuals in the festival.
As the festival grew, there was a concerted effort to encourage theatre artists to participate in this new art form. In 2010, InspiraTO went into a partnership with Lisa O'Connell, Artistic Director of Pat the Dog, Ontario's Playwright's Centre. The InspiraTO festival has commissioned works with Pat the Dog playwrights and worked with their emerging writers. During the 6th festival, in 2011, a learning series was added to help theatre artists and audience members gain a greater understanding about the ten-minute play. Part of the learning series included guest theatre companies such as b current, Suitcase in Point and artists such as Tommy Taylor. During this period InspiraTO received grants from the Ontario Arts Council for Theatre Arts Projects.
The InspiraTO Festival is an opportunity for emerging artists; it’s an excellent way of introducing a large number of writers, actors and directors to an audience and to each other. For emerging actors it provides an excellent platform on which to practice their craft and to be seen. Writers have a greater chance of having their plays produced and have a unique opportunity to test drive their creativity. New directors have a chance to get their feet wet and the freedom to creatively explore a shorter script before tackling a full length play. The Festival is a chance for a multitude of artists to share in the spotlight and in the process the audience is exposed to a variety of new voices, ideas and perspectives.
An ideal environment for emerging playwrights
In the 7th season a Mentoring Project was added offering emerging playwrights a chance to work with dramaturges and theatre professionals. What became apparent was that by creating a learning environment for playwrights to write and see their ten-minute plays performed in a festival format playwrights gained valuable insight in the art of creating for the performing arts. The InspiraTO Festival continues to champion high quality ten-minute plays. The festival has been steadily developing a following by carefully nurturing and growing the festival's vision of producing high-quality ten-minute plays.
Over the last 14 years there have been over 4,000 ten-minute plays submitted and 250 ten-minute plays produced with over 5,000 audience members. Some of the plays produced have received further acclaim and have been developed and produced into full length plays (they include Vern Thiessen's Bungalow, Len Cuthbert's Delilah and Kate Fenton's Mister Baxter).
Theatre InspiraTO will showcase the best ten-minute plays from around the world alongside plays by emerging Canadian playwrights in a curated format. Emerging playwrights will participate in the highest quality workshops and hands-on experience that fosters their talents. Theatre InspiraTO will work to become a thriving creative hub in the Greater Toronto Area by attracting committed artists who are inspired to create authentic theatre. We will connect and work with a cross section of performing arts creators who extol and add valuable input to Theatre InspiraTO’s innovative-integrated approach in theatre arts education and production.