Glendon Fridge Festival marks 20 years of provocative student theatre

Starting today and running until Saturday, April 8, Theatre Glendon will present its annual bilingual showcase of student work – the Fridge Festival. Of the 15 shows offered in the festival, all are student-acted, directed and produced. All but three are written by York students. This year’s Fridge marks 20 years of provocative student theatre, which started long before Glendon’s thriving Drama Studies program even existed. What began as an open mike evening of improvisation, skits and song in the early 1980s has grown into the current dynamic fringe festival format.

Right and below: Images from last year’s Fridge Festival

After 1986, when Drama Studies became a major within the Multidisciplinary Studies program and students were participating in theatrical activities at Glendon, the Fridge featured more diverse and provocative content including plays by published playwrights, new work and original solos. By the mid-1990s, the Fridge was well established as the most successful event in Theatre Glendon’s season and was soon expanded to three nights to accommodate the rise in student interest.

Drama Studies became its own degree-granting program in 1996 and has since experienced phenomenal growth, with over 50 students now pursuing an ordinary or honours degree in the field. As the program grew in size, it attracted more serious students for whom the Fridge provided an important opportunity to independently develop and produce their own work. Since 1999, students have been offered the opportunity of curating the event themselves, and, with each successive year, they have introduced innovations to the structure and significance of the festival as it continues to evolve.

The Fridge remains satirical, irreverent and provocative and it still excites enthusiasm, controversy and a heady rush of creativity. In effect, it has become an important showcase of student work that highlights the creative energy of Glendon students, whether they work within Drama Studies or not. According to Professor Robert Wallace, coordinator of the Drama Studies program, today’s Fridge “presents much more challenging, if not polished work. It maintains the goals of the original events in as much as it gives students free reign to develop their own ideas and put to use the skills and information they are learning in their courses. Ultimately, it demonstrates the viability and vitality of student-generated and produced theatre. It’s a wonderful tribute to the cultural prosperity of Glendon.”

To make reservations, call 416-487-6822. Check the Theatre Glendon booking calendar for a complete listing and showtimes or drop by the York Hall box office.