press and testimonials

Press – Coming Soon!


“I was involved with the Toronto Cold Reads when Jane Spence launched it in 2003, actively promoted the Series to Toronto’s theatre artists throughout its existence and was a regular attendee. It was an invaluable resource for writers to have the opportunity to hear their works read out loud and receive feedback, for performers to have the opportunity of participating at the ground level in new work, and for audience members to contribute to the development of a theatrical piece. It also provided a regular gathering place for a community of theatre artists which has been greatly missed.  I am thrilled to hear that it is back.”
Derrick Chua, Producer, Studio 180 Theatre


“The Toronto Cold Reads was an INVALUABLE resource for me as an emerging writer in the city. I was able to hear my work read in front of an audience by incredibly talented actors – all for FREE – and was also lucky enough to win the Cold Reads’ juried contest for a Fringe slot with my play, “A Quiet Place” – which is how I got invited to be a part of Tarragon Theatre’s Playwrights Unit, which is where I wrote “Alias Godot” and had it produced, which led to them making me a Playwright in Residence, which led to my next play, “Wide Awake Hearts”, which just finished its Tarragon run! I can trace it all back to The Toronto Cold Reads. As I said, invaluable.”
Brendan Gall, Playwright in Residence, Tarragon Theatre


Without a doubt, the Toronto Cold Reads [formerly] at the Victory Cafe, run by the delightful Jane Spence, gave me my start as a playwright. It was there that I had my work read by professional actors for the first time; it was there that I learned to be brave enough to share scenes before I felt they were “ready”; and it was there that I met at least half of my closest friends! The series offers an invaluable opportunity to make contacts, self-impose deadlines, workshop scripts and see Jane Spence once a week (never a bad thing…)”
Kate Hewlett, Actress and Writer, Nominee for Governor General’s Award


“In the fall of 2003, I started attending the Toronto Cold Reads…I knew very few people in the room and was content to be an observer that first night. I was, however, drawn into service and read the role of a crotchety old woman in a bizarre comedy. By the time the Reads ended in 2006, it had become an integral part of my social and professional life. As a playwright, I loved seeing excerpts of my finished scripts and my works-in-progress interpreted by adventurous actors before a warm and enthusiastic audience. I also loved the Playwright’s Challenge where I had to come up with a twenty-minute script in one week. Creating something in such a short period of time forced me to trust my instincts and to push through any excuses and procrastination that are the bane of any writer…On the weeks when I did not have my writing presented…it was a joy to play characters of all ages, ethnicities and either gender in comedies, tragedies and everything in-between. Even the nights when I was simply an audience member were rewarding…If I did not like a particular piece, I knew that it would be over in twenty minutes or less. However, most of the work was top notch. It was a great testing ground for emerging writers in the city. I truly felt blessed to witness the beginning stages of work by Adam Pettle, Tara Beagan, Melissa Major, Kate Hewlett and Alison McWood, just to name a few. I still follow their careers and consider them as friends…I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and to also meet the “new crop” of writers and actors who will take part in this unique development and networking opportunity.
Marcia Johnson, Playwright, Paradises Lost (2013 SummerWorks)


“In 2004, I was a newcomer to Toronto. I had just moved from Edmonton, Alberta, and had very few connections to the local theatre scene. Luckily, I discovered Toronto Cold Reads. Every Monday night [at that time] it offered theatre creators a place to meet, network, and bounce new ideas around. It was a warm, supportive forum in which artists could throw freshly cooked ideas against the wall to see what stuck. It was a chance to hear your ideas out loud, and in front of a responsive, discerning audience. But maybe most importantly, it was a weekly excuse for many of us who did not primarily consider ourselves “writers” to sit down and WRITE something.
From a personal standpoint, TCR was instrumental in bringing to the stage two of the most successful indie productions I’ve been involved with: It was a key factor in the development of both Kate Hewlett’s “The Swearing Jar” and Brendan Gall’s “A Quiet Place”. Both of these shows went on to great critical and popular success, and both shows had TCR to thank for fostering a unique, peer-driven environment in which new artists can find an audience and a voice.
enthusiastically stand behind the re-launch of TCR. The community-building, artist-centred mandate makes it an ideal home for such a forum. I very much look forward to attending once again, and to seeing the exciting evolution of the Toronto Cold Reads.”

Christopher Stanton, Artistic Director, The Room

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