Learning and Fun

Learning and Fun – Professional Development at TOsketchfest19

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Learning and Fun – our Professional Development program – includes a series of free or low-cost learning events for sketch comedians! We invite our Festival performers and anyone who has an interest in writing and performing sketch comedy to attend these fun, comfortable and informative workshops and panels.

Thank you to our program sponsors The Second City Training Centre and The Humber School of Comedy for supporting the Learning and Fun Program, and our Industry Sponsor Don Ferguson Productions!

Learning and Fun Sponsors










Pitching for TV with Mark Little and Andy Bush
Sunday, March 10 4 – 6pm
The Theatre Centre Incubator, 1115 Queen Street West
Click here to purchase

Creators and stars of the new CBC comedy series Cavendish Mark Little and Andy Bush will host this workshop about how to pitch your television series idea! Learn everything from the steps on how to get a pitch meeting, what to expect when you walk in the room of executives, and how to accept and apply constructive criticism. Learn what needs to be included in your package and how to do those micro and macro edits to your script that might make all the difference! Walk away feeling inspired to get YOUR pitch package together!
Prerequisite: Sketch writing experience

Satire Writing with Sophie Kohn
Friday, March 15
4 – 6pm
The Second City Training Centre, 99 Blue Jays Way, 3rd Floor
Click here to purchase

Learn how to craft short written satirical pieces in the style of McSweeney’s, The Beaverton, Reductress, Walking Eagle News, Shouts and Murmurs, and The Onion. Explore the elements that make for powerful, funny, smart, and memorable humour writing. Students will have an opportunity to workshop their ideas and receive feedback.
Prerequisite: Sketch writing experience

Film Editing Workshop with Cameron Wyllie
Saturday, March 16
1 – 3pm
Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street
FREE – Limited Spots Available
Click here to register

Don’t have the equipment to make your sketch comedy shorts or web series? No sweat! The Toronto Public Library has a green screen, studio lighting kit, AV equipment and the editing programs you need to get your next comedy project shot and edited. This two hour practical workshop introduces you to the programs and resources TPL has available for artists like you (and it’s all FREE – with a library card). Also get a tutorial by a professional editor with years of experience in the comedy industry.
You don’t need a library card to sign up for this FREE workshop. But it is limited to 10 guests, so reserve your spot ASAP.
Prerequisite: No experience required

Performing with a Purpose with Alsa Bruno
Saturday, March 16
1 – 3pm
The Theatre Centre Incubator, 1115 Queen Street West
Click here to purchase

This workshop focuses on creating space to have the discussion around social issues, and gives practical feedback on how to write about and perform them. Learn the need for both caution and bravery, and the importance of trust and sensitivity. Learn how to manage both the delicate nature of sensitive topics and the brutality of truth with honesty, creativity, and freedom. From the silly to the serious, learn to express yourself safely to a public who is feeling uncertain of their own safety.
Prerequisite: Sketch / improv performance experience required  

News Segments with Paul Bellini
Sunday, March 17
The Theatre Centre Incubator, 1115 Queen Street West 
Presented by Humber School of Comedy
Learn to write newsdesk segments in the style of The Daily Show, The Beaverton, Full Frontal, Last Week Tonight or SNL’s Weekend Update. This workshop will include exercises on how to write biting jokes with a strong POV on contemporary world issues. Learn about the importance of timing, editing and how to keep things relevant. 
Taught by former This Hour Has 22 Minutes producer and writer Paul Bellini. 
Prerequisite: Sketch writing experience  


Learning and Fun TOsketchfest


Panels and Info Sessions

Accessibility in Comedy with Ophira Calof
Saturday, March 9
Crow’s Theatre, 345 Carlaw Avenue
Click here to register

Toronto is a very inaccessible city. Come learn and share your insights on how the comedy community is taking steps to make comedy accessible to all. We’ll be discussing accessible spaces, the benefits of a relaxed performance (and how to create one), and how to manage your audiences expectations. This info session is happening in a stair free facility with a fully accessible washroom.

The All Female Comedy Panel
Hosted by Michelle Daly with Teresa Pavlinek, Aurora Browne, Ann Pornel, Shari HollettAndrea Bang and Nicole Power 
Monday, March 11
The Theatre Centre Incubator, 1115 Queen Street West
Public: $10 / TOsketchfest Performers: FREE
Click here to register

Comedic characters don’t have to be one note. They can go on an emotional journey, discover things about themselves and be affected – bringing their character closer to the truth in comedy. TOSketchfest has gathered a panel of amazing female comedians to talk about the emotional depth, status shifts and motivations of characters in sketch and episodic comedy. Hear from stars of the Baroness von Sketch Show, The Jane Show, The Second City and more!  

State of the Union: Sketch Comedy
with Tom Hearn, DJ Mausner, Alia Rasul, TOsketchfest producers and more
Tuesday, March 12 at 7pm
The Theatre Centre Incubator, 1115 Queen Street West

Come be a part of the sketch community conversation. Come to share your experiences, feedback, challenges, successes and ideas. We’ve invited some special guest sketch comedians who have worked and performed on stages all over North America.

This is an opportunity to have your voice be heard.
This is a free event for all sketch comedians (and students of sketch comedy) to attend.

On The Road: Producing a Show in Edinburgh
Hosted by Ashley Comeau with Derrick Chua, Rebecca Kingsmill, Jordan Armstrong, Kevin Matviw
Saturday, March 16 4 – 6pm
The Theatre Centre Incubator, 1115 Queen Street West
Click here to register

Taking your comedy revue on the road? Learn the ins and outs of performing at the worlds largest Fringe Festival – Edinburgh. Hear from actors, writers and producers who have done it and lived to share their experiences.


Learn It All with the All Workshop Pass
$40 per person (incl. HST)

The All Workshop Pass gives you access to every class in the Workshop Series – a great deal if you are planning on attending three or more sessions. Purchase an All Workshop Pass and we’ll get in touch with you to confirm which classes you would like to attend. If you need to change your schedule, that’s fine, just give us 24 hours notice so we can open the space in the class to someone on the waiting list.

The Pass gives you access the following classes:

  • Pitching for T.V with Andy Bush and Mark Little – Sunday, March 10
  • The All Female Comedy Panel Hosted by Michelle Daly – Monday, March 11
  • Second City Presents: Satire Writing with Sophie Kohn – Friday, March 15
  • Performing with a Purpose with Alsa Bruno – Saturday, March 16

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All Workshop Pass
Tickets: $40 (+HST and fees)
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Learning and Fun Scholarships

TOsketchfest aims to keep our Professional Development Program inclusive. As such, a limited number of scholarships are available. If the registration cost is a barrier to participation, please fill out the Scholarship Form.