Trini brings For Better or Worse to Fringe Fest

Undoubtedly for the better, Trini Steven Edwards’ production of For Better or Worse is migrating here for the Toronto Fringe Festival.

A love story that explores married and single life, asking if love if a feeling or a choice, the show will join an eclectic mix of indie theatre July 1 to 12.

Edwards, founder and creative director of Trinidad and Tobago-based Steven Edwards Productions, began his creative journey in his home country and has gone on to make an impact globally.

A finalist in the 2014 Commonwealth Youth Workers Award for the Caribbean region, with his most outstanding work being the For Better or Worse production, Edwards was bestowed the Chief within the Ark accolade by Empress Sheba KasambuSai Ra III, Queen of the Nubian Nations and the African Federation of Kingdom.

He says he is a strong believer that “everyone has a special gift and talent just waiting to be discovered and once tapped, nothing can get in your way.” His philosophy dovetails with the festival’s credo that it’s about celebrating under-represented voices and those on the margins of the performing arts world.

“It’s a festival where anyone can put on any show, without having to pass through a jury,” festival organizers say.

Edwards not only writes and directs his own plays but also acts in them. He still teaches drama classes today and from what started as a hobby Steven Edwards Productions is now a successful company that goes beyond providing entertainment to the masses.

Known as a talented director, producer and scriptwriter of several plays and screen productions, Edwards is also recognized for his pioneering work. For example, he launched the Act it Out Theater Festival, the first festival of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago. It presented five productions in five nights, all staged by one company. The festival was a major hit and was later dubbed “5 Plays in 5 Days” by the media.

His productions during the festival brought together people from all walks of life in Trinidad and Tobago. “A positive message was found in every play, whether it had a theatrical, sentimental, or hilarious theme,” he says.

Founded in 2009, Steven Edwards Productions is headquartered in Arima and “helps youngsters express their feelings to the world around them through the performing arts.

“People aged three to 35 years are encouraged to see the production house as a safe haven where they’re free to express themselves creatively without fear of reproach in an environment that brings out the uniqueness, strengths, and talents of each individual.”

The organization, initially established to save youths at risk of falling into the drug trafficking, illegal arms, and commercial sex trade, has gone from strength to strength. It now inspires thousands of people from all walks of life, Edwards says, helping them discover their talents to make a positive impact on society.

Toronto Fringe Festival began in 1989 and typically features more than 150 shows in 30 or more venues with a total of more than 1,100 performances. While it’s a theatre festival, the Fringe also includes dance, visual art, buskers, site-specific performances and more.

Maximum ticket price is $12; kids’ tickets are $5. However, the Fringe Club, the outdoor festival headquarters at 581 Bloor St. W. behind Honest Ed’s, features free programming. Information on ticketing and show listings including venues is available at www.fringetoronto.com.

For Better or Worse is to be performed at Taragon Theatre Mainspace on July 1 at 10:30 p.m., July 3 at 3 p.m., July 6 at 8 p.m., July 7 at 3 p.m., July 9 at 7:30 p.m., July 10 at 8:45 p.m. and July 12 at 12 p.m.