Theatre Adventures (Fringe Festival)

When I was a kid my siblings and I used to love running around the department store, hiding from our mom, pretending we were ninjas, royalty, spacemen, and all kinds of other imaginary characters.

At the time, it made sense to shuffle through the crowd of shoppers and challenge our mother’s patience, but as we grew up we started to challenge that creative energies into various pursuits. I was interested in drawing and video, Ryan was excited about music and drama, Katrina was a poet and a piano player, and Neil was a lover of comedy and performance.

We didn’t know it at the time, but Neil was eventually going to participate in something much larger than himself, and become a member of a society of performance artists where his love of comedy and acting would make perfect sense for him. And now he is a regular on the Fringe circuit.

What the heck is Fringe timotheories?

The Surrey With The Fringe On Top

Well, every summer during the month of August a group of artists, performers, and curators get together to organize an international event that hosts over 800 creative types in something north of 200 shows across a 10 day period. That event is known as the Edmonton International Fringe Festival or simply Fringe for short. It is quite seriously the oldest and largest fringe theatre festival in all of North America.

It takes place in the heart of Old Strathcona and features a chain of participating permanent theatres of the area. For instance, The ATB Arts Barns, The Walterdale Playhouse, the Varscona Theatre, and the Catalyst Theatre are all staples of the event, but neighborhood churches and restaurants like El Cortez take on their share of performers in the system – which is designed to provide artists with a venue, technicians and ticketing services, all in all a great opportunity for those types of artists to get some more exposure.

The major goal of the festival is to promote theatre, but all kinds of artists put in bids to participate in the festival via the lottery system. Which is why the crowd is always so diverse every year, you aren’t guaranteed the same set of performers every year. The second goal of fringe is to promote the spontaneity available in exploring the festival and trying out all kinds of shows. There are festival guides available for purchase, show listings online and at the the venue ticket stations, and of course, festival maps to help you find your way.

The Edmonton International Fringe Festival can be found all throughout the Old Strathcona area from August 11-21 inclusive. Consider taking public transportation to get there as parking is limited and the streets will be PACKED! And if you want to check out my brother’s show, it’s called Drinking In America, presented by Ronin Theatre, and takes place at The Backstage Theatre. I’ve dropped the link for you here.

That’s all I’ve got for the week my friends, I hope you have an excellent weekend and I’ll see you on Sunday with a new Cross Talk episode!


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