Edmonton International Fringe Festival
|Edmonton International Fringe Festival|
|Genre||Fringe Theatre Festival|
2013: August 15 to August 25|
2014: August 14 to August 24
2015: August 13 to August 23
2016: August 11 to August 21
|Years active||1982 – present|
|Edmonton International Fringe Festival|
The Edmonton International Fringe Festival is an annual arts festival held every August in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Produced by the Fringe Theatre Adventures (FTA), it is the oldest and largest fringe theatre festival in North America. The Edmonton Fringe is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals.
Over 800 performers take part in more than 200 shows at the festival each year. The fringe festival is the largest in North America based on indoor ticket sales. In 2014, 118,280 tickets were sold, up from 117,000 in 2013. The 2014 event had over 210 shows and 1,600 performances, with an estimated outdoor site attendance of 665,750. In 2016, the attendance rate reached a record breaking high of 850,000+ attendees.
In 1982, Chinook Theatre's artistic director Brian Paisley received $50,000 from Edmonton's Summerfest to put together "A Fringe Theatre Event" in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona District. Inspired by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Scotland, the Edmonton Fringe (the first in North America) offered 200 live performances in five theatre venues.
The festival itself takes place in Old Strathcona which has a number of permanent theatres (the Westbury Theatre and PCL Theatre in the ATB Financial Arts Barns, the Walterdale Playhouse, the Varscona Theatre, Catalyst Theatre, etc.) and a number of other venues (Acacia Hall, King Edward Academy, etc.) which are converted by FTA into temporary theatres to host theatre companies. During the festival, the streets and alleys of the neighbourhood are also filled with street performers and masked or costumed actors promoting their plays.
Unlike the Edinburgh Festivals, where artists are responsible for finding and running their own venues, the Edmonton Fringe implements a system in which for a relatively low application fee, the festival provides artists with a venue, a set number of performances, two technicians, and front-of-house and ticketing services and general festival marketing. Artists may also arrange for their own performance space independently as a "Bring Your Own Venue" or BYOV, similar to the Edinburgh Fringe model.
Admittance for performers to the festival is determined by application to a lottery held each November. The emphasis is on theatre, but performances can and do feature almost every form of art and entertainment. In addition to the hundreds of national and international artists who travel from around the world to bring their shows to the Edmonton Fringe, there are also hundreds of local performers who participate each year. Many of the local performers have been with the festival since the early years. Performers such as Ken Brown, local magician Ron Pearson, Rapid Fire Theatre, Die-Nasty, Teatro la Quindicina, Panties Productions, Mump and Smoot, The Wombats, Ribbit Productions, The Dan Show, Nikolai, Ryan Stock of Insane Entertainment, Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie and Tim Waterson have appeared at the festival regularly.
- "2011 Volunteer PSA" (PDF). Fringe Theatre Adventures. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
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- "Festival Program Guide Ad Rate Sheet" (PDF). Fringe Theatre Adventures. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
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- "33rd Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival Wrap Up!" (PDF). Fringe Theatre Adventures. August 24, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
- "Fringe Theatre Adventures Historical Timeline". Fringe Theatre Adventures. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- Paul Matwychuk (April 15, 2011). "On the Fringe of Edmonton". Canadian Geographic Travel.
- Belanger, Joe (June 3, 2013). "The multifaceted thespian is involved in four productions, including two as an actor, at this Fringe Festival". The London Free Press. Retrieved November 14, 2014.