Vancouver Fringe Festival

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is an annual alternative theatre festival held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada established in 1985.[1] This event is organized and sponsored by the First Vancouver Theatrespace Society, a volunteer not-for-profit society. The festival is usually staged in September at a number of venues around the city. The most recent festival ran from September 10 to 20, 2015.[2]


The first Vancouver Fringe Festival was held in 1985. It was centred in Mount Pleasant and held its opening ceremonies in the parking lot of an IGA. The 220 performances were held in seven venues with 4,000 people in attendance—and only 25 volunteers helping out. Anchor venues in Mount Pleasant included the Western Front, Heritage Hall, and later, for the Fringe Bar, the Mount Pleasant Legion.[3]

In 1995, the festival relocated to Commercial Drive. The Fringe’s first home on the Drive was above the novelty shop where Havana Restaurant is located today. Known as the Production Palace, it was a hub for staff, volunteers, and others. At that time, the festival introduced "bring your own venue", in which performers stage performances at places other than those provided by the festival organizers.[3]

By 2001, the Fringe was primarily centralized on Granville Island. Its opening ceremony that year included a parade around the Island that went against the flow of one way traffic.[3]

The 2012 festival saw an improvised musical based on the works of William Shakespeare.[4] Increased professional standards have resulted in the Fringe introducing programs such as its "Dramatic Works Series".[1]

The Fringe employs an “everyone is welcome” selection technique—the Mainstage shows are literally drawn out of a hat, giving all artists, from novice to veteran, a chance to participate. Vancouver Fringe Festival Mainstage shows feature some of Vancouver’s best venues including the Revue Stage, Performance Works, and the Waterfront Theatre, all situated on and around Granville Island. The Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV) category allows artists to stage original work in unconventional placesThe Fringe strives to break down traditional boundaries and encourage open dialogue between audiences and artists by presenting live un-juried, uncensored theatre in an accessible and informal environment. All artists receive 100% of regular box office revenues generated during the Festival.[5]

Theatre Wire

Theatre Wire is a new initiative from the First Vancouver Theatrespace Society, who also produce the Vancouver Fringe Festival, in partnership with the Playwrights Theatre Centre and the See Seven Performing Arts Society.

Theatre Wire was created to facilitate connections between all the smaller theatre companies in Vancouver. Theatre Wire is a one-stop shop for independent theatre happenings.

In addition to selling tickets and subscriptions to shows, Theatre Wire is also a source for local theatre news, and produces articles about local performing arts history. They are also producing a video series with comedian Sara Bynoe (Say Wha?: Reading of Deliciously Rotten Writing) interviewing Vancouver’s theatre personalities, including the Georgia Straight’s theatre critic, Colin Thomas and 2015 Jessie Award winner Cameron Mackenzie (Ray Michal Prize for Most Promising New Director).

Funding for Theatre Wire has been provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Vancouver Foundation, and the British Columbia Arts Council.


  1. 1 2 Stuart Derdeyn (2014-09-02). "Vancouver Fringe Fest productions more polished, professional in 30th year". Vancouver Province. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
  2. Lieren-Young, Mark (September 4, 2013). "Best of the Vancouver Fringe Festival". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 "2009 Vancouver International Fringe Festival Program Guide". Issuu. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  4. "Bard on the Beach turns 25". WE Vancouver. June 20, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  5. "ABOUT THE FRINGE Vancouver Fringe Festival". Retrieved 2015-11-14.

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