A Festival No Longer on the Fringe

A Festival No Longer on the Fringe

By: David Swanson
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When the summer season is concluding and the foliage begins to turn shades of sunset and amber, we know that autumn is near and for many of us the heavy course loads return.  Before we begin to process theoretical principles and hand in poorly written essays, why not enjoy Vancouver’s annual theatrics.  The Vancouver International Fringe Festival, performed from September 9th -19th, is North America’s most internationally participated Fringe Fest and BC’s largest theatrical event.  It attracts nearly 30,000 attendees and over 600 performances, ranking as one of Vancouver’s best Arts Festivals.

The mission of the Fringe Festival is to harbour the process of theatrical production.  It is intended to aid people and their creativity, offering them an outlet to perform artworks that would otherwise not be granted exposure or recognition.  Applications for participation in Fringe Fest are accepted in a non-juried lottery allowing for a wide variety of performances to be available.  Using this means of selection it is assured that the artists are chosen using a somewhat random method, ensuring equal opportunity and a fair selection procedure.  100% of the box-office generated revenues go directly to the festival artists ensuring they are recognized for their talents.  The payment and selection methods minimize barriers to entry into the contest; effectively eliminating monetary forces that would keep less profitable acts from entering the festival.  This is a testament to the Festivals mission to elevate theatrical artistry, valuing the authenticity of performance and performer over economic incentives.

Performances occur on main stage venues all over Vancouver, including the New Revue Stage, Performance Works, and the Waterfront Theatre, all of which are located around Granville Island.  Artists are also allowed to bring their own venue, which has resulted in plays being performed in interesting and unique places like cars, fire escapes, and parks.  The Fringe Fest encourages open dialogue between spectators and actors, wishing to eliminate the traditional boundaries of classical productions.  All performances are uncensored and displayed in a contextual setting of the performer’s choice.  The Fringe Fest hopes that fewer boundaries will breed a culture of creativity in Vancouver while expanding the scope of the talent for future Fringe Festivals.

As of right now the Fringe Fest is looking for people to host an international artist.  Their Host an Artist program asks local theatre lovers to host an artist in their home during the duration of the Festival.  This entails providing them with a place to sleep, in exchange the host receives an all access unlimited pass to all performances at this years Vancouver Fringe Festival.  If you wish to host an artist, purchase a ticket or donate to the Fringe Festival, please visit www.vancouverfringe.com or join their Facebook group for more information.

David Swanson

Posted on September 01, 2010