This week, an explosion of performance artists from around the world will take over the Firehall and other downtown theatre venues for Vancouver’s biggest theatre festival. It’s Fringe time! There are six Fringe shows on at the Firehall from September 5 to 15 – read more about them here.
The Fringe is always a wonderfully serendipitous theatre-going experience, as all artists are selected by lottery and often you won’t have the slightest idea who many of them are (all part of the fun!). This does make it somewhat baffling negotiating the program guide and choosing what to see from the theatrical smorgasbord of 90 different shows on offer.
To help you get into intrepid Fringing mode, we asked some artists who will be performing in our season and are well versed in the ways of the Fringe what their top tips are for getting the most out of the festival and what shows they are looking forward to.
Bruce Horak, who you may recall from his brilliant show This is CANCER!, a few years back, has been selling out shows across the Canadian Fringe circuit this summer with Assassinating Thomson and will be performing the show here in October.
Top Fringing tip:
Get out and see shows! Chat with people in line and make personal connections with potential audiences. Word of mouth is essential and having a personal connection goes a long way to drawing people in to your show.
What shows am I looking forward to most at this year’s Fringe:
Tara Travis’ show “Searching for Dick”
Ryan Gladstone and Jon Paterson in “Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub”
Zeb West in “Innocent When You Dream”
Fringe legend and master monologist TJ Dawe has toured Fringe festivals across North America for many years and is returning to the Firehall this season with his hit show Medicine.
Top Fringing tip:
Talk to people in whatever line-up you’re standing in. Let the word of mouth spread. When performers come to flyer you for their show, ask them questions. See how interesting or funny their responses are. If they catch your interest, give ’em a chance. See their show. Being surprised by someone whose work you don’t know is a great pleasure.
What show am I looking forward to most at this year’s Fringe:
Wolf Trek: Alone in the Woods, written and performed by Kevin Kennedy. How do I know this show’s going to be good? Because I dramaturged it. Kevin’s got a fascinating story to tell, about a three week solo hike he did in the NWT. He’s also a relative newcomer to the fringe circuit, so his work will be a surprise to a lot of people. Which, as I mentioned, is a particularly enjoyable part of fringing.
The Vancouver International Fringe Festival runs September 5-15. Check out vancouverfringe.com for full details on shows. You can also see the lineup of fantastic shows gracing the Firehall stage here.