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Deneh’Cho Thompson won the 2016 Fringe New Play Prize from Playwrights Theatre Centre (PTC). His win means that his Fringe artist fees are waived. Moreover, he will be working with PTC’s dramaturg, Kathleen Flaherty on the development of his show, The Girl Who Was Raised by Wolverine. Deneh will be drawing upon traditional Wolverine tales of the Dene people, which is the focus of his first blog post detailing the development of his show.
I am a mixed race Dené man, raised in a white middle class neighbourhood. I grew up on a mix of powwows and ‘90s gamer culture. I maintain a degree of traditional practice, yet have never visited my traditional territories. It is this internal conflict that is the central exploration of this work.
Read his full blog post here.
Canada has 12.7 million volunteers—900,000 of which volunteer for arts and culture organizations—and this is the week to thank them! National Volunteer Week began in 1943 as a way to thank women for their efforts during WWII. Since then, the Week has expanded to become the largest celebration of civic participation in Canada.
The Fringe community is lucky enough to have over 500 volunteers who dedicate their time to make the Festival both fun and functional. In 2015, we estimated that those volunteers donated nearly 12,000 hours! Fringe volunteers tell us that they choose to volunteer for the Festival because they want to support arts and culture in Vancouver, they love theatre, and because volunteering is a great way to meet like minded individuals.
We’ll be recruiting volunteers for the 2016 Festival in June, so stay tuned for the call out!
In the meantime, we want to thank everyone who dedicated time to the Fringe. There’s no way the Festival could happen without you!!
Shear Comfort also wants to thank you! In 2014, Shear Comfort joined the Fringe to support the Volunteer Program. Their contribution has helped fund volunteer perks like t-shirts and training day BBQs, as well as the purchase of volunteer coordination software—all of this helping the Festival run smoothly. We’re happy to announce that Shear Comfort is back for 2016!
While Shear Comfort’s focus is obviously their custom-made seat covers for cars and trucks, they also have a soft side for contributing to their community. In addition to helping the Fringe, Shear Comfort offers a scholarship for students studying Automotive Technology and similar fields. They support Canadian and US active-duty military personnel and veterans with an extra discount. They also donate $1 to the BC SPCA from each online order of their seat covers to provide animals in need with care and protection.
Thanks Shear Comfort! And thanks to everyone who volunteers, be they Fringe volunteers, or volunteers for other organizations. The world needs you!
It’s lovely to have a cup of tea with a friend. But when you have a cup with James & Jamesy, sometimes the fourth wall breaks, tea starts to flood the world, and you have to take part!
James & Jamesy’s High Tea opens tomorrow at Studio 1398 on Granville Island. This show sold out its run at the 2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival and is now back for a limited run.
Hailed as “a child’s imagination on steroids” by The London Free Press and “complete and utter fun” by the CBC, critics rave over the charismatic James & Jamesy. The unstoppable duo has been named Best of Fest (Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Toronto), Most Outstanding Show (London), Best Comedy (Victoria), Patrons’ Pick (London), and Best Script (Montreal), among many other accolades.
If you are great with people, consider applying to become our Assistant Volunteer Coordinator!
Reporting to the Audience Services Manager, the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator supports the recruitment, assignment, management, and training of 500+ volunteers who make the Fringe happen. The person in this position also takes the lead in coordinating the Volunteer Centre, including planning volunteer appreciation initiatives. This is a full-time seasonal position, beginning on May 9, 2016 and ending on October 6, 2016. Read more here!
Love the Fringe? Show your love by helping us find new board members for the Vancouver Fringe Board of Directors!
You’ll get to see behind the curtain and help the Fringe operate, grow, and thrive. If you’ve got marketing, fundraising, HR skills, governance and board experience, or small business experience we want to hear from you! We are looking for two new people to strengthen the current board.
If you or someone you know is interested in this awesome opportunity to embrace the arts please email jim.sibley[at]gmail.com.
As the Festival fast approaches we’ll be looking to fill more roles, please check our Work With Us page often, as well as follow us (@VancouverFringe) on social media to be the first to know!
A Good Mother
A script-in-hand staging featuring Fringe artists Kaitlin Williams and Eleanor Felton.
A child is left alone in a parked car outside a grocery store. One good mother’s sacrifice sets everyone’s lives on a new course, bringing into question what is right, what is good, and what is allowed.
Small Stage: Salon Series
April 21 & May 12
The Emerald Room
Dances for a Small Stage is starting a new project that explores trans-cultural contemporary art through collaboration with the aim of celebrating unique Canadian culture by using a diverse range of traditional practices. For April 21, the theme will be “juxtapose” and on May 12, the theme will be “reconstruct.” Join them at the Emerald Room for a food, tempting drinks, and new ideas!
We know you love emerging artists and that’s what rEvolver is all about! In addition to some Fringe alumni (rice & beans theatre, Christine Quintana, and probably a few more), you can see The New Conformity! If you missed The New Conformity at the 2015 Fringe, where it won the Joanna Maratta Award, this is your chance to see this “clever and compelling” (Times Colonist) juggling show that breaks any notions you have of what juggling is.
PAL Studio Theatre
When Olivia loses control at her 50th birthday, her best friends decide to intervene. But is she the only one battling a demon or does each of these women face an addiction of one kind or another? 5 @ 50 is a raw and darkly comedic portrayal of women in mid life. It is also a bold examination of addiction and intervention, and of the friendships we can’t live without.
You wouldn’t expect that the men behind James & Jamesy used to create visual effects for film or hold a business degree, but until Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles took on performance full time, that’s just what they did.
Aaron, a.k.a. James, worked long hard hours in front of a computer creating visual effects, but he didn’t like it all that much. He wanted to do something different. He was also a swing dancer and was asked to take part in the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret’s Hard Times Hit Parade (along with Alastair) in 2011. He didn’t have a lot of performance experience and while preparing for the show, Aaron was encouraged to take clown training.
“I discovered that I had repressed so much,” Aaron says of his first experiences clowning. “It allowed for a big emotional expression. And I’ve never looked back. I just wanted to do it more and more!”
Following their studies with David MacMurray Smith, Aaron and Alastair joined other graduates and formed the clown troupe Poupon Parade to delve deeper into the work. During one exercise, each performer had to switch characters rapidly until the remaining group selected one that they were excited to see on stage. Alastair flipped thorough characters and when he presented a quirky and lanky Brit whose embellishments to each movement added an absurdist flare, the group cried out “That one!”
When Aaron went to the front of the group however, none of his overly physical characters were getting a response. Feeling defeated, he took himself out of the game for a moment. He gently stood there, clearly showing a desire for approval, and the group selected this straight man character, taking him completely by surprise.
The two paired up and were tasked with creating an improvised scene with these new characters. Already having established British accents, it was only logical that a tea party would follow—and James & Jamesy were born. The duo extended their creation for a piece in Poupon Parade’s cabaret show, held at the ANZA Club, but they didn’t want it to end there.
“As an artist, the best way to hang out with people you love is to work with them on a creative project—because then hanging out becomes compulsory.” Alastair says, hence the pair working together and taking James & Jamesy on the Fringe circuit, where they received rave reviews.
The duo uses their clown training both on and off stage. “We play with accents and extended characters in day to day life and in the rehearsal setting,” Alastair explains. “British accents seem to be a staple of that exploration… it’s fun to play with the ‘properness’ of Brits and it’s our favourite way to engage with potential audience members when flyering at Fringe Festivals.” While using his accent, Alastair met his partner in Montreal—and a whole year passed before she realized he wasn’t actually British!
“We’re not trying to pull a fast one,” Aaron elaborates, going on to explain that they were inspired by Die Roten Punkte, who they believed were German until learning that the comedians are actually Australian. “They are being so audacious and it pumped us up to do it too!”
“Audiences like how we straddle that absurdity on and off stage,” Alastair explained. And they want to have fun with their audiences. “Everyone can be on board like a child. Each performance is an opportunity to play with an audience. It’s a shared experience.”
Leave your inhibitions behind and play with James & Jamesy at High Tea, April 12-17 at Studio 1398. Get your tickets at TheatreWire.com.
“How do I get the media to cover my show?”
“How do I write a press release?”
“If I only spend money on one publicity tactic, what should it be?”
These questions and more will be answered by Deb Pickman at Hot Copy: a Publicity Workshop for Fringe Artists and Creative Types on Tuesday, May 3 at the Big Rock Urban Brewery & Eatery Boardroom from 7-9:00pm.
Following the workshop, you’re invited to stay for networking with your fellow artists, as well as Deb in the Lounge—where it’ll be Happy Hour and you can get $10 pizzas and beverages starting at just $3!
Deb is a Fringe veteran who co-created, performed in, and publicized noted and notorious Festival hits for over a decade before going on to become a specialist in publicizing the arts. In addition to being the Communications and Marketing Manager for the Arts & Culture District at UBC, Deb is co-artistic director and ensemble member of the Vancouver theatre company shameless hussy productions.
This workshop is free for artists participating in the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival and $10 for everyone else. Please RSVP to publicity[at]vancouverfringe.com as space is limited. Unfortunately the Boardroom is not wheelchair accessible, however the Lounge is.
Ever since its inception in 1961, theatre lovers around the world celebrate World Theatre Day on March 27! The International Theatre Institute (ITI), which created World Theatre Day, is an NGO tied to UNESCO and was officially inaugurated during the meeting of its first World Congress in Prague, 1948. The ITI’s main objectives are “to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in the domain of the performing arts” and “to stimulate creation and increase cooperation among theatre people.”
Many organizations put on special events and a special message is created by a well known theatre maker. This year’s message comes from the Russian stage director Anatoli Vassiliev. Part of his message says:
Theatre can tell us everything.
How the gods dwell in heaven, and how prisoners languish in forgotten caves underground, and how passion can elevate us, and how love can ruin, and how no one needs a good person in this world, and how deception reigns, and how people live in apartments, while children wither in refugee camps, and how they all have to return back to the desert, and how day after day we are forced to part with our beloveds—theatre can tell everything.
Anatoli isn’t the only one who’s created a message for World Theatre Day. There’s also a Canadian World Theatre Day message, this time written by Sky Gilbert, the co-founder and Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times for 18 years. Sky’s message points out how attending live theatre is different than going to a movie or watching stuff online. He says:
Then, out of panic, you find yourself thinking about the play. You realize that it not only made you think—it made you feel, too. And then you realize it made you… gosh… you don’t know what’s going on! There’s a tingle running up your spine. And it’s very odd… as if… as if… as if you are thinking and feeling at the same time!
If theatre can tell us everything and make us think and feel at the same time—that is certainly a source of world knowledge.
How are you celebrating World Theatre Day?
Red paper hearts and glittery love made their way into the mailboxes of a special group of Fringe Lovers this past Valentines. The Fringe totally has a crush on these people who make the Festival possible in a substantial way. They invest in the Festival with their donations to ensure that it continues with its mission to cultivate artists and audiences to create an open and vibrant independent theatre community. They hold a very special place in all of our hearts.
This year Fringe Lovers covered the basic costs of over 70% of Mainstage performances—more than ever before! We want to thank them, and all the people who contribute to making the Fringe possible: volunteers, artists, billet hosts, and each one of you who introduces someone new to the Festival each year. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Are you sad you missed out on getting real mail in your mailbox? Do you love the Festival and want to make sure it keeps creating opportunities for emerging artists? You can help build the Fringe community into something strong and long-lasting right now… AND become a Fringe hero, too! And keep an eye out for our annual fundraising campaign, Spring for the Fringe, this May! We love you guys!last year’s Raffle?… or maybe you had your eye on that electric bicycle? Ok, if you’re like many, you wanted BOTH!
Having supported the Raffle since its start, few companies are as important to the fundraising that drives your Festival as Motorino. Returning for another year, Motorino is rolling out brand new electric scooters and bikes just in time for Spring!
We thought it’d be fun to ask YOU which model or models (new or old) you’d like to see in this year’s Raffle. Let us know the model numbers of your choice or choices by email and you can win two tickets to the 2016 Festival!
Seven plays, just 10 minutes each! Filled with familiar Fringe faces and names (Pippa Mackie, Melissa Oei, Sean Harris Oliver, Mack Gordon, Keara Barnes) and many other notable Vancouver theatre folks, make up the team presenting short plays that range from meeting a psycho party animal while on vacation, to a futuristic matriarchal society, to saving homeless heroes.
The Laramie Project
March 29- April 3
When Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die outside of Laramie, Wyoming, the horror of the event woke the world to the abuse and bullying that existed in small, friendly towns, like Laramie. The writers of this play went to Laramie to interview inhabitants to try and understand the tragic events. They turned the interviews of the townsfolk into the Laramie Project.
Dirty Old Woman
The Cultch Lab
Public Market Pick of the Fringe winner, Dirty Old Woman, also won the Cultchivating the Fringe Award in 2014, and it’s finally time for their run at The Cultch:
When Nina, a 50-something-year old, meets Gerry, 20 years her junior, the sparks fly in more ways than one. Judgments, double standards, and comedy ensue as Nina tries to navigate the dangerous world of dating a younger man.