And Now for Something Completely Different: aka the 2017 Fringe Cometh

2016 Festival Highlights

The many happy faces of people at the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival! Top left photo by Clayton Wong; all other photos by Mike Vlasman.

The many happy faces of people at the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival! Top left photo by Clayton Wong; all other photos by Mike Vlasman.

Another Festival has come and gone. We hope you had as much fun as we did! The 2016 Fringe broke attendance records with over 35,000 attendees—that’s a 6.6% increase over last year and it doesn’t even include attendance at un-ticketed events like the Big Rock Brewery Fringe Bar! We’re also proud to say that we paid out the most revenue to artists ever—more than a ¼ of a million dollars—that’s an 11% increase over 2015 artist payouts. Obviously more and more people are discovering the Fringe and we are happy to welcome them into the fold!

Along with increased attendance, we sold out all the available Raffle tickets this year! The Raffle is a fundraising initiative for the Festival and it would not be possible without the generous support of G Adventures and Motorino. Congratulations to our winners, L.D. Matlow, who will be heading to Peru, Vivian Chen took home the scooter, and Addison Lanier will Fringe it up next year with a Kick Ass Pass—good for him and a plus one—to as many shows as he wants!

2016 welcomed in a new home for the Big Rock Brewery Fringe Bar at Ocean Art Works on Granville Island. The space was huge, open, and had a great view of the OSGEMEOS “Giants” Mural at Ocean Concrete, as well as the beautiful underside of the Granville Street Bridge to accompany a stellar music lineup. The new Fringe Bar was easier to find and we welcomed people who were unaware of the Fringe in addition to the Festival artists, volunteers, and patrons.

It’s always great hearing from Festival audiences. Volunteers conducted surveys throughout the Fringe and your responses are so heartening—here’s just a small sampling of what your fellow patrons had to say:

“Fringe is my favourite time of year. I always look forward to the Festival. It’s one of the most inspiring, unique, and fun experiences/festivals in Vancouver.”
“It is my most favourite event of the year. I take the whole week off from work to attend.”
“Weird and wonderful. Always fun and entertaining and supporting small artists and their odd, brilliant minds.”
“Wonderful. Haven’t been in years, so glad to come back.”


The “Giants” overlooking the Fringe Bar. Photo by Emilio Merritt.

We also received great feedback from a deaf patron who attended the performance of Does Not Play Well With Others, which was interpreted into American Sign Language. They said, “This is the first theatre show I’ve ever had the opportunity to come to and I’m so excited that it’s at the Fringe. I’m definitely coming back to volunteer next year.”

Speaking of volunteers, Angie Descalzi, who oversees everything to do with volunteers, was overjoyed at the number of people who personally told her they planned on donating time again next year. Meanwhile, one volunteer responded to the volunteer survey by saying, “Just meeting and talking to people from all different walks of life is what I enjoy the most. I appreciate the inclusiveness and acceptance of everyone. That we can all be ourselves at face value is important to me.”

The artists also reported that they had a positive experience. Britt MacLeod, who was the Composer/Lyricist for Carry On: A Musical said:

“This show was our first experience developing a musical from first spark of inspiration to performance, and I can’t imagine a better environment to put it on for the first time. … My team and I found ourselves in a supportive environment at Fringe that encourages new work and experimentation. We met amazing artists from all over the world, and got a chance to network with and support local peers. … I find myself hugely inspired by the work I took in, and the conversations I had with artists and audience members. I saw intriguing mixed-media, multidisciplinary shows, brave and sparse solo shows, expertly done comedy and sketch shows, new plays. … I feel a new confidence having had this experience.”

Britt also pointed to the volunteers: “I think many of them are diehards, but wherever they come from, they are amazing people. Passionate, supportive, interesting, positive.”

We heard lots of other fun stories—like how there was a marriage proposal during Charlatan!—and we want to hear more! Take our Audience Survey and help us learn more about you and your Festival experience. Don’t forget to share your stories and tell us what the Fringe means to you. Plus, all survey respondents who include contact information will be entered into a draw for a Pass for the 2017 Fringe. We look forward to what you have to say!

How to Be a 2017 Fringe Artist

What did you think, that we took a vacation after the Festival? Nope! On to 2017!

2016 Fringe hit, Space Hippo, from the Wishes Mystical Puppet Company, won a spot at the Fringe through our Mainstage Category. Photo by Bruce McPherson.

2016 Fringe hit, Space Hippo, from the Wishes Mystical Puppet Company, won a spot at the Fringe through our Mainstage Category. Photo by Bruce McPherson.

If you have the hope and dream of being on a Vancouver Fringe Festival stage, it is possible! Here are some ways you can:

1. The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals Touring Lottery is now open! Apply by October 21, 5:00pm (CST) and be prepared to participate in a minimum of five Fringe Festivals across Canada and/or the USA. To be eligible for this lottery, you must have participated in at least one CAFF Member Festival before. Click here for full details.

2. Advance Theatre: New Works by Women. If you’re a woman identified playwright, you can have a dramatic reading of your script happen at the Fringe. This project is in partnership with Ruby Slippers Theatre and Equity in Theatre. Submissions are due February 15, 2017 and details can be found here.

3. Mainstage Artists: Think you’ve got the chops to stage your show at the Waterfront Theatre, Performance Works, or one of our other Mainstages? Lottery applications will be open November 2-30. And yes, it’s true, we draw applications out of a literal hat, and no, we don’t need to know anything about what you plan or hope to put on stage. Details here.

4. Bring Your Own Venue / Site-Specific Artists: Want to plan a show at Havana or Carousel Theatre? How about on a boat or the back of a van? These applications are chosen on a first come, first served basis with a few caveats. Applications open in January. Info here.

5. Dramatic Works Series: Love drama and want to work with a previously published script? This may be the category for you. The structure and guidelines are changing this year. Stay tuned for more info. However, we can tell you that applications will open in January.

We’ll update you with more details and will send out reminders about application deadlines. Don’t forget to share this info with all your friends who are or want to be performing artists—especially if they’re from out of town or outside Canada!

Mission of Care: Caring About the Fringe—or How to Have Someone Else Donate on Your Behalf

Fringers and folks from FS Financial mingle at the post-Festival event. Did you know they're donating $100 from every free financial planning meeting to the charity of your choice? And yes, the Fringe is a charity! Photo by Clayton Wong.

Fringers and folks from FS Financial mingle at a post-Festival event. Did you know they’ll donate $100 on your behalf following a free financial education session to the charity of your choice? And yes, the Fringe is a charity! Photo by Clayton Wong.

On the first day of the Festival you may have noticed an FS Financial Strategies tent near the Box Office. Or maybe you heard a curtain speech or saw a poster for Mission of Care Day, one of the Your Fringe for a Day days. But what is FS Financial and Mission of Care?

FS Financial Strategies is, as their name suggests, a financial strategies company. If you’re looking to set up a legacy gift, invest money, or even make sure your insurance package is right for you, they’ll be able to help—regardless of how much or how little you have. But what sets them apart are their goals surrounding philanthropy and volunteerism. This is exemplified by the Mission of Care program. Since FS Financial Strategies started Mission of Care in 2010, their program has donated to more than 850 charities—including the Fringe!

Back on September 8, FS Financial Strategies sent staff to volunteer at the Festivalthey contributed to selling every single 2016 Raffle ticket! And while here, they also told people about Mission of Care.

FS Financial even held a post-Festival special event at their West Broadway location to introduce their members to what the Fringe does and to introduce them to a special group of Fringe donors and volunteers. Robyn Kurtz, our Director of Patron Development, spoke about her own love of the Festival (did you know she had her wedding reception at the Fringe Bar?). FS Financial’s co-founder, Scott Low, also spoke to those in attendance about the importance of the arts and how the arts needs both money and volunteer hours to thrive.

So how does Mission of Care work to help the Fringe? When you attend a complimentary financial education session, FS will donate $100 on your behalf to the Fringe Festival or to a cause or charity of your choice—no strings attached. To learn more about Mission of Care, or to book your financial education session to support the Fringe Festival, send an email to or call 1-844-887-3732.

Thanks to our Sponsors!

It takes a lot of people to put on the Fringe, and not just artists, staff, volunteers, and donors. Each year, many businesses join the Fringe community to help achieve the goal of theatre for everyone! Here’s a peek into why the Festival couldn’t be as fantastic without our Partners:

The Fringe's sponsors love to come out and have fun at the Festival too! And their participation is so important! G Adventures photo by Sunny Kim; Barefoot photo by Emilio Merritt; Tubify photo by Clayton Wong; Roundhouse Radio photo by Dakota Shelby.

The Fringe’s sponsors love to come out and have fun at the Festival too! And their participation is so important! G Adventures photo by Sunny Kim; Barefoot photo by Emilio Merritt; Tubify photo by Clayton Wong; Roundhouse Radio photo by Dakota Shelby.

Without the marketing and publicity support of the Georgia Straight, Roundhouse Radio, St. Bernadine Communications, and, of course, all those Blenz Coffee locations that distributed Program Guides, you might have missed that we were hosting a Festival!

And we wouldn’t have a home for the Fringe without CMHC Granville Island welcoming the Fringe and being the Festival’s home base by providing spaces such as the Festival Hub and the new location of the Big Rock Brewery Fringe Bar at Ocean Art Works!

Speaking of the Fringe Bar, Big Rock Brewery and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly certainly did their part to make the Bar a social hot spot. Plus, everything was a little more interesting with beverage samples from Sparkling Ice and The Great Jamaican, who offered a great non-alcoholic option and also proved that ginger beer is a great mixer, especially for Moscow Mules, Perfect Storms, and Canadian Jamaicans. Meanwhile, BeatRoute Magazine promoted the free music series, including making Wishkicker, who played on September 10, their cover story. Adding to the fun at the Fringe Bar was My City Photos and their always hilarious photobooth (don’t forget to tag yourself on Facebook)!

If you stopped by the Fringe Bar or the Info Centre Hub, then you probably bought a Raffle Ticket! Were you hoping to win a trip to Peru from G Adventures? Or maybe you had your eye on the electric scooter from Motorino? Did you know they gave us the prizes to Raffle off to raise funds for the Festival and Fringe artists? It’s true.

And of course, logistics are important too! Thanks to Thunderbolt Sign and for signage, passes, and all sorts of printed materials that helped with marketing, wayfinding, and more! And Cubeit’s temporary storage made organizing things that much easier.

If you missed out on Opening Night—well that’s a shame. Dockside Restaurant, Emelle’s Catering, and The Keg Granville Island offered up delicious morsels including Wild Smoked Salmon Lox, Carrot Cumin Slaw in Cucumber Cups, and Mini Brownies. There were complimentary Big Rock and Barefoot libations and The Liberty Distillery made the night extra classy with samples of their Basford cocktail and hand-crafted spirits—add to that gorgeous floral arrangements from Olla Urban Flower Project—and it was an amazing night!

And then there were the volunteers. Obviously the Festival would not be possible without all their efforts, but our Partners assist by keeping the 500 or so volunteers ready for action! Shear Comfort helps make our volunteer program possible. Add to that the snacks like Tubify’s organic fair-trade freezies, Sunrype juices, the Great Jamaican ginger beer, and all the small businesses like Terra Breads and Cupcakes on Broadway that provided munchies and organizations like Instant Theatre and the Vancouver International Improv Festival that provided prizes—Fringe volunteers were kept happy and hydrated.

These Partners are part of your Fringe Family! Please join us in thanking them for helping make the Festival so amazing!

The Theatre Scene

Just a taste of what Vancouver has to offer in the way of Theatre

Vancouver International Puppet Festival Gala & Slamette is on Saturday, Oct. 15 and tickets are just $25.

The Vancouver International Puppet Festival Gala & Slamette is on Saturday, Oct. 15 and tickets are just $25.

The Concierge of Vancouver
Now – October 16
Studio 1398
Vancouver’s housing market got you down? Laugh with this satirical story of an unassuming concierge in an upscale condo building who also works for a reclusive donor.

Rap Guide to Climate Chaos
October 12-13
Revue Stage
The 2016-2017 Theatre Wire season kicks off with “Peer reviewed rapper” Baba Brinkman, who’ll break down the politics, economics, and science of global warming, following its surprising twists from the carbon cycle to the global energy economy.

Vancouver International Puppet Festival 
October 14-16
Various Venues
Exploding with animated characters, the very first Vancouver International Puppet Festival is filled with performances, workshops, interactive panel discussions, and screenings of the work of local and international puppeteers, puppet builders, and object animators, including Fringe alumni Ragmop Theatre (2016’s Falling Awake) with Ideas Bobert! and Mind of a Snail’s Inside Outlet.

Butt Kapinski: Dick on the Loose
November 3-5
Grant D. Burnyeat Rehearsal Hall at the BMO Theatre Centre (162 West 1st Ave.)
Be part of a film noir mystery with everyone’s favourite dick, Butt Kapinski, in a brand new show. There are just three performances in a small venue, so book your seat ASAP!

Fringe Partners