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Twitter: VancouverFringe

FAQ: Applying to be a Fringe Artist

Deciding whether or not to apply to produce a Fringe show is a big undertaking and you probably have some questions! Below are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions to help you decide if the Fringe is right for you!

What are the different categories I can apply to be an artist in?
What are the deadlines to apply?
Can I submit more than one application?
How much does it cost?
What if I’m selected to do a show and I have to drop out?
Are shows really selected by lottery?
Will you censor my show?
I don’t know what my show is yet. Can I still apply?
How are venues determined?
How is the schedule made (do I need to be available for the duration of the Festival)?
How much money will I make?
What supports does the Fringe supply if my show is selected?
Can you accommodate my accessibility needs?
Why would I want to put on a Fringe show?
My question hasn’t been addressed! Where can I turn?


What are the different categories I can apply to be an artist in?
Artists can apply through the Mainstage, Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV), Site-Specific, or Dramatic Works categories.

The Mainstage category means that as part of your artist fee, the Fringe provides a venue, a technician for lighting and sound, and a schedule with approximately six performances. The Mainstage category is broken down further into International, North American, and Provincial categories with approximately 45% of Mainstage spots reserved for Provincial artists, 45% for North American artists, and the remaining spots for International artists. Which category you fall into depends on your place of residence. (Please note that artists who have secured a spot through the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals Touring Lottery or through the Fringe New Play Prize are placed before other applicants.)

Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV) artists rent their own venue (at pre-approved venues where we’ve helped to negotiate venue costs). Artists must secure their BYOV venue before applying to the Fringe (check out the BYOV page on our site for details). The Fringe selects BYOV artists on a first come, first served basis, however, each venue has its own criteria and process for accepting shows. If an artist is selected by a pre-approved BYOV venue, they can then apply with the Fringe as a BYOV artist.

Site-Specific shows must be created for their space, and may not take place in a traditional theatre. We encourage you to connect with us at artist[at]vancouverfringe[.]com to discuss your idea. Artists must secure their location before applying to the Fringe, and must hire their own technician for any lighting or sound (as needed). The Fringe assists with site permissions if your location is on Granville Island. Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis if sites are within walking distance of Granville Island or Havana Theatre and meet the criteria of the Site-Specific Program. Please email artist[at]vancouverfringe[.]com if you have questions about the criteria.

Dramatic Works Series shows must have permission to use a previously published work categorized as a drama and include two or more actors. Venue costs and a technician are provided by the Fringe. Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis.

All shows in the Festival receive Box Office services and inclusion in the Festival Program Guide (photo, show description, and schedule).

For more details, visit VancouverFringe.com/for-artists.


What are the deadlines to apply?
Mainstage Applications for the 2018 Festival must be submitted by no later than noon on Friday January 26 (PST) for inclusion in the 2018 Lottery. We’ll draw the winners on January 30. Please join us a the Lottery Party!

Applications dates will be posted here for all other categories.


Can I submit more than one application?
No. Artists may only submit one application at a time. However, if your show is not selected via the Mainstage Lottery, you may withdraw your name and apply in a different category (ie: BYOV or Dramatic Works).


How much does it cost?
To enter the Mainstage Lottery there is a non-refundable $50 fee. If you are selected through the Mainstage Lottery, you will need to pay the Mainstage artist fee:
For shows that are 30 minutes or less: $550
For shows that are 31-75 minutes in length: $750

Fees for the other categories are:
BYOV: $500
Site-Specific: $500
Dramatic Works: $800 (Limited subsidies will be available to secure rights to produce a previously published script.)
*Please note that BYOV, Site-Specific, and Dramatic Works fees include a $50 non-refundable application fee.*

If you applied to the Mainstage Lottery but you are not drawn, we will credit your $50 application fee towards your fee in another category.

Please note that artists are responsible for all production costs (ie set, costumes, cast, designers, stage managers etc) and the artist fees are for inclusion in the Festival only. BYOVs and Site-Specific Shows may have additional costs related to venue rental and technicians, however these are not administered through the Fringe.


What if I’m selected to do a show and I have to drop out?
If you and your company are accepted into the Festival and you need to drop out before 4:00pm PST on April 4, 2018, you will be refunded your artist fee, but you will not be refunded the $50 application fee. After that date and time no refunds will be issued if you need to drop out.

Please note that refund policies with BYOV or Site-Specific venues are specific to the contracts you sign with those organizations.


Are shows really selected by lottery?
Mainstage shows really are selected by lottery! We draw names out of a hat until all the available Mainstage spots are filled. Remaining applications will be drawn for a waitlist. Artists will be contacted in their waitlisted order if a show drops out.

BYOV, Site-Specific, and Dramatic Works category shows are selected on a first come, first served basis, as long as the artist meets any additional criteria necessary for the category or venue for which they’ve applied.


Will you censor my show?
No! Your show and its content is completely up to you. However, while the Fringe is an uncensored artistic forum we do not condone any illegal activity. The Fringe accepts no responsibility for any actions of the company. Any company in violation of any applicable Federal, Provincial, or Municipal law, by-law, or any other rule or regulation, including our own safe space and harassment policy, is subject to immediate removal from the Fringe.


I don’t know what my show is yet. Can I still apply?
Yes! Unless you are preparing a Site-Specific or a Dramatic Works Series show, we don’t need to know about your show until after you’ve been accepted into the Festival. Show descriptions, promo image, and technical needs will need to be submitted early in May (we’ll keep you posted on deadlines!).


How are venues determined?
If you are selected through the Mainstage Lottery, you will be asked to fill in an artist information form, which will ask you about your technical needs (lighting and sound cues, if you need special equipment or a venue that can accommodate equipment, etc). The details you provide in your tech forms help determine which Mainstage Venue is most appropriate for your show.

Dramatic Works Series shows are held at The Vancity Culture Lab.


How is the schedule made (do I need to be available for the duration of the Festival)?
The Fringe takes measures to ensure that Mainstage and Dramatic Works time slots are allocated equitably between groups. Each artist/company must take their share of off-peak time slots for their performances (generally early afternoon and late night). You’ll be given an opportunity to explain significant scheduling needs or requests, and we do our best to accommodate where possible. If the artist/company is not available for all 11 days during the Festival, they cannot be guaranteed the full allotment of performances. In addition, the Fringe Festival is not able to make accommodations for shows that share actors or other participants.

Each Mainstage and Dramatic Works show is allotted a three-hour technical rehearsal where you can meet the technician you will be working with and run through all your lighting and sound cues.

BYOV schedules are dependent on the artists’ agreements with the BYOV venue. Site-specific schedules are dependent on your venue and consultation with Fringe staff.


How much money will I make?
Unfortunately there is no guaranteed income at the Fringe. The average artist payout at the 2017 Festival was $2,300.

We highly recommend that artists participate in the Fringe beyond performing/working on their own show to increase your visibility among audiences. Always have flyers on hand and be ready to chat with people about your show. Visit the Fringe Bar and speak to patrons directly. Visit the volunteer centre and introduce yourself to volunteers—they’re often asked for recommendations. Take as many promotional opportunities as you can: participate in the Fringe-For-All preview (more on that once you’re in the Festival!), pay attention to emails from our Artist Services Coordinator, arrive early to secure a sandwich board and poster location, be active on social media and interact with us, have great promotional photos that can be shared with media and event listings. Shows that succeed at the Fringe often have a good buzz; only you and your team members can make that happen.


What supports does the Fringe supply if my show is selected?
The Fringe is primarily a Do It Yourself (DIY) style festival and artists are responsible for their own show. An Artist Services Coordinator is on staff May-September to act as your liaison, reminding you of upcoming deadlines, helping you navigate the Fringe, and assisting you as much as possible. There are also resource documents available at VancouverFringe.com/artist-resources to help you through the process.

Production costs, rehearsal times, etc. are decided upon by the producer/artist of each show.

While every artist is included in the Fringe Program Guide, we advise artists to create a marketing and publicity plan. We supply informational videos, documents, and workshops to help you. Contacts to hire photographers, publicists, videographers, deals on printing marketing materials, suggestions for discounted rehearsal space, and more can be found on our Artist Resources page at VancouverFringe.com/artist-resources.

The Fringe supplies Box Office services including advance and at-door ticket sales. Artists are provided with Show Reports that lay out how many tickets were sold, at what price, as well as information about complimentary tickets (comps). Artists keep 100% of the base ticket price (fees and taxes are included in the advertised price) and are paid out after the Festival. More information about how ticketing works will be provided once you’re accepted into the Festival.

Artists and their team members are supplied with an Artist Rush Pass. This means that you and your team members can see as many Fringe shows (excluding special events) as you want, as long as the shows do not sell out first.

If you are traveling from out of town, the Fringe can probably arrange a billet host for you. These are volunteers who open up their homes to host artists. You may be sleeping in a spare room, on a sofa bed, air mattress, or other unusual accommodation. We try to match artists and billet hosts based on a questionnaire. You are not expected to pay your host, however, please remember that you are a guest in their home and to treat it with the utmost respect.

Information regarding income taxes and information for international artists can also be found at VancouverFringe.com/artist-resources.


Can you accommodate my accessibility needs?
Many venues are fully accessible and we work with artists and patrons to accommodate needs as much as possible. Contact artist[at]vancouverfringe[.]com to discuss specific needs and how the Fringe can help.


Why would I want to put on a Fringe show?
The Fringe is a great place to learn how to produce a show by actually producing a show. It’s still a risk, but the Fringe has a built in audience base and costs are generally lower than self-producing outside the Festival.

You can experiment with content. Fringe audiences are open to all genres. Plus, with no censorship, you’re in charge of what you say and how you say it.

You can network with other performing artists and learn from each other. Outside of workshops (which are held on a variety of topics each year), you can meet artists who tour the Fringe circuit in Canada and around the world and meet artists in the local community.

And finally, the Fringe can be a great opportunity to grow. Fringe shows are eligible to win Awards that can help you in the next step in your career. Remounts, mentorship, cash, and recognition for artistic achievement are available through our Awards Program.


My question hasn’t been addressed! Where can I turn?
We have so much more info to share with you, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. If you have a burning question before submitting your application, please reach out to artist[at]vancouverfringe[.]com.