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Black Lives Matter: We Stand in Solidarity

June 12, 2020

The Vancouver Fringe Festival wants to express solidarity with Black communities in the fight for systemic change and for dismantling institutionalized anti-Black racism. The ongoing abuse by police and state is not only unacceptable, it violates the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which clearly states that “the inherent dignity of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”

Disproportionate and unwarranted violence against Black and Indigenous people is long-standing and ongoing. We see this in the recent murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. We are also witnessing this in real time as many Black protesters endure police brutality on the streets. Our full support and solidarity go to the countless families who have lost loved ones due to police brutality, lack of access to healthcare, and the failure of the government to take prompt actions to ensure the safety of all its citizens.

We also want to acknowledge that these tremendous hardships and losses are amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, and is felt significantly by Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour and additionally, if immunocompromised and/or living with disability.

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is actively working on dismantling systemic barriers that impact Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) artists and communities from feeling safe and participating in the Fringe. This began with our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Audit, conducted in 2017, and continues today as we examine the role the Fringe needs to play to ensure our communities are truly inclusive and equitable for everyone. Please visit our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion page on our website to learn more about our ongoing process. We will also be posting details of our upcoming online meet up for BIPOC Fringe artists and BIPOC volunteers centering the Black community on our EDI page soon.

We believe that self-reflection and education are important steps and we encourage you to inform yourself about anti-Black racism and find ways to help. Below are some resources shared by other organizations. It is time to stand up for and with the Black community and do all we can to support and amplify their voices. Black Lives Matter.

DONATE:

Black in BC Community Support Fund for COVID-19
The Vancouver Black Therapy & Advocacy Fund is a not-for-profit initiative that aims to raise funds to make mental health support more accessible to Black community members in the Lower Mainland.
Black Lives Matter Vancouver
Hogan’s Alley Society
The Minnesota Freedom Fund is currently not accepting donations, but they have created this list of organizations where you can direct your funds to.
Justice for Regis
Black Legal Action Centre
Toronto Protestor Bail Fund
A Fund for Black-led Mental Health Supports
Local and National Bail Funds (US)

EDUCATE:

Remembering 27 Black, Indigenous, and racialized people killed by Canadian police by Desmond Cole
Call It What It Is: Anti-BlacknessThe New York Times
Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
Anti-Racist Allyship Starter Pack
Becoming Trustworthy White Allies —Yale University’s Reflections Magazine
9 Reasons Why Acting in Solidarity for Racial Justice is Preferable to ‘Allyship’The Body is Not an Apology
On Social Media: @rachelcargle, @DesmondCole, @thenapministry, and so many more!

Got Fringe?: An Update on the 2020 Vancouver Fringe Festival

June 1, 2020

Got Fringe?: An Update on the 2020 Vancouver Fringe Festival

The Vancouver Fringe Theatre Society is currently undergoing a process to investigate options for the 2020 Vancouver Fringe Festival. We are collecting information from Fringe artists, volunteers, staff, and the Board of Directors, as well as from participating venues, partners, and collaborators. Their input is highly valuable as we move forward in the decision-making process.

As an organization, we are eager to present a Festival in September, however, we are aware that what is presented will have to be modified to adhere to BC’s Restart Plan. Currently, we are not exploring the option to cancel the Festival. Rather, we are exploring what is possible through discussions with our artists and production team.

If the current restrictions on gatherings are maintained, then we understand that certain aspects of the Fringe Festival may not be possible in September. As such, we are also examining the options of postponing or staggering events.

In the days ahead, the Fringe will be gathering data via surveys, town hall meetings, and one-on-one conversations to serve our decision-making process. We will consult the Fringe community before finalizing any plans.

Fringe artists are the backbone of the Fringe, and as such, the Fringe has extended its withdrawal deadline to offer 2020 Fringe artists flexibility during this uncertain time.

Regardless of what is decided regarding the Festival, community safety remains the Vancouver Fringe Theatre Society’s top priority. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and look for guidance and recommendations in the coming weeks and months from the Public Health Agency of Canada, HealthLink BC, and the BC Centre for Disease Control. We will be developing a detailed health and safety plan for all in-person activities at the Festival.

The Fringe will provide an additional update regarding September plans by early July, with additional updates throughout the summer.

In the meantime, click on the video above to watch Executive Director Rohit Chokhani’s speech regarding the status of the 2020 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Live Captions (English) can be activated by clicking on the CC image at the bottom right side of the video.

Reminisce with the 25-Day Fringe Challenge

Description: The image is a graphic grid of the 25-Day Fringe Challenge. Caption: Keep the Fringe spirit going through the summer by playing the 25-Day Fringe Challenge!

Keep the Fringe spirit going through the summer by playing the 25-Day Fringe Challenge!

The North American Fringe circuit was scheduled to open with the Orlando Fringe on May 12. But with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting events and festivals all over the world, it’s changed what the season looks like this year: many Fringe Festivals have had to cancel, postpone, or adapt to a digital format.   

Regardless of what Fringe season is shaping up to be, one thing’s for sure: we miss seeing Fringers in their natural habitat! To keep the Fringe-y spirit going this summer, the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals is inviting people to join the 25-Day Fringe Challenge! Dig through your archives and share photos of you wearing Fringe swag, hanging out with your Fringe pals, enjoying Opening Night, and more. And when you do, remember to tag @caff_fringe and @VancouverFringe! 

 

 

 

 

Come A-Board the Fringe!

Be part of the Fringe by applying to be a Board Member today! Photo by Bruce McPherson.

Do you love Fringe and independent theatre? Don’t just tell us—show your love by joining the Vancouver Fringe Theatre Society Board!  

The Board is currently looking for someone to assist with board and organizational governance. This new board member would join the Board Affairs Committee. You can read the full posting here 

Our current Treasurer, Jai Djwa, is looking for someone to help out as the assistant to the treasurer. You would assist in the preparation of the annual budget, quarterly reports, and generally keeping on top on financial issues and helping keep the Board informed. This person will also become the next Fringe Treasurer! Learn more about this role here.

If you’re interested in either of these volunteer opportunities and want more details on the duties and skills required, please contact Board member and Board Affairs Committee member, Jim[dot]Sibley[at]gmail[dot]com. 

Mental Health Awareness Doesn’t Stop in May

Image description: Kazu Kusano, a Japanese woman performing the show Pretty Beast, stands in the centre. She mimes with her hands the motions of smoking and drinking. You can see some audience members at the edge of the photo. Caption: The 2019 Public Market Pick of the Fringe-winning show Pretty Beast was one of the shows that highlighted mental health. Photo by Neil Bryan.

The 2019 Public Market Pick of the Fringe-winning show Pretty Beast was one of the shows that highlighted mental health. Photo by Neil Bryan.

May was Mental Health Awareness Month. For most, this also meant another month of social distancing, the impact of which has been significant on many peoples mental health. The repercussions of COVID-19 on artists has been compounded by the loss of (and for many, the primary) source of income, which in turn can affect their living situations and the ability to create art.  

Whether or not artists keep creating during this quarantine, one way you can show your support for them is by going to a show featured in our weekly events post on Facebook. These posts mainly spotlight digital or upcoming livestreamed events by Fringe and local Vancouver artists. If you fall under either these categories and would like the Fringe to mention your show, you can e-mail Karla Comanda at news[at]vancouverfringe.com with details.

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’d like to highlight some shows from the 2019 Festival that highlighted mental health: Theatrecorpstadpole.: the last episode, Dusty Foot Productions’ Red Glimmer, Julie Gieseke’s Borderline A**hole, Kazu Kusano’s Pretty Beast, Ruckus Theatre Collective’s 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane, GeekendersAlice in Glitterland, Carey Wass’ Carey, OK! Timeless Timely Tunes Vol. 1, Rob Gee’s Kevin, King of Egypt, Bill Bernat’s How to Become More Less Crazy, Laura Anne Harris’ Destiny, USA, Sam Kruger’s Fool Muun Komming!, Aaron Alexander’s Connect, Melody Owen’s The Devil’s Daughter, TJ Dawe’s Operatic Panic Attack, and Lightnin’ ProductionsTry to Remember. 

If you need mental health support at this time, please check out this list of programs provided by the Province of BC. Take care—we’re looking forward to seeing you when we can safely gather again! 

Take a Fringe-y Seat with Shear Comfort

Description: The image is Shear Comfort's logo. There are three levels of text on top of a triangular background. The top level says "SHEAR COMFORT" in black. The second level says "SEAT COVERS" in red. The third, bottom layer is says "Car - Truck - Van" in yellow. Caption: The Fringe loves Shear Comfort as much as they love our vollies!

The Fringe loves Shear Comfort as much as they love our vollies!

The Fringe is excited to welcome back our stalwart sponsor Shear Comfort, who are partnering with the Festival again this year! Specializing in custom seat covers, Shear Comfort has shown Fringe vollies a lot of love through their support of the volunteer program over the years! 

Shear Comfort is having a spring sale, and they’re offering Fringers 20% off all CORDURA and Realtree Camo Seat Covers, and 15% off all other seat covers and other products. And that’s not all—they’re also offering free shipping to Mainland USA and Canadian Provinces! Feel the Fringe in your vehicle by ordering today.