September 2018


Twitter: VancouverFringe

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Fringe

The Vancouver Fringe Theatre Society has a Vision of Theatre for Everyone, but we know that we’re not there yet. The theatre community is rallying around conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and as producers of an un-juried, uncensored festival, the Fringe is uniquely able to offer space and support to emerging artists from diverse backgrounds. We know that not all voices are heard and not all members of our community are represented on Fringe stages, and we’re committed to making equity, diversity, and inclusion a priority at the Fringe.

Gavin Kade of ShapeShift Arts speaking at the 2017 AGM. Photo by Carlos Santos.

What we have done:

With financial assistance from the BC Arts Council and the Vancouver Foundation, in May of 2017 we partnered with ShapeShift Arts. lee williams boudakian, Anoushka Ratnarajah, and Gavin Kade went to work speaking with staff, board, community members, and artists of all backgrounds. They conducted interviews, surveys, and focus groups to find out who we’re not seeing on Fringe stages and why.

With a detailed report and recommendations from the team at ShapeShift we now have new insights on the work we need to do to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion at the Fringe! We’re excited to take on a leadership role in Vancouver and the Fringe community to build new relationships.



As we do this work we recognize we’re not alone and we value more voices at our table! If you have something you’d like to share with us about the work we’re doing, suggestions, recommendations, critical feedback, resources, anything EDI related really, we’d love to hear from you! Please email us at ExecutiveDirector@VancouverFringe.com (Laura Efron).

What’s next?

As a team we’re working through the diversity audit conducted by ShapesShift Arts, as well as their recommendations. We will be transparent with our plans for the future. If you’re interested in next steps please subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook , and Twitter for the latest Fringe news, including an exciting future that will bring us closer to our Vision: Theatre for Everyone! 

Further reading and resources:

Valerie Sing Turner Takes Action For Meaningful Change – Read about local theatre artist Valerie Sing Turner’s new searchable database of Indigenous and racialized theatre artists (IRA) — a project she is working on with Fringe board member Phillip Djwa!

Hadiya Roderique’s three ways to retain diverse talent.

Matthew Xia: Invisible in Edinburgh – why are BAME people ignored at the fringe? – BAME is a British acronym that stands for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic and is used to refer to members of non-white communities in the UK. This is an article about the experiences of people of colour at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The Unequal Opportunity Race – The Fringe team first saw this video at out Diversity 101 training with ShapeShift Arts. It’s a great visual aid when thinking about and explaining why EDI work is imortant.

Gender! It’s a lot more than man and woman. Learn more about gender diversity through this recently published guide on Equality for Her.

Take the #Next150 Challenge with us!

The Centre for Community Organizations –Some great resources here! COCo’s mission is to promote social justice, active citizenship, democracy, and just socio-economic development by supporting the development of healthy organizations and strong communities through education