2023 Fringe Artist, Jill Raymond, recalls her 10-year journey with Vancouver Fringe 

Jill is a British-Canadian creator, performer, and artrepreneur. She has performed on three continents with more than fifteen years of work, training and development internationally. She lives, works and creates on the unceded lands of Coast Salish peoples of the sc̓əwaθenaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsawwassen), S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō), Kwantlen, Stz’uminus, xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and is passionate about theatre as a tool to provoke discussion and awareness, and explore complex social and societal conversations. 

The first time I ever performed at Fringe was the first year that I arrived in Canada— 2013. I was part of a site-specific piece called “My Hole Life,” and it took place at the tire swing outside Bridges Restaurant. Having my first experience on the Island at the mercy of all the elements, I really got the bug for Fringe. No matter what was happening around us, what the weather was doing, or how many people were in the audience, the show went on. It was very formative.  

Over the ten years since then, I have been involved in Fringe in a wide range of positions and productions. I think there has only been one year that I wasn’t performing in, or volunteering for the festival.  

The best times for me at Fringe have always been reconnecting with the Framily (fringe-family). After ten years, you feel as if you have become woven into the fabric of incredible artists, returning volunteers, production staff, and regular audience members, all of whom truly drive this festival and make it the incredible experience it is. The comradery and community are second to none. Nothing beats dancing in the pouring rain with some of your favourite people or closing down the Fringe bar and continuing the party behind Performance Works. 

If my name hadn’t been pulled from the lottery in 2018, I don’t know that Direct Theatre Collective would have ever come to exist. This company, of which I am the Artistic Director and Co-Founder, has become such a driving force in my life. Vancouver Fringe has acted as a springboard to so many ideas and moments of pure joy, it is hard to fathom what my creative life would be like without Fringe, and I dread to even consider it. Since its conception, Direct Theatre Collective has had three Fringe ‘big-hitters:’ Hysteria (2018), verisimilitude (2022), and Monster (2023). Although I won’t be part of the Festival this year, we have some incredibly exciting things brewing that we will share very soon! 

I think that for most people Fringe is an incredibly happy, inspiring, and creative event. But I know that for some it is a true lifeline, either literally, and/or creatively. Fringe facilitates the growth and exploration of artists and audience members alike— it is an absolutely vital festival, and I look forward to many more years of involvement. Long live the Fringe! 

You can keep up with Jill and follow her journey in these places: 

Jill Raymond Website www.jillraymond.com / Social @lovejray 

Direct Theatre Collective Website www.directtheatrecollective.com / Social @directtheatreco 


Please Wait
Talking to the Box Office...