Join me in making the Fringe even more inclusive!

The news these days is full of stories of misunderstanding and distrust. We hear about harassment, verbal and even physical violence against so many different individuals and communities based on race, sexuality, gender identity, religion, and more.

Like you, I ask myself “what can I do to help?” How can I increase mutual understanding and build a culture where all voices are heard and respected?

As a member of the Vancouver Fringe Board of Directors and a passionate theatregoer, I look to the stage for hope. We know that attending live theatre enhances empathy: immersing ourselves in others’ experiences of the world is a powerful way to increase understanding. The sheer volume and range of productions at each Fringe Festival ensures that we have an amazing opportunity to engage in a wide variety of such experiences.

Sharon Sutherland is a Fringe Board Member, theatre lover, and is passionate about inclusivity and diversity on Fringe stages.

But not every voice is heard our theatres.

From its earliest days, the Vancouver Fringe Festival has sought to offer theatre for everyone. Today, that welcoming vision continues to guide our work as we seek to shape the future of the Fringe. Festival offerings have always been unique, exciting, and new, and the Vancouver Fringe has a wonderful record of supporting new artists. One of the things my family loves most about the Fringe is the chance to see new performers and hear new voices. We search out shows by artists from under-represented communities, shows that explore different ways of conveying a story, and shows that share experiences and worldviews that challenge our understanding of the world.

And yet, there’s still room to improve! There are voices that are not heard on Fringe stages and there are still barriers to participation for some. We need your support to continue the work the Fringe has already started and to help launch a major diversity and inclusion initiative.

We are an organization built on ideals of participation, and it is vital to us that we understand who is participating—but also—who is NOT participating and WHY? We’ll investigate barriers that may exist in our seemingly “everyone welcome” system, and find ways to remove them.

Through the Diversity and Inclusivity Project we will work to eliminate barriers to participation and welcome new voices, stories, and communities to contribute to the vibrancy of the Fringe!

I am passionate about increasing understanding and empathy and I know that theatre can make a difference. Help me ensure that the Fringe’s future is as welcoming, vibrant, and inclusive as possible—from the unjuried, uncensored art that’s been part of the Fringe for 33 years, to the new, exciting Diversity and Inclusivity Project.

Sharon and her Fringe loving family! From left to right; Darsey, Rowan, Mark, Sharon, and Cailean. 


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