Christine Lesiak and Tara Travis both performed at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival for the first time in 2008 but didn’t actually meet until they toured the Fringe Festival circuit across Canada in 2012.
Though they hadn’t worked together yet, their friendship flourished. In 2017, Christine’s partner (and frequent creative collaborator,) Ian Walker, had a “wild vision” of Christine and Tara in “extravagant dresses.” And at the time, that’s all it was – a joke in the North Beer Tent. No characters, no story, no show. But a creative spark had been lit.
Three years later, in 2020, the proverbial lightbulb illuminated. The story began to take shape.
“We figured out who the characters could be and who would be on these dress contraptions: Cinderella’s stepsisters.”
Edmonton Fringe is where messy first inklings become brilliant realizations. When you give to Fringe Theatre, you cultivate creative collisions between Artists like Christine and Tara.
In most versions of the fairytale, Cinderella’s stepsisters are broad villains to be rooted against, defeated, and forgotten in the happily ever after. But rather than accept that script, Christine and Tara found themselves interested in the characters’ post-Cinderella lives.
The problem? Their vision for this show was too big for a Festival stage. The Fringe schedule is a meticulous minute-by-minute machine. To fit more than 1,400 performances of nearly 200 shows into just 11 days, shows must set up in 15 minutes and tear down in 15 minutes. Time is a precious commodity.
“For the Festival, generally, you’re building under time and budget constraints. The development process for this show, however, has been a long part-time process. When we get together, we’re never really sure what’s going to happen,” they laugh.
Christine and Tara’s vision – for costumes alone – demanded more than what the Festival could offer. Without knowing how they would actually bring the show they were imagining to life, they persisted because this story deserves an audience. You are that audience.
Artists dream up extraordinary stories and, sometimes, epic visions that seem almost impossible to fathom, let alone realize on stage. Theatre cannot exist without your support. Will you help bring bold creativity to life by making a gift to Fringe Theatre?
Enter the Westbury Family Fringe Theatre Award. This was the green light Christine and Tara needed, providing them with $25,000 of in-kind support to produce their show as a part of the Fringe Theatre Season.
“This award is a game changer,” Christine says. “This gives us the ability to create this vision of a show that’s too big for the Fringe Festival, but still so influenced by every Fringe show we’ve seen. We’re excited to show audiences what can come out of Fringe culture when we nurture Artists.”The Fringe Theatre Season is designed to give Artists the time, scale, resources, and environment to create daring new theatre. Will you make a gift to ensure we can continue to support Artists like Christine and Tara at the Festival and beyond?
“Having this full run in the Fringe Season has allowed us to dream big and execute even bigger. We’ve had the opportunity to take our time to refine our vision,” she continues. “We’ve been able to afford ourselves the concentrated creation time to really dedicate to getting it right.”
So, what does The Spinsters have in store for you?
“It’s about spectacle. It’s by far the largest production that either of us has ever been a part of co-creating. It’s the biggest creative team and most dynamic collective of designers assembled to realize this epic vision.”
“It’s an opportunity to really show off what our team is capable of. We get to showcase the talents of some remarkable humans. Most of our budget goes to paying Artists, which is a beautiful thing.”
“We’re gonna take it to eleven. We’re gonna show off. This is Art with a capital ‘A’. I sincerely think we’re gonna blow some minds.” Christine declares.
Now, more than ever, your investment is a testament to your belief in theatre. When you give to Fringe Theatre, you empower Artists. You invest in a vision of a future where creativity thrives, voices are amplified, and stories are celebrated.
We hope you join us for the ride.
Megan, Murray, and all of us at Fringe Theatre
PS: Please donate to Fringe Theatre today. We are a charitable organization, and gifts of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt. Please use the enclosed donation form or make a gift online: fringetheatre.ca/donate
PPS: Book your tickets to The Spinsters (January 16 – 27, 2024) as soon as you can!
Head Concept & Costume Design by Adam Dickson with Ian Walker. Wig Design & Build by Dusty Hagerud. Portrait Sketches by Yu-Chen Tseng.
Fringe Theatre Adventures Society Charitable Registration No: 11885 3506 RR0001
Fringe Theatre hopes to raise $50,000 through this campaign. Funds raised support production of the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, the Fringe Theatre Season, and operate the Fringe Theatre Arts Barns. Our annual estimated cost of fundraising is 14%. If you have questions, please contact Erin Voaklander, Director of Development, Fringe Theatre, 10330 84 Ave Edmonton AB, T6E 2G9, 780-409-1926, firstname.lastname@example.org.