Countdown to those Midsummer Nights

August 10, 2017

by Wesley, ATB Golden Ticket Winner 2017

Well, it’s officially 1 week away from the opening of the 36th Edmonton International Fringe Festival, and preparations for our ATB Golden Ticket experience at this year’s fest are well underway. ‎

Perhaps I should first introduce myself. Wesley here, your Golden Ticket go-to-guy for 2017.  Since hearing about the win by email while we waited in line for a show at the Westbury Theatre (hilariously, I totally thought it was an email scam), my husband Ed and I have been imagining how to make the experience as Golden Ticket holders the best Edmonton experience we can.

To make maximum use of the 100 tickets and make good on the joke idea we had for last year’s 35th anniversary –  that we should try to see 35 shows (we only managed about 12, many of which were awesome as usual, by the way) – we’re planning to see 36 shows each in 2017.  That’s 72 tickets.  This leaves us to give away 14 pairs of tickets to friends, and we’ve got quite a few folks interested – a mix of regulars and newbies to fringing!

To choose our 36 shows, we’ve used our regular Fringe approach.  We’re big “Fringe Innies,” so we anxiously awaited the arrival of the Festival Program Guide.  I work downtown, so I always mark program release day on my calendar and make a special lunch trip to pick it up at Tix on the Square.

From there, we spent a few days reviewing the always-amazing selection of plays.  Each of us made a short list, and then we negotiated a list of finalists.  This involves balancing timeslots, choosing times to spend on the grounds, when to head to the French Quarter, and of course, ensuring we have a good balance of genres: a one man/woman show, something ‘historic’ for me, something zombie or futuristic for Ed, a musical, an ensemble drama, an improv, and of course – something with an adventurous venue.

We’ve found the venue can often be half the fun, and makes for good storytelling for our non-Fringer friends. Many a time, we’ve recounted the times we…

  • were part of an audience of 7 in a hotel room
  • tried to find where they put the sea-can on the grounds (and battled the heat with free bottled water)
  • drank Remedy chai while a play happened amidst the functioning café
  • interacted with surrealist players on the roof of a parking garage,
  • and listened to James Bond numbers in a sunken hotel lounge.

But using our tried-and-true method will only get us to our usual 12-15 must-see shows.  The advantage this time is that we’ve had a whole year to plan, so this will be our first Edmonton Fringe with a week’s vacation from work.  Add our 3-night stay at the Metterra and we’ll have opportunity to see more of our top picks than usual. Our dear cat Cristo will be heading to the cat spa for a vacay, too!

Now, what about the rest of the 36 shows?  We love the Fringe Festival atmosphere, including the entrepreneurial spirit of the actors and other professionals who spent much of their “down” time during Fringe hanging out in lineups, strutting their stuff, and trying to sell tickets to upcoming shows.  So, our strategy for the rest of the tickets is simple – We’re going to say “YES”.  That’s right: find us Golden Ticket holders in a line, pitch your show, and if we have time in our schedule, we’ll buy a ticket to your show.  It’s our way of spreading the ATB Golden Ticket love, and paying it forward to the awesome performers who make our Edmonton extra-exciting and adventurous every summer!

Thanks so much for the awesome crew of Fringe Theatre for your hospitality so far and for all that you do for the Festival.  Thank you to all the artists, technicians, volunteers, and everyone that will make this #YEGfringe so memorable for us.  And to all the Fringers and could-be-Fringers, we invite you out to this year’s Festival to have A Midsummer Night’s Fringe with us…or maybe a couple of nights!  See you in line.


ATB Golden Ticket Winner 2017

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