Hey, fringer! How are you? Resting up after your marathon of Fringe shows, food, and entertainment? We hope so!
We also hope that you had a chance to check out some of the amazing performances and Digital Holdovers on FringeTV. Though our Holdovers went away on August 31, more content is coming your way!
Coming fresh off Together We Fringe, a hyper-local, hybrid in-person-and-online Event, we thought it only makes sense to get to know our Technical Director better. Read on to find out how everything we do at Edmonton Fringe is possible!
Selina Painchaud (she/her) is an Edmonton-based theatre technician, programmer, and technical operator. She is the current Technical Director with Fringe Theatre and has been a part of the “Fringe Framily” since 2014. She has spent the last 17 months learning to adapt theatre processes for the world of livestream with shows such as: All That Binds Us (Azimuth Theatre), Fringe Revue Ep. 1-3 and The Fringe That Never Was.
Most days Selina can be found helping create incredible art, all with a cup of coffee in her hand.
What is something you are learning right now?
I am currently learning the joys of Young Adult Fiction. I spent a large portion of my life thinking that I needed to strive to read more and more challenging books, but just relaxing and settling into an easier read has reminded me to breathe and just enjoy the journey. A lesson to live by, I think.
What is your favourite Fringe story as a fringer?
Ok, story time!
One of the first Fringe shows I ever saw was with Fringe’s House Technician, Meghan Wearne. We were both Production Assistants at the time and had a free afternoon, so we flipped through the program and stumbled across a one-man-show that would stay with both of us forever.
The show was called “Sperm Wars.” Did we pick the show solely because of the title? Yes. Yes, we did.
So here we are in the French Quarter getting ready to see what is sure to be a Fringe disaster. We go in, the house lights dim, an aggressive centrespot turns on, and out walks a man in a white and black skintight leotard. ‘May the Fringe Gods be with us,’ we thought.
He then spends the next 40+ minutes telling an elaborate sci-fi tale of the sperm’s great warrior battle to get to THE EGG. There was action, there was incredibly well-timed puns, there was romance, there were sound effects (voiced solely by the performer); it was a triumph. To this day, it is still one of my favourite Fringe shows.
We took a risk and found an absolutely hilarious joy of a show. A quintessential Fringe experience.
What is an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
Oh, I think I peaked when I helped fix the sound system at my sister-in-law’s graduation banquet. In all honesty, it was a pivotal moment for me. I was in my second year of university and still considering whether this is what I wanted to do professionally, and then this moment presented itself. Faced with two MCs in minor panic, I was able to help get the event back on track.
Was it rocket science? Absolutely not.
Did I feel like Superman? Yes.
As a technician with Edmonton Fringe Theatre, what is something you wish everyone knew about your job?
Ok, I’m going to tell you a big secret…
Technicians aren’t magic. Sure, our job is to make theatre feel like magic but being a technician is both a craft and a kick-ass job! We are skilled and passionate problem solvers and innovators. We take creative challenges by the horns and make them into reality. It’s awesome soul-fulfilling work and I’m so honoured to be in this industry and this profession.
Many fringers discovered FringeTV for the first time this year during our Fringe Theatre Event in August 2021. Tell us about FringeTV – how did it happen?
I have been with FringeTV from the very beginning! When March 2020 rolled in and put our industry on pause, we were processing the fact that the 39th Edmonton Fringe Festival had been cancelled and what paths forward remained for us as a team. Out of the many Zoom conversations, brainstorming, and number crunching, FringeTV was born.
So here we were, a small group of theatre technicians learning how to make a hybrid of film, livestream, YouTube, and TV, with the hope that someday live audiences could be added to the mix. The entire concept of FringeTV was built on new challenges and obstacles, so we went out and learned. We chatted with folks in the industry, looked at different livestream setups, researched equipment uses and pricing, and developed an online platform that would give us the control to deliver the content we wanted.
The amount of knowledge and growth that our Production Team took on to independently record and livestream our 39th International Fringe Festival onto our own streaming site – within five months – was an incredible achievement for us. Personally, going through this process has helped make me a stronger technician and has opened my eyes to the possibilities that hybrid theatre formats present. Plus, it’s SO FUN.
Why should folks be watching FringeTV and cancelling all of their other streaming services?
Oh no! We aren’t going to do that! We aren’t going to diminish other independent streaming sites. That’s not 2021 energy!
One thing I’ve learned recently is that it isn’t about having too much content but more about filling your mind and soul with diverse, engaging, thought-provoking content. I will absolutely sit down and binge some Netflix one day and the next day sit down and catch a livestreamed conversation on FringeTV, or a streamed recording of a 2019 Production of “How to Catch Creation” on O!, or even go on Vimeo and watch “I Need My Girl,” produced by Queer Based Media. The world is my oyster and I’m so excited about all the theatre that is filling my online space.
I believe FringeTV is a great place to start that online diversifying, and it’s a tool that has given our theatre community a new way to easily engage with art online. It has opened so many possibilities for engagement, accessibility, and – in the light of the pandemic – safety. If anything comes out of this time, I hope that we continue to explore what it means to seek out art and I believe sites like FringeTV are first steps in continuing to connect with each other even at a distance. My dream is to see hundreds of theatres streaming content across Canada and the world. The last year and half has birthed so many incredible streaming ventures, and I can’t wait to see these boundaries continue to change and stretch.
Thanks so much for your time, Selina! While we may not see you in front of the camera often, we know our artists are in great hands with you behind it! Here’s Selina signing off in a GIF proving that she can be found drinking a coffee anytime, anywhere!
Hankering for more Fringe Reads? Check out our 2021 ATB Financial Golden Ticket Winner, Shannon Prasad!
By the way, we’re now recruiting for an Executive Director! Are you a passionate leader with experience in theatre and community development? Are you looking for a challenging role in a dynamic and fun environment? Apply today!