Over the years, Corine Demas has been a Fringe volunteer, played host to traveling artists, and experienced the Festival as a patron. But for the first time this summer, she’ll be a Festival artist too.
Demas is the 2022 recipient of the Mowat Diversity Award, which supports an equity-seeking artist by offering them a spot in the Festival with technical, marketing, financial, and artistic support to create their show.
“This is my dream come true,” Demas says. “I have never been given opportunities before, because people overlook you when you have bipolar disorder. They don’t think you’ve got the capacity to do things, so you’re not given opportunities to shine.”
The award is named for former ATB Financial CEO Dave Mowat, who has helped break down barriers around the arts to help make Fringe a destination that anyone can access.
For Demas, the award has shifted her Fringe show plan: Originally, she planned to facilitate and perform in a variety show featuring scintillating stories of sex and love. She had stories she wanted to tell, and had done singing and stand-up but hadn’t attempted a scripted show.
“I suffer with what I call page fright,” she says. “I just don’t know how to start.”
But the Mowat Award partnered Demas with a mentor, Laura Raboud, who challenged her to try writing a draft in a short span of time.
“I felt like she gave me permission to do it,” Demas recalls. “I went home from my meeting with her and I ferociously wrote the outline.”
Now, multiple drafts later, Demas is bringing on collaborators and preparing to debut The Bender, her theatre piece, on the Fringe Festival stage.
While this is Demas’ first Fringe show, her other involvements with the Festival mean she has plenty of tips
to share: soak up the Festival grounds atmosphere. Pack water and sunscreen. And, of course, tell others about the shows you see that inspire and delight you, to help those artists.
This year, she’s looking forward to being one of them.
“This is going to launch me into another level that I don’t think I would’ve been able to get to without this opportunity,” Demas says. “I will always be grateful to Dave Mowat and his generosity, because this is life-changing for me.”
To learn more about Fringe Theatre Awards and funding opportunities for artists (and how to apply), please click the button below.