July 10, 2017
by Jessica Cholin, Fringe Summer Staff
Fringing since 2016
In 1947, fringing was just a wee dream in Scotland. It all began when eight groups of artists tried to perform in the Edinburgh International Festival, but were refused entry. This gave birth to what is lovingly called, the Alliance of Defiance.
The artists joined together and performed on the fringe of the Festival, and thus the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was born. From that small group, fringing has grown as one of the most renown theatre festivals in history.
Over the past 70 years, Fringe Festivals have developed across the word, birthing more than 200 festivals! These festivals honour our founders’ philosophy, offering open access to all artists – making it the largest platform on earth for creative freedom.
In honour of the Fringe Festival’s 70th anniversary, festivals across the world are joining the global celebration of talent, art, and creativity that IS Fringe. July 11 marks World Fringe Day and here in Edmonton we’re celebrating with a bang!
As the the oldest and largest Fringe Festival in North America, the Edmonton International Fringe™ Theatre Festival is celebrating its 36th year. Inspired by Edinburgh, live performances took the stage in Old Strathcona in 1982.
Our Festival is not only unique for its size and scope, but it also is renowned for its dedicated and engaged audiences. Artists travel from near and far to perform for Edmontonian crowds. With more than 850,000 visits, Edmonton’s Fringe Festival brings people from all walks of life together.
Here, we journey together – encouraging everyone to find the artist they have dwelling inside. From outdoor artists, buskers, beer patios, and green onion cakes, to live theatre that encompasses improv to musicals, our Fringe Festival is an opportunity for magic and inspiration.
Also unique to Edmonton, a new Festival theme is chosen each year – ya’ know, for a little more creative fun. This year’s theme, A Midsummer Night’s Fringe, emulates A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare; and it truly is the best way I can describe the state of bliss and inspiration that occurs during the Festival.
Each year, for 11 days, six city blocks and 50 venues are transformed to become a wonderful dream.
What is A Midsummer Night’s Fringe? To channel the Shakespearian in me, I’d say:
At Festival we have so many hours of performance that shine,
We could perform Bard’s Dream eight hundred and eighty-four times.
The Festival is Summer. It’s the bright colours and long warm days. The joy, the laughter, and a community coming together to be inspired, to enjoy art and each other.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of fringing and World Fringe Day we are hosting a contest. Winners will receive $100 gift card to Chianti’s Restaurant and six tickets to the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Head to our Facebook page now, tell us why you fringe, and enter to win!
In the meantime, the countdown to August 17th – opening night of the Edmonton Fringe Festival – is on. Until then, we raise our glass and celebrate World Fringe Day!