by Gregg Clark
May 29, 2013
Staging 54 productions and 300+ performances at 14 downtown venues, the Festival’s 17th season runs between June 19th and July 1st.
OTTAWA-GATINEAU, May 29, 2013 – This morning marks the launch of Ottawa’s largest theatre festival in a year that includes 300+ performances at 14 downtown venues, June 19th through July 1st. Programmed by a lottery rather than a jury, the Fringe model is unique in that 100 per cent of box office revenue goes directly to the artists. Half of the lottery’s space is reserved for Ottawa-based companies and this year the city will see acts travelling from as far as Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom. Theatre companies not selected through the lottery are invited to “Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV)” in order to participate in the Festival.
“The Fringe tradition of supporting artists and enabling audiences has thrived all over the world,” says Festival coordinator, Melanie Karin Brown. “There’s no question why the Fringe model is successful for artists and audiences. It gives theatre companies complete artistic control. They produce their work at profitable rates and in a happening festival setting.”
With 100 per cent of box office revenue going directly to artists, the Ottawa Fringe is proud to have generated more than $1 million for artists since its inception in 1997. With little in terms of barriers to artists and no tickets priced higher than $10, the Ottawa Fringe is easily the most accessible on the city’s festival scene.
“Ottawa really shows their support and love for the gaggle of performers who travel from near and far to spin their particular and peculiar brand of magic up on the stage,” says 2012 Metro Best of Fest winner and returning performer, Martin Dockery. An international Fringe veteran, Dockery has shared the story of his first Ottawa Fringe in a video published on the front page of youtube.com/ottawafringe.
New this year, programming includes a series of parties and free concerts at the Fringe Courtyard (beer tent at corner of Daly & Waller). A Festival kick-off party on Wednesday, June 19th will feature performances by The PepTides and DJ Sweet Cheeks. Full Courtyard schedule available at ottawafringe.com/courtyard.
Keeping with tradition, the Ottawa Fringe will name four Metro Best of Fest artists. Decided by the audience, the Metro Best of Fest distinction is based solely on ticket sales. Announced on June 29th, the Festival’s top-selling shows perform the following night (June 30th) a round of encore performances at official venues.
2012 winners returning to the Festival include Martin Dockery (2012 Wanderlust; 2013 The Bike Trip) and Glassiano Productions (this year staging Disillusion).
This year’s farthest-travelling acts include Sri Lanka’s Nishadhi Dance Troupe plus an Ottawa homecoming for London, UK-based director Jessica Ruano (Sappho… in 9 fragments).
A contingent of West Coast performers includes Vancouver’s Bruce Horak who, challenging his visual impairment, paints a portrait of every new audience while performing Assassinating Thomson. His Vancouver contemporary, Veenesh Dubois, brings her spectacular one-woman show, Under the Mango Tree. From Victoria comes Emma Zabloski with Keeper and from mainland British Columbia, Andrew Wade brings The Hatter.
Ottawa-based companies are among the most acclaimed with entries from Dead Unicorn Ink (2012 Fan Favourite for Space Mystery… from Outerspace; 2013 Chesterfield) and May Can Theatre – whose founders Cory Thibert and Tony Adams were each nominated for the 2012 Prix Rideau Emerging Artist Award (for 2012 Ottawa Fringe show Wolves>Boys; this year performing Happiness™).
The Festival is excited to welcome performances at several first-time BYOV venues. Insight Theatre will perform In The First Place at the Bytown Museum, Theatre 4.669 has chosen the University of Ottawa Senate chambers for corporate satire We Glow, plus three shows will be performed at T.A.N. Coffee (Around Miss Julie, Happiness™, and The Tragicall Historie of Nick Wade…)
Nancy Kenny’s original translation of Edward Allan Baker’s Dolores will be performed in the intimate, site-specific venue of a kitchen. Other French-language performances include Opera 5’s La voix humaine.
International artists include Los Angeles-based bouffon sensation Eric Davis (Red Bastard), New Yorkers Harrington & Kauffman with both Cabaret Terrarium and Nhar Moves (Super Bad Moves), plus Fringe veteran Martin Dockery recreates history’s first LSD trip in The Bike Trip. Florida musician Chase Padgett brings his critically acclaimed 6 Guitars. Let’s see how his playing stacks up to Canadian musician Colin Godbout, who brings to the Ottawa Fringe The Greatest Guitarist in the World.
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For a complete schedule, ticket information, and more, see the official program (distributed at every venue plus Bridgehead locations) or visit ottawafringe.com
About the Ottawa Fringe Festival
Founded in 1997, the Festival’s guiding principles are to maintain unrestricted artistic expression, accessibility and community development. The Fringe model is unique in that artists receive 100 per cent of ticket revenue and are not subjected to jury approval or censorship.