Final box office tallies are expected to confirm record-breaking numbers:

  • 40 sold out performances
  • Artists paid more than $107,000
  • Attendance over 13,500

Two world premieres by Ottawa artists sold out their entire runs. Plus their Metro Best of Fest performances on closing night. Those are I think my boyfriend should have an accent by Emily Pearlman and The Elephant Girls by Margo MacDonald. Martin Dockery’s Bursting Into Flames is the third show to have sold 100% of its available tickets.

A full list of sold out performances is available at

MacDonald’s play The Elephant Girls has been held over for two additional performances at Arts Court Theatre, July 9 and 10. Tickets are available at Tickets are $15, or $12 with a Fringe Pin. Unused 5-show and 10-show passes will be accepted at the door.

On closing night, The Elephant Girls was awarded with the Critics’ Pick Award as well as the award for Outstanding Production. A full list of award recipients is here.

2015 Closing Night Awards

by Greggory Clark

June 29, 2015

Volunteer of the Year Kirstin Gelevan
Steve Sauvé Spirit of the Fringe Award Fraser MacKinnon
Emerging Artist Award
Presented by the University of Ottawa
Tamlynn Bryson (Working Title: Undecided)
Outstanding Original Work Tonya Jone Miller (Threads)
Outstanding Production The Elephant Girls (Parry Riposte Productions)
Outstanding Solo Performance Daniel Tobias (The Orchid and the Crow)
Outstanding Ensemble Scott Garland, Matt Pilipiak, & Victor Pokinko (Three Men in a Boat)
Critics’ Pick: Best Show
Presented by the Capital Critics’ Circle
The Elephant Girls (Parry Riposte Productions)
–Runner up: Three Men in a Boat (Pea Green Theatre Group)
Critics’ Pick: Best Performance
Presented by the Capital Critics’ Circle
John D. Huston (Screwtape)
–Runner up: Martin Dockery (Bursting Into Flames, Inescapable)
Judges’ Choice The Sink (Nick Wade & Whimsimole)

Shortlist: Critics’ Pick

by Greggory Clark

June 24, 2015

On closing night, the 2015 Critics’ Pick will be named—an award presented annually by the Capital Critics’ Circle.

This morning the CCC have released their shortlist for the award.

The Capital Critics’ Circle are: Iris Winston, Kat Fournier, Barb Gray, Patrick Langston, Jamie Portman, Alvina Ruprecht, Maja Stefanowska, Rajka Stefanowska.

Best show

Bursting Into Flames by Martin Dockery (Martin Dockery)
Inescapable by Martin Dockery (Ribbit RePublic)
The Elephant Girls by Margo MacDonald (Parry Riposte Productions)
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (Pea Green Theatre Group)
Weird: The Witches of Macbeth by Phillip Psutka & Lindsay Bellaire (Theatre Arcturus)


Martin Dockery Bursting Into Flames and Inescapable
John D. Huston Screwtape
Margo MacDonald The Elephant Girls
Daniel Tobias The Orchid and the Crow
Gemma Wilcox Magical Mystery Detour


Membership Months: THUNK!theatre

by Tony Adams

June 11, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.49.22 AM
  • Up next: The Lost and Find at Magnetic North Theatre Festival
  • Recently: Far & Near & Here at undercurrents and The Lost and Find at subDevision

by Tony Adams

I think I may have gushed a bit, but these guys are just so awesome to hang with.

THUNK!Theatre formed after a series of run-ins between Geoff McBride and Karen Balcome… followed by an “art date.” For those not familiar, an art date is just as intimidating as a real date, if not more (terrifying). A meeting to see if—aesthetically—you will connect and relate. You try your best to be interesting yet remain honest. There’s a worthwhile idea that you could perhaps collaborate on a new project.

They clicked. And funny enough the work they create, I feel, has taken on similar qualities to a date: namely vulnerability. In THUNK! creations I feel there is a sense of risk, learning and discovery, and a hope of creating a connection to another.

I showed up at Geoff’s to find him and Karen in the midst of re-working their piece The Lost and Find, being presented next at Mag North. Notebooks sprawled out, coffee brewed, snacks served—this is their studio. It was like walking in on Einstein writing out his complex formulas. To me: genius in motion. To them it’s more like, “yeah, this is what we do.”

While talking about the “eco-system” that is Ottawa theatre, it is clear they are looking to better the whole rather than THUNK!’s piece. Geoff and Karen hold themselves accountable to a high level of quality. It would seem to me they’re creating work that is relevant rather than creating work to stay relevant­. And while this means that there may not be a multi-year operating grant in their future, they are quite content working project-to-project, speaking up and creating when it is important to them.

The way they work is no accident, but I don’t know if they realize how integrated it is in who they are as people and the work they make: the snacks sprawled out, the conversations they create, the chances they take, and the connections they make with themselves and others–they’re what what we crave in our everyday, and that’s reflected in every piece I have seen from THUNK!. Their work lies at the core of what it is to be human­– connection, indulgence, and discovery. Also, lists. They love making lists.

I’m willing to bet THUNK!theatre will be around for a long time, as Karen and Geoff’s artistic practice is so intertwined with who they are as people. I left feeling uplifted and inspired. I walked in with respect and curiosity and came out with admiration and a huge art crush on these two.

May and June are Membership Months. We’re checking in and catching up with as many new members as possible—as well as some who have been around before the first Ottawa Fringe Festival in 1997. If you’re a creator, know that the Ottawa Fringe is here to support your work year-round and want you to be a member, too. Visit for info.


2015 print programs are going out this weekend

by Greggory Clark

May 29, 2015

Beginning Saturday May 30, pick up your 2015 festival program from one of these distribution partners.

Downtown Rideau

Arts Court / 2 Daly
Wine Rack / Rideau & Nelson at Loblaw’s


Wine Rack / 54 Byward Market Square
I Deal Coffee / 176 Dalhousie


Seed to Sausage General Store / 729 Gladstone
Wine Rack / 277 Elgin
Wine Rack / Bank & Somerset at Hartman’s


GCTC / 1233 Wellington W
West End Well / 969 Wellington W


Wine Rack / Richmond & Kirkwood at Superstore


Wine Rack / Bank & Third

Old Ottawa South

Wine Rack / Bank & Hopewell


Membership Months: Rachel Eugster

by Tony Adams

May 26, 2015

  • Jill of all trades and master of tons.
  • Artistic Director of new Spidersilk Productions and Co-AD of Bear & Co.
  • Up next: world premiere of Whose Aemilia? at the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival
  • Recently: Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, and as Alice in Age of Arousal (both Bear & Co. productions)

by Tony Adams

Hanging out with Rachel is like what you would expect at a fancy dinner party—where you talk about art and community—minus the pretentiousness and frequent lulls in conversation.

On a grey afternoon I was lucky enough to stroll about Hintonburg with the ever-lovely Rachel Eugster, and her greyhound Vallentine. One of my most favourite things is to chat with a seasoned artist and this is for two reasons: 1. they have a unique perspective and understanding of the scene and, 2. all you need to do is give that artist a spark and, just maybe, she or he could go on offering stories, insight, and advice. This was very true of Rachel, and I was just happy to walk along listening beside her.

Rachel has been a freelance writer for years, getting her start in Boston. She told me about one particularly interesting article about exploding frogs in Germany (ask her, it’s great). But I know Rachel as a theatre artist, so was surprised to find out that the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival will mark her debut as a playwright, with Whose Aemilia?

What started out as curiosity—have you heard of Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady,” a woman who, apparently helped write some the Bard’s best female characters?—has now become so much more. Aemilia Lanyer (that’s her, the Dark Lady) was the first female poet to be published in England. Her views were considered radical for the times—extremely feminist, hundreds of years before the word “feminist”—and it is Rachel’s undertaking to have audiences learn about Lanyer, someone who seems, rather suspiciously, to have been omitted from the pages of history. Well, not entirely redacted. Lanyer is alleged to have been a lover of Shakespeare’s. But would Lanyer be content to stand forever in the shadow of a man, however great? She is an astonishing figure whose legacy has been completely eclipsed by that romantic—and wholly unproven—notion.

Hearing Rachel speak about the play I hear the tone of a hardened cop at a drug bust. Determined. With a penchant for justice. She wants people know Aemilia as the incredible woman she was rather than for Aemilia’s alleged relationship to a maybe fictional historical figure. Yeah, I went there.

Walking through Hintonburg I was quite struck with how at ease Rachel seems to be. Passing her neighbours and hearing anecdotes, passing by houses she fought to save from aggressive developers, feeling Rachel just get lost in her stories; you can tell she has worked hard to get where she is and is more than happy to be there.

Rachel’s curiosity, I suspect, is responsible for a lot of the things in her life. Her career is more of a quilt than a blanket, stitching together passions to make a living. She is an actor, Co-Artistic Director of Bear & Co., vocalist for the Dragon’s Tea Trio, an opera soloist, author of an award-winning children’s book The Pocket Mommy, freelance writer, editor, and now playwright. As a young artist and dreamer I am totally inspired looking at Rachel’s life and at her accomplishments. Rather than succumb to The Man, she seems to have taken life and made it work for her… regardless of how insane taxes can be for multiple veins of freelance work.

Basically, go talk to her. Find Rachel at the Fringe Festival and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. It’s rare to meet someone so accomplished yet so humble and inviting. Even after our interview she apologized for talking “too much” and wants to hear all about me! Sit with her for a story. You’ll be glad you did.

May and June are Membership Months. We’re checking in and catching up with as many new members as possible—as well as some who have been around before the first Ottawa Fringe Festival in 1997. If you’re a creator, know that the Ottawa Fringe is here to support your work year-round. Visit for info.

Membership Months: EFT

by Tony Adams

May 20, 2015


Membership Months: Experimental Farm Theatre

  • New on the scene: transplanted EFT from Toronto to Ottawa a year ago
  • Up next: EFT-up: Just like you at the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival
  • Recently: monthly residency at Pressed (750 Gladstone Ave)

by Tony Adams

First time I was introduced to Chris Hannay and Dani Alon: Crush Improv’s monthly ‘Bout Time. I distinctly remember a hilarious scene in which “bullying” was their audience-provided inspiration, and then a series of, “What’s wrong chumpy?”

Needless to say, like most improv shows… you had to be there to get it.

The other evening, I got to hang out with these two to talk pop culture, dreams, and of course comedy.

I’m kind of awkward. So things were a little bit awkward. We didn’t have much common ground yet. When I noticed a list of titles for what seemed to be potential sketches for Experimental Farm Theatre’s Fringe show Just Like You, we found our vein: comedy.

If you’ve ever talked comedy with comedians, the discussion is rarely jokey or light; it actually takes on a very serious tone sometimes. It was the same with Chris and Dani that evening. We talked for a long time, going over their influences (definitely strong roots in Kids in the Hall) and comedic ideals—with the same kind of intensity and passion that I assume priests would exude when discussing morality or religion. EFT’s comedy seems less of a hobby and more of a life practise.

Two things really grabbed me about their approach to the work they do: EFT’s work ethic and their performance philosophy.

EFT approaches comedy and improv completely backwards! The last thing either Chris or Dani seem to care about is getting a laugh—even going so far as having made a no-puns rule. The 1-2 punch set up is not for them. Rather, their fundamentals lie in crafting an interesting story. When they speak about their work they are frank and to the point. They will admit when they’re off and have had a bad set—Chris describes the feeling after a bad set as one of the worst feelings in the world. But rather than beat themselves up about it, he takes it as a moment to learn and bounce back from.

To touch on their work ethic… EFT record every show, and not just to sit back and laugh at their own jokes (although part of me wonders if this was the fodder for material in EFT’s upcoming Fringe show). These performers take time to critically review their footage looking for ways to improve. There is nothing stagnant about this company.

Other Canadian cities like Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver are home to permanent improv comedy venues. Chris and Dani have told me they hope this is in the stars for Ottawa, too. On top of EFT’s monthly gig at Pressed and hosting workshops, the group will be putting on a sketch show at the 2015 Ottawa Fringe: EFT-up: Just Like You.

I leave you with a poem:

Both Chris and Dani trained
at Toronto’s Second City
and now
are putting the full array
of their skills on display.
These guys are here to stay.

And they are here for all the right reasons of making our city something great. Welcome to Ottawa, Dani, Chris, and EFT.


May and June are Membership Months. We’re checking in and catching up with as many new members as possible—as well as some who have been around before the first Ottawa Fringe Festival in 1997. If you’re a creator, know that the Ottawa Fringe is here to support your work year-round. Visit for info.

Membership Months: Sean Devine

by Tony Adams

May 12, 2015



  • Playwright-in-residence at the Great Canadian Theatre Company
  • Co-Artistic Director of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Ottawa newcomers from Vancouver
  • Up next: Re:Union at Magnetic North Theatre Festival
  • Recently: Suit Up at subDevision


by Tony Adams

Late April in the Fritzi Gallery (at the GCTC, where he is also playwright-in-residence) I met with Sean Devine. While waiting on my teammate/our friend Jade Dolan, Sean got started asking me questions about the work I do and the shows I make. Listening to me blab for 10 or so minutes about a recent production, Happiness, Sean already had some solid advice on how to make the show more adaptable, how to get it to festivals and which ones to go to, and where we can look for funding. I was so jaw-dropped by the amount of know-how he has, and how simple Sean makes it seem. Like a heart surgeon strolling into the operating room, “Yeah. Okay no worries, I got this.” And if I continue this simile, he would operate and it would turn out great.

The thing I admire most about Sean, and it’s been apparent since I first worked with him at Salamander Theatre, is that if he says he can do something, he will do it.

Once Jade arrived we turned the tables on Sean, which isn’t hard because he’s got a lot to say. We got to talking about his recent move to Ottawa and the big “but why?” People from Ottawa – myself included – tend to seem confused when others decide to make this government town their home. Aside from a desire to be closer to family, Sean has come here with a strong intent to make a mark in town producing for Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. While chatting he’s very open about his aspirations and what H&HG would like to see in Ottawa. Sean talks about becoming an AD or GM for a theatre like the NAC or the GCTC. In a tight-knit community, he’s situating H&HG as a regularly producing and integrated vessel, working on projects that extend beyond the theatre. Sean seems quite keen when he tells me the scene in Ottawa could become something that people from across the country come to know. H&HG see a lot of promise and opportunity here (or they wouldn’t transplant from Vancouver, now would they?)

Producing in both cities now, H&HG are one of several companies producing at a high-caliber level in Vancouver. Though to my knowledge, Ottawa doesn’t really have a company in H&HG’s niche. They create work that challenges beliefs politically as well as personally.

“What is becoming of our world? What is my role in it? What can I do about it?” The sorts of questions a recent H&HG production brought to mind (Suit Up at subDevision).

H&HG produce big and with big messages. Often a piece revolves around a personal experience amongst large political actions, exemplified by Re:Union which will premiere at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in June. A look at the story of Quaker Norman Morrison, a man who set himself on fire in front of the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam War.

Since arriving to Ottawa, Sean and partner Alexa (Co-Artistic Director of H&HG) have jumped right into the deep end, premiering at the subDevision site-specific festival. Next month Sean will direct Re:Union at Mag North. It’s an opportunity he seems excited for and to me seems like a perfect introduction and platform to show Ottawa what H&HG are capable of. If I may say so myself, we as a city are fortunate to have someone dedicated to creating socially and politically relevant work and I am thrilled to experience what Sean, Alexa, and H&HG bring to our scene.

May and June are Membership Months. We’re checking in and catching up with as many new members as possible—as well as some who have been around before the first Ottawa Fringe Festival in 1997. If you’re a creator, know that the Ottawa Fringe is here to support your work year-round. Visit for info.

Where has a year gone?

by Greggory Clark

April 1, 2015

Bummer news. Some crappy issues mean we’ve had to revert to a 2014 back-up of the Ottawa Fringe blog. So, there goes. In time we’ll publish and backdate some of the more important posts which have gone missing. For now, drop a line to if you’re looking for something particular and can’t find it here.

Seasonal job postings (2015)

by Greggory Clark

March 23, 2015

The Ottawa Fringe Festival is looking to fill seasonal positions with talented folks.

  • Box office coordinator
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Production coordinator
  • Fundraising and outreach coordinator

How to apply
Please send your current CV along with a cover letter to by 5pm on Monday April 6, 2015. Please indicate in the subject line the job title(s) for which you would like to be considered.

These positions are funded in part through the Canada Summer Jobs initiatives. In order to be eligible, individuals must:

  • be between 15 and 30 years of age,
  • have been registered as full-time students in the previous academic year and intend to return to school on a full-time basis in the next academic year,
  • be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred.

Click here to read the job descriptions (PDF)