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)


Festival Director’s Message

by Patrick Gauthier

May 29, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Ottawa Fringe Festival! I’ve been around Fringe a long time, and am thrilled to have recently been named Festival Director. This is shaping up to be another great year for the Fringe: 400 performances of 60 shows in 14 venues over 11 days. How many of those shows will you see?

And while the Fringe has been on an incredible run of success over the past few years, we’re always looking to improve your experience, so we’ve made a few changes to the festival this year:

  • Advance Tickets – 100% of our tickets are  now available in advance. Really want to see the show that’s been selling out every night? Buy your ticket in advance and avoid standing in line only missing out. 
  • More Box Offices –  it’s easier than ever to get tickets. In addition to the main Box Office located in Arts Court, we’ve added a satellite box office in the lobby of Studio Léonard-Beaulne, where you can buy advance tickets and 5 & 10-show passes.
  • Half-Price Hut – looking for discount tickets? Every day the Half-Price Hut (found in the Fringe Courtyard) will offer rush tickets for performances taking place that day and the next (and you you’ll find 5 & 10 show passes and merch there as well!).  
  • More Free Programming – in addition to a series of free concerts in the Courtyard, this year we’ve added Fringe Late Night – a late night talk show running every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at midnight in the Arts Court Studio.

And I’d be remiss, of course, if I didn’t mention that Ottawa’s undercurrents: theatre below the mainstream festival will be produced by the Fringe and take place at Arts Court in February 2015 – produced by the Ottawa Fringe! We couldn’t be happier to bring a winter festival to Arts Court Theatre.

And speaking of 2015… you may have heard Arts Court will be undergoing a major redevelopment starting this fall, involving construction of a new building where the Courtyard is today. And while the new building’s additional performance spaces will will undoubtedly benefit the Fringe Festival moving forward, I may need twice as long a Director’s Message to tell you about all the changes in 2015. Best rest assured, the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival will take place in Downtown Rideau, and we’ve already begun planning. Stay tuned for details.

Remember: the Fringe returns 100% of ticket sales directly back to our participating artists. A $10 ticket is the best deal in town, so I encourage you to take a risk – buy a ticket to something you might otherwise not and discover an artist who might become a favourite. That’s what the Fringe is all about, isn’t it? 

Happy Fringing!



Fringe for Families

by Greggory Clark

May 29, 2014

While Fringe shows with titles such as Dicky Dicky, Can’t Argue With Pussy, and Deranged Dating aren’t likely appropriate for children, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy whatever show you please.

For an afternoon off, register your children (ages 4-12) for a Saturday afternoon drama camp by Orleans Young Players teaching team.  There’s no cost for parents with a 5- or 10-show pass.  More information about the Mini-Fringers program here.

Otherwise, see below a list of family friendly shows being performed at the 2014 Ottawa Fringe Festival. The ratings have been provided by the artists.

undercurrents 2015: call for submissions

by Greggory Clark

May 21, 2014


undercurrents: theatre below the mainstream

undercurrents: theatre below the mainstream is Ottawa’s festival of independent theatre, produced by the Ottawa Fringe Festival and taking place at Arts Court from February 12-21, 2015. Now in its fifth year, undercurrents seeks original, innovative work by Canadian artists.

Showcasing the best independent theatre from Ottawa and across the country, undercurrents will present five shows in 2015, and invites submissions from Ottawa-based and national companies. The festival will consider applications from established and emerging artists who are working in new play creation, as well as from those touring previously produced original work. We encourage submissions from artists experimenting in form, style, and creation process.

We are also seeking submissions from artists who have have short pieces (under 30 minutes), works-in-progress, or live art/installation pieces to be programmed in the Arts Court Studio.

Participating productions will receive up to five performances in rep, within a shared venue environment (i.e. a shared lighting plot with show-specific specials, shared dressing room space, limited tech time and storage space). Productions should be 50-80 minutes in length, and must be able to set up and strike in less than 30 minutes.

Companies and artists who wish to have their production considered for undercurrents are invited to submit the following materials no later Friday, August 1, 2014 at 5:00

  1. A proposal describing the project and its history (maximum three pages)
  2. A list of participating artists and biographies/CVs of lead artists
  3. Technical specifications for the production
  4. A script sample or completed script
  5. Additional support material (optional)
  6. An archival or promotional recording of the proposed play (if available)

Applications will be accepted in electronic format only. Applicants are asked to send all written materials (numbers 1-5 above) in a single PDF file, and provide links to video-sharing sites where archival or promotional recordings of the proposed work can viewed.

Questions regarding the festival or the application process can be directed to Patrick Gauthier, Festival Director, at; or by phone: 613.232.6162 x101.

More information on the undercurrents festival can be found online at

2-For-1: Youth Infringement Festival

by Hayley Robateau

May 2, 2014

Now in its 16th year, the Youth Infringement Festival offers a unique opportunity for budding artists to create, produce and perform in a professional setting. The Festival showcases six original one-act plays written, directed, stage-managed, and performed by artists and producers who haven’t yet reached a 26th birthday. For more information, visit or

Youth Infringement Festival                               

@ Arts Court

2 Daly Avenue

May 13-17, 2014



May 13 & 14
6:00PM show


Check back often, find the Festival on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to the Ottawa Fringe newsletter for deals like this (and more) all year-round.

$5 Off: Roller Derby Saved My Soul

by Hayley Robateau

May 1, 2014

Amy is a shy comic book geek who envies her younger sister’s exciting life. June is strong, brash and plays extreme sports. Through June, Amy discovers roller derby, gains confidence and finally grows into person she’s always wanted to be.

Comics, fandom and the struggles of the introvert: In a world of tropes, one woman gets off the couch and unleashes the hero within in this critically acclaimed action-adventure comedy on roller skates.

Roller Derby Saved My Soul                               

@ Arts Court

2 Daly Avenue

May 30, 2014




May 30
7:30PM show


Check back often, find the Festival on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to the Ottawa Fringe newsletter for deals like this (and more) all year-round.

$10 Matinees: Corpus

by Hayley Robateau

April 30, 2014

A young genocide scholar stumbles across the mysterious relationship between the wife of a Nazi officer and a Polish Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz. As she investigates a dark history, Megan is torn between her quest for academic fame and the unexpected charms of her online lover, the seductive Heinrich. A tale about history and memory told with humour and compassion.


@ Arts Court

2 Daly Avenue

May 1-10, 2014

Preview: May 1



$10 Matinees
May 3, 7, 10
2PM show


Check back often, find the Festival on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to the Ottawa Fringe newsletter for deals like this (and more) all year-round.