An update from Ottawa Fringe

Dear friends,

Before the 2020 undercurrents festival kicks off tomorrow, we wanted to update you on some work we’ve been doing since the 2019 Fringe Festival. 

As you may have heard, we were made aware of two incidents of drinks being drugged in our Courtyard during the 2019 Fringe Festival. Some members of our community shared their concerns on how we responded and we are grateful for their feedback and the opportunity to improve. 

Since this past June, we have been working with the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW), the Women’s Initiative for Safer Environments (WISE), and Project SoundCheck, as well as private consultants to address our response to these incidents and update our policies around sexual violence. We have conducted a safety audit of Arts Court performance and social spaces, the results of which will inform our updated safety response policies and festival planning decisions. Core staff have undergone additional Bystander Intervention training; participation in the training will be required for all staff prior to each year’s festival. We are also creating a Code of Conduct and Disclosure Policy, which will provide a transparent process for survivors and community members in case of future incidents. 

As we work toward making our events safer for all patrons and artists, we’ll be taking active steps to improve safety in our social spaces at undercurrents this year, and we welcome your feedback. These initiatives include more visible staff and security presence in the social space, and clear signage detailing how and where patrons can seek support. 

Most importantly, we want the community involved in this process. What else can we be doing? Point out how we can do better. Tell us what we need to do more of (or less): we can be reached at; through the Contact Us page on our website; or in person during undercurrents.  We’ll take that feedback into consideration for the 2020 Fringe in June. We strive to make Fringe and undercurrents as fun, safe, and inclusive as possible and are committed to improving everyone’s festival experience.     

Thank you for your continued support of Ottawa Fringe.


Ottawa Fringe Board & Staff

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