Who We Are

Producers of the 27th Ottawa Fringe Festival (June 13-23, 2024) and the 14th undercurrents festival (February 7-14, 2024 at Arts Court Theatre). Since 2013, Ottawa Fringe has been managing Arts Court Theatre plus more studio and rehearsal spaces in the historic building. Ottawa Fringe is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization.

Staff & Board

The Ottawa Fringe Festival provides all performing artists, both emerging and established, with the opportunity to produce their work – regardless of content, form or style – and makes the Festival as affordable and accessible as possible to the members of the community. The Ottawa Fringe Festival’s mission is to empower audiences and to encourage artists to take risks, pursue their visions and develop their skills.

An open-access festival where 100% of ticket sales go to the artists. Nobody curates the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Ottawa Fringe rents the venues and programs the festival by lottery. Every show is independently produced and more artists get into the program by submitting a Bring Your Own Venue show (BYOV).

Since 1997, the Ottawa Fringe Festival has returned more than $2 million to independent artists.

In 2019, the Ottawa Fringe created the Open Doors Mentorship Program, opening up its doors as an ally by offering artistic mentorship opportunities for producers who self-identify with any of the organization’s Priority Groups. Since the inauguration of the program, 9 artists have received support and have gone on to produce successful (award winning) Fringe shows.

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Our winter festival shows the best original, contemporary theatre being created by Ottawa performers and visiting artists.

Festival founders, The Great Canadian Theatre Company, originally hosted from 2011–2014.  Now, undercurrents takes place in Ottawa’s downtown core at Arts Court.

Since 2011, undercurrents has hosted 25 world premieres and has presented more than 20 artists & collectives as part of their under development residency program.

In 2020, undercurrents successfully changed its ticketing model to be more accessible to the community. undercurrents tickets are sold on a “Pick you Price” model at $10, $20, $50. Choose your own price, no questions asked.

In 2023, undercurrents successfully piloted its first bilingual festival with the inclusion of French productions, captioned performances and our first Soirée Franco!

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When festivals wrap up, the Ottawa Fringe team hardly lets up. A very exciting moment, in January 2013 the City of Ottawa tossed us the keys to Arts Court Theatre with a contract to manage the theatre as well as several performance and rehearsal spaces in the historic building.

See what’s on stage and coming up at 2 Daly Avenue.

Visit Arts Court


Fringe Festivals trace their roots to Scotland when in 1947 several theatre companies not invited to participate in the first Edinburgh International Festival staged shows on the fringe of official venues, setting up wherever they could find space, finding audiences by word of mouth, and succeeding (or failing) on the strength of their talents alone.

Embracing this spirit of artistic freedom, the first North American Fringe Festival was established in Edmonton in 1982. Audiences were wildly enthusiastic and the Edmonton Fringe is now second only to the Edinburgh Festival in size. Encouraged by this tremendous success, many cities across Canada and United States created Fringe Festivals of their own, each with its own distinctive style, but all adhering to the principles of accessibility, affordability and artistic daring.

The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals

The Ottawa Fringe Festival is a member of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals. CAFF has established a set of guidelines and philosophies to which each Fringe Festival must adhere. Fringe Festival performers are selected in a non-juried process, and the Festival exercises no control over the artistic content of the performances. In addition, 100% of ticket revenue is returned directly to the artists themselves.

Each year, the CAFF touring circuit provides more than 800 theatre companies with an opportunity to present their work in a supportive environment. This circuit appeals to nearly one million people who attend Fringe Festivals in North America every year. This circuit allows for the continued evolution and development of artists and audiences from around the world.