While the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival took place last year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation in 2020, a festival representative said Friday that this year will feel a lot more like past Fringes that Alberta’s capital has come to expect.
“It looks very similar to 2019,” said Mac Brock, a marketing specialist with the Edmonton Fringe Theatre. “We have artists back in venues, we have a free-flow site again, we have hundreds of people coming through the site every day.
“We’re not quite at the full scale of 2019. We’re still working our way back to normal… But it feels like Fringe.”
Friday marked the first full day of the 2022 edition of the Fringe. While he did not provide specific numbers, Brock said “shows are selling out.”
“If people are looking for indoor shows, we really recommend they look early,” he said. “People are flocking back to live theatre.
“We’ve missed it for three years and our Fringers are showing us that they’ve missed it. Shows are selling out left and right.”
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Brock noted an expanded outdoor music series featuring many local performers is one of the new elements of this year’s Fringe. He also said the festival’s pêhonân series, featuring performances by Indigenous talent local to Treaty 6, is expanded this year.
“(It’s) a really great series, with a lot of conversations,” Brock said.
The Fringe is back!
According to the festival’s website, this year will also see the return of KidsFringe and the adoption of e-ticketing — though physical tickets will still be for sale for those who prefer them.
Brock said what he personally is looking forward to most this year is being surprised by performances.
“There’s such a wide mix of every kind of discipline,” he said. “You’ve got circus performers, you’ve got street performers, you’ve got plays, you’ve got musicals.
“If there’s something you’re excited about, you’re going to find it here. And if you are willing to be adventurous and bold, you’re going to find something that’s going to surprise you and is going to be a story you’re going to be telling for decades to come.”
–With files from Ciara Yaschuk, Global News
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