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Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival

Intrepid Theatre

There are eight more shows included in this year’s Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival, the geometry of which is made possible by the addition of a venue: St Andrews Church on Douglas. But even though Intrepid Theatre has added this space for the week-long event, it seems that this year, more artists than ever are “taking it to the streets.”

“One thing that’s really interesting this year is we have a large number of site-specific performances,” remarks Sean Guist, who serves as Marketing and Development Manager for the Festival. “This is the highest number of site-specific shows we’ve had in the Festival. That’s a big influx of people who want to create this experiential, outside-of-traditional-theatre type of show.”

For example, one troupe is performing in a coffee shop, with some performers behind the counter, some coming through the door, and seating at the tables. “The premise of the piece wouldn’t work in a theatre,” explains Fringe producer Sammie Gough. “The drama unfolds around customers coming in,” and the customer-eye-view is an integral part of the audience’s experience.

There’s also a mobile comic piece, served up by two performers satirizing summer tourism in Victoria. “The audience meets in Bastion Square; two comedians take them on a walking tour of downtown,” says Guist. “They’re attending the Fringe, thinking mistakenly that it’s some kind of paranormal conference, and they’re a part of it.” The hilarity ensues when various “important” paranormal sites are pointed out to the audience as they are guided around.

With 58 shows from all over the globe, “there are a lot of choices to be made,” says Guist. The best way to know what to see is to come to the Fringe Eve Preview block party on the Wednesday night before the Festival begins. Each act gets two minutes onstage to pitch their show. “People come and they have their programs out, and their Sharpies, and they are circling and highlighting,” he explains. Food trucks and a beer garden make the free event a real party, and with “all sorts of performance styles and genres, people can get a little sampler.”

2017 Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival, August 23 – September 23. For tickets, passes, schedules, and more info, see intrepidtheatre.com/festivals/fringe-festival. Fringe Eve Preview Block Party, August 23, 6 – 9:30pm, Centennial Square.

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