By Amy Badry
Calgary’s Fringe can be categorized as quaint and charming. Not interested in competing for huge crowds, the festival has completed a successful fifth year in the city. Presenting 27 unique and original theatre works over nine days, Fringe Fest is a diverse, uncensored, awesome example of alternative theatre.
Canada has more fringe festivals per capita than any other country and our northern neighbour Edmonton boasts the second largest fringe in the world. The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals have set some guidelines in order to keep the true spirit of fringe alive — low-ticket prices ensure performances are accessible and proceeds from the tickets go directly back to performers.
Fringe performances last about an hour, giving you the chance to see a couple of acts a night. This year the theater performances were held at various locations around Inglewood, the oldest neighborhood in Calgary. Venues span from church basements to community centres and art galleries. Obstacles like travel requirements and budgets have ensured the performances and plays are usually one or two man shows with minimal props and backdrops.
Everyone from amateur artists to professional performers are welcome to perform at the festival, keeping the true nature of uncensored and un-juried performances intact. If there are more acts than spots available artists are picked at random. With no limits on content and no censorship applied to the acts a distinctive, controversial and assorted mix of performances was seen. From serious to seriously hilarious there is something for everyone at fringe.