Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Winnipeg Fringe Festival July 19 to July 30
It is hard to believe as Winnipeg Fringe Festival begins Wednesday, July 19 that this is the 30th year of the summer theatre program. In 1988, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre became the only regional theatre to run a fringe and over the years it has become the second largest in North America with 170 companies performing. It is the second oldest after Edmonton which was founded in 1982.
It has come a long way since the inspiration of Edinburgh Fringe which is the granddaddy of them all. Canada now has more fringe theatre festivals than anywhere else in the world and attract artists from many countries. The acting companies are picked by lottery, are unjuried and can keep 100% of box office.
What does this mean for Winnipggers? It means that much of the downtown centered around Old Market Square and up and down three streets near RMTC's building there are thousands of people adventuring out to see a wild and woolly variety of theatre performances. Reviews by media, on social media or friends and family telling each other results in many sell outs.
There are times when Winnipeggers get down on themselves but Winnipeg Fringe is one of those times we do it better than almost anyone. The downtown is alive and well and there is something for everyone.