Fringes are uncensored, non-juried theatre festivals. The first Fringe started in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1947, and has grown into one of the biggest arts festivals in the world.
The second-largest Fringe Festival is in Edmonton, Alberta, and draws nearly 800,000 attendees a year!
While touring Rocky Horror at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, Blair Gallant, the founder of the Calgary Fringe Festival, was struck by the sense of community, understanding and community identity based on tolerance that he experienced while at the festival. And the spark was ignited to create a new cultural identity for Calgary!
With a unique blend of artistic and a entrepreneurial commercial background, the foundations were set in place to make the Calgary Fringe a sustainable and culturally open festival. From the beginning, Blair wanted to build a festival from a few simple ideas:
- Create a place where a sense of community is created by using the arts as a conduit to mix bohemian artists with a culturally and socio-economically perse group.
- Provide a place where Artists are free to create without restrictions.
- Tolerance comes from the idea that just because it is wrong for me doesn’t make it wrong for you.
- The public should have the choice of being exposed to different art forms – or not.
- That the festival itself should have no other agenda other than to allow others to have an agenda
First year plans for 2006 were overly ambitious: 36 Theatre companies with 210 performances - 5 indoor theatre venues - 61 independent Film Festival - 18 local bands - 14 international street performers - 200 vendors - 24 youth circus performances - Canadian Body Painting performances daily - 10 visual artists - 10 day outdoor festival held primarily along 17 Ave SW. Theatrical performances were split between the nearby Calgary Opera rehearsal hall and the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, located in the downtown core.
2007, the Calgary Fringe Festival was re-located primarily in Downtown Core, with theatre venues at the Glenbow Museum, EPCOR Centre and the #1 Legion.
2008 and 2009 saw the Calgary Fringe Festival finally put down some roots in historic Inglewood. All theatre venues were within walking distance.
The current Calgary Fringe is now a full-length 9-day Fringe with over 160 performances, and is situated in the calendar between the Winnipeg Fringe and the Edmonton Fringe. The next phase of the Calgary Fringe Festival future will be guided by Michele Gallant, the Fringe Mom and Festival Director and Producer.
Ticket information can be found on the Ticket Info page.
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