Home Ready, set, Fringe!

Ready, set, Fringe!

by admin June 11, 2010

Ready, set, Fringe!

by admin June 11, 2010

It’s around the same age as the average Concordia student, and you’re cordially invited to its big birthday bash.

The Fringe Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this June with an appropriate 20 days of theatre, dance parties, pancakes and St. Ambroise beer.

The concept of the Fringe is simple: it’s a festival without censorship that is accessible for both artists and audiences. Ticket prices are set no higher than $10, and all the proceeds go back to the artists.

The special thing about the Fringe is the immense joie-de-vivre that goes with it. Fringe artists are chosen by lottery, and you never know what to expect when you go to a show. People at the festival are incredibly easygoing and willing to swap critiques of shows.

The fest itself is spread out over several venues on the Plateau, and coincides with the St-Laurent street fair where vendors are selling food and other wares at cheap prices. The outside home base is the Fringe park at the corner of St-Laurent Boulevard and Rachel Street. Formerly known as the beer tent, the location has the ticket office, info booth, cheap beer, and a slew of live concerts and shows throughout the day.

At the helm of the Fringe is Concordia dance student Amy Blackmore. Once a volunteer who practically stumbled onto the scene in 2000, next year she will be taking over as the producer of the St. Ambroise Fringe Festival from Jeremy Hechtman, the long-time, burly, de facto king of the Montreal Fringe. He’ll continue to be on the team as a director of MainLine, the company that produces the Fringe.

For the last few years, Blackmore has been Hechtman’s right hand and apprentice, a petite, tough but friendly woman next to the big guy with the beard and kilt. Blackmore gravitated from being in shows (she was in three) to wanting to run the show. “I really loved doing [performances], but the allure of becoming producer was strong,” she said. Along with producing, choreography remains a strong interest for her.

At 26, she’s just a few years older than the Fringe. Blackmore took off what would have been her final year at Concordia in order to juggle the demands of the Fringe last year. For the 21st edition she’ll be finishing her studies while acting as producer, a heavy load to handle.

When asked what the next 20 years for the Fringe will be like, Blackmore hopes that there will be more dance content at the outdoor site, and that the festival will continue to be bilingual – something she thinks bridges the two solitudes of French and English.

Regardless of where the Fringe will be in another two decades, Blackmore says it’ll remain fun.

“Fringe is like summer camp for adults – 10 to 20 days where you forget about life, you forget about the world, it’s all about the Fringe.” The campfire where everyone gathers at night is the 13th Hour, the late night live talk show hosted by local personas Zach Winter and Sweet Sweet Jimmy Priest. And if you do an overnight shift outside at the Fringe park, you might need your camp sleeping bag.

Blackmore emphasizes what’s important by referring to a line from a 1991 Fringe report: “”Ultimately, fringe is fun.’ That sentence – it’s still top priority.”

Tips for Fringe-ing Successfully

1. Show up early to shows. Most shows have a strict “no latecomers’ policy, and otherwise you can’t get dibs on a good seat in the smaller venues.

2. Plan ahead. If you plan on being a dedicated showgoer and want to catch a lot of plays, mark down what you want to see, try to get tickets at least an hour ahead at the ticket booth or online, and map out your plan of action. Venues can be spread out over the Plateau, which is not car-friendly. Budget enough time to eat and get places if you’re doing a marathon.

3. Blackmore suggests asking volunteers working at the beer tent for advice on good shows. They always know, she says. People also fill out buzz forms on what they hated/loved, and they’re posted at the Fringe park.

4. Bring a friend, or make one. The Fringe attracts an easygoing and often international crowd.

5. Volunteer. You get Fringe bucks for volunteering, which allows you to see shows or get beer for free. If you have some leftover, there’s a volunteer auction at the end of fest where you can swap your coloured currency for sweet gifts. It’s also a fabulous way to get to know other showgoers and performers.

For a full list of the Fringe events, including shows, Drag Races, the 13th Hour, Piknik Electronik on St-Laurent Boulevard, and a free opening night show with Hollerado, check out montrealfringe.ca. The Fringe runs June 1-20.

To volunteer, email the co-ordinator at benevol@montrealfringe.ca

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It’s around the same age as the average Concordia student, and you’re cordially invited to its big birthday bash.

The Fringe Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this June with an appropriate 20 days of theatre, dance parties, pancakes and St. Ambroise beer.

The concept of the Fringe is simple: it’s a festival without censorship that is accessible for both artists and audiences. Ticket prices are set no higher than $10, and all the proceeds go back to the artists.

The special thing about the Fringe is the immense joie-de-vivre that goes with it. Fringe artists are chosen by lottery, and you never know what to expect when you go to a show. People at the festival are incredibly easygoing and willing to swap critiques of shows.

The fest itself is spread out over several venues on the Plateau, and coincides with the St-Laurent street fair where vendors are selling food and other wares at cheap prices. The outside home base is the Fringe park at the corner of St-Laurent Boulevard and Rachel Street. Formerly known as the beer tent, the location has the ticket office, info booth, cheap beer, and a slew of live concerts and shows throughout the day.

At the helm of the Fringe is Concordia dance student Amy Blackmore. Once a volunteer who practically stumbled onto the scene in 2000, next year she will be taking over as the producer of the St. Ambroise Fringe Festival from Jeremy Hechtman, the long-time, burly, de facto king of the Montreal Fringe. He’ll continue to be on the team as a director of MainLine, the company that produces the Fringe.

For the last few years, Blackmore has been Hechtman’s right hand and apprentice, a petite, tough but friendly woman next to the big guy with the beard and kilt. Blackmore gravitated from being in shows (she was in three) to wanting to run the show. “I really loved doing [performances], but the allure of becoming producer was strong,” she said. Along with producing, choreography remains a strong interest for her.

At 26, she’s just a few years older than the Fringe. Blackmore took off what would have been her final year at Concordia in order to juggle the demands of the Fringe last year. For the 21st edition she’ll be finishing her studies while acting as producer, a heavy load to handle.

When asked what the next 20 years for the Fringe will be like, Blackmore hopes that there will be more dance content at the outdoor site, and that the festival will continue to be bilingual – something she thinks bridges the two solitudes of French and English.

Regardless of where the Fringe will be in another two decades, Blackmore says it’ll remain fun.

“Fringe is like summer camp for adults – 10 to 20 days where you forget about life, you forget about the world, it’s all about the Fringe.” The campfire where everyone gathers at night is the 13th Hour, the late night live talk show hosted by local personas Zach Winter and Sweet Sweet Jimmy Priest. And if you do an overnight shift outside at the Fringe park, you might need your camp sleeping bag.

Blackmore emphasizes what’s important by referring to a line from a 1991 Fringe report: “”Ultimately, fringe is fun.’ That sentence – it’s still top priority.”

Tips for Fringe-ing Successfully

1. Show up early to shows. Most shows have a strict “no latecomers’ policy, and otherwise you can’t get dibs on a good seat in the smaller venues.

2. Plan ahead. If you plan on being a dedicated showgoer and want to catch a lot of plays, mark down what you want to see, try to get tickets at least an hour ahead at the ticket booth or online, and map out your plan of action. Venues can be spread out over the Plateau, which is not car-friendly. Budget enough time to eat and get places if you’re doing a marathon.

3. Blackmore suggests asking volunteers working at the beer tent for advice on good shows. They always know, she says. People also fill out buzz forms on what they hated/loved, and they’re posted at the Fringe park.

4. Bring a friend, or make one. The Fringe attracts an easygoing and often international crowd.

5. Volunteer. You get Fringe bucks for volunteering, which allows you to see shows or get beer for free. If you have some leftover, there’s a volunteer auction at the end of fest where you can swap your coloured currency for sweet gifts. It’s also a fabulous way to get to know other showgoers and performers.

For a full list of the Fringe events, including shows, Drag Races, the 13th Hour, Piknik Electronik on St-Laurent Boulevard, and a free opening night show with Hollerado, check out montrealfringe.ca. The Fringe runs June 1-20.

To volunteer, email the co-ordinator at benevol@montrealfringe.ca

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