Posted 2014/08/21 by jeremy in On The Street

Community of the Fringe

There’s more to the Fringe than meets the eye, as many an unwitting visitor has discovered.

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Fringe executive director Jill Roszel shows off the special edition Fringed and Confused beer by Big Rock, during Wednesday night’s Fringe Forum.

“One of the best things we’ve heard is, ‘there’s theatre at this beer tent festival?’” jokes Jill Roszel, executive director for the Fringe. It was an actual comment made by a patron, and has since become an inside joke around the Fringe offices.

But even some seasoned Fringers may not know about some of the additional offerings of the festival, like the Fringe Forums.

Though the forums have been around for a while, Murray Utas explains that the educational workshop format was often hard pressed to compete against performances and the allure of nearby beer tents during a packed festival.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re not competing against ourselves,” says the Fringe artistic director.

“Traditionally, we were trying to do some things for the community, the first-time artists, the senior artists, touring artists. The education used to be connected to these a lot and I thought, who wants to come to an educational thing at a theatre festival? You want to have some fun with it.”

“We want to not only inform you but entertain you, we want you to come and be part of something and part of a larger community.”

Wednesday night’s forum was organized as a We Should Know Each Other event, a format that started in Calgary about five years ago, and is gaining popularity. It took place at the ATCO Community Patio, which, apropos, is licensed and serving beer, and brought in a heady mix of artists, volunteers, audience and “others” (as more than a few name tags identified).

If you’re not performing or attending a performance, they’re well worth checking out. Pixel Blue College is hosting the next one tonight, Thurs Aug 21 at 7:30.