Posted 2015/08/19 by jeremy in On The Street

YEGfringefemmes, and Dudes

This year’s Fringe has seen a welcome trend in celebrating #yegfringefemmes, as the hashtag hit the Twitter and began trending. This is #supercali-FRINGE-ilistic.

In the last few days I’ve come across a fair number of strong, creative Fringe women who are expressing themselves in intriguing, independent and challenging ways – Antonia Lassar (PTSD:thePlay), Eleanor O’Brien (Lust & Marriage), Amy Shostak (co-host, Late Night Cabaret), Morgan Nadeau (Please be Seated; E-TownClownCabaret), Jessica and Chloe (Caws & Effect) – and there are so many more.

But just as welcome is hearing from men who are enlightened about gender issues and have healthy, positive relationships with women. Martin Dockery is a staple at the Edmonton Fringe, with a string of critically acclaimed runs here over the last six years. When it comes to relationships, says the veteran performer, the festival circuit can toy with your emotions.



“You have these two-week microcosms, where you’re living somewhere, doing a particular job with a particular set of friends, and then it all gets reshuffled. The party atmosphere is in full effect, so you’re always going from one two-week long party to another. People feel very comfortable with each other, and kind of live for the moment but… it can get very disorienting.”

On the other hand, he and his wife, Vanessa, met on the festival circuit. “We hooked up in 2010 but then, that Fringe ends as they all do, and we moved on,” Dockery recalls.

The couple reunited once or twice more that summer, and then Dockery made a proposal. “I said, hey, what about next summer, we tour a play together; a play I had written 18 years ago.”

“I’d never seen her act and there were a million things that could go wrong between now and 10 months from now… we could get together and find out she’s crazy, I’m crazy, she’s not a good performer, we don’t match up – but on the other hand, if you don’t take a chance on love, you’ll never get it. Especially if you’re always on the road.”

“The play itself didn’t do that great,” Dockery admits, “but its real purpose was to serve as the vehicle for our courtship.”

A newlywed couple visits the Fringe.

A newlywed couple visits the Fringe.

Working on a play together gave them both a chance to get to know each other better. For Martin and Vanessa, the right balance was there. They’ve toured three plays together since, and got married in January 2015. While Martin is presenting two plays in Edmonton, The Bike Trip and Inescapable, Vanessa is managing the venues at La Cite Francophone and directing for Inescapable.