Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival, 2011

The groundbreaking E-town Fringe Fest turns 30, and invites all y'all to come celebrate with the world's most outskirted stage junkies...

BY EMIL TIEDEMANN

The 30th annual Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival will take over
Old Strathcona from August 11th to the 21st!
I REMEMBER when I turned 30. It wasn't anything I had exactly been looking forward to, or would even consider celebrating. Kind've a shitty mess, really. But I'm over it now...ish.

So, I know exactly how the 2011 Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival feels, as it approaches the big 3-0. But the mood'll be somewhat--or drastically--less sombre than that of my self-depricating pity party...and this I'm actually looking forward to!

From Thursday, August 11th until Sunday the 21st, the 30th annual Edmonton Fringe will take over Old Strathcona, hosting more than 1,200 local, national, and international performances during the 11-day world-renowned celebration.

When you think about it, it's almost like a metro within a metro, hence this year's "Fringeopolis" theme, which "represents the city within a city that comes alive each August," said Fringe Executive Director Julian Mayne. "A metropolis born of the creativity, artistic talent, innovation, and experimentation our festival was founded on."

Nearly half a million folks are logically expected to turn out for North America's largest and oldest fringe festival, (for the most part) put together this season by some 1,200 volunteers who have or will have donated more than 20,000 hours of their time.

This year will see over 180 productions in 42 venues (not all of which are located in the vicinity of Whyte Ave. btw), which means there's pretty much something for everyone, unless you're one of those guys (or gals) who only listens to Nickelback-esque bands, and who doesn't miss a single UFC event, and who's super cab 4x4 has a set of balls hanging from its back fender. You know who you are!

Only the Edinburgh Fringe (Scotland) is bigger and older than
Edmonton's Fringe, celebrating 64 years this August!

"We welcome you, and encourage you to explore your city," insisted Sam Jenkins, President of Fringe Theatre Adventures. "Please, take a chance; this is the essence of our festival, and your right as a citizen of the Fringe! This year, the festival offers a diversity unlike anything you may be expecting, with productions from home and abroad, with something for just about everyone!"

That's what I said, but whatever....

But if you're just not into this kinda shit, then don't think there's nothing else for you at the Fringe. Sustainival, the "world's first green carnival," will offer up carnival rides running on vegetable oil, in addition to carnie games & eco-conscious prizes, and a local DJ lounge powered by...you guessed it....veggie oil! It runs daily from noon to midnight, and daily passes will go for $30 a pop, or $3-$5 per ride.

A $70 "Sustainival all-Fringe-long Unlimited Ride Pass" (that's hard to say) will also be available, allowing you to ride as much as your eco-friendly heart desires.

Then there's KidsFringe ("Kidopolis"), of course...a free getaway for those folks (ages 0-12) who don't have to pay ridiculous gas rates, worry about bills and mortgages, or derailing your all-too-familiar relationships...uhh, it seems as though I've gotten off topic....

Anyhoo, KidsFringe will take effect August 12th, and will run until the 21st from 9:30AM to 5PM (weekdays) and from 11AM to 6PM (weekends), offering arts & crafts, games, puppets, storytelling, workshops, and interactive performances by the Fringe's own Youth Troupe. All kids must be accompanied by an adult at all times. "Kidopolis" is located at 104th Street between 85th and 86th Avenues.

Tickets for the Fringe are now available in person (TransAlta Arts Barns), online, or by phone (780-409-1910), and go for $6-$12 for single tickets (a $2 Capital Replacement Fee will be added to each ticket), though Frequent Fringer Passes and Double Fringer Passes have been sold out. "Sorry." The Central Box Office is located at the TransAlta Arts Barns (10330-84 Ave.).

Programs are $7 and are currently available at the Central Box Office, online, TIX on the Square, onsite Fringe Newsstands, or at Audreys Books, Greenwoods' Bookshoppe, or any Edmonton Safeway store.

Happy Fringing, Edmonton!

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