Victoria Fringe stronger than ever
Jem Rolls and Rob Gee at Victoria Fringe Wrap Party
Victoria's Fringe Festival 2009 was a huge success that was almost overshadowed by some very bad news.
Just days into the festival word came down that funds from the Provincial Government for next year's Fringe will be slashed. And Intrepid Theatre (the producers of the Festival) will be left holding the proverbial bag. This cast a pall over the festival, and yet despite (or, perhaps,because) of the news Victorians rallied around the Fringe like never before, coming out in record numbers to enjoy and support live theatre.
It didn't hurt that this was also a stellar year on the programming front. Sell-out shows for both internationally acclaimed productions and local talent. And lots of stuff to choose from. Musicals. Dance Productions. Solo shows. Spoken Word. Comedy. There was something for everyone. And everyone, it seems, wanted to see a show.
I spoke with a fellow Fringer at last night's Wrap Party who summed things up by saying maybe the budget cuts are a wake-up call that if we want to see high quality theatre in Victoria we're just going to have to support it a little more. And it seems that that's exactly what we're finally willing to do.
It's great to see so many people bring so many great shows to Victoria, but, to me, what's even more exciting is seeing Victorians support all our local talent. And that's not just at Fringe Fest anymore. From Atomic Vaudeville to the new Blue Bridge Theatre, from Phillips Comedy Night to Tongues of Fire, Victoria's theatre scene is alive and kicking.
Long may it run.
Note: In a gesture of generosity and solidarity the biggest local hit of this year's Fringe, "The War of 1812", will be holding one last performance Monday night. All proceeds will go to Intrepid Theatre, to help them put on next year's Fringe. 8pm @ Saint Anne's Academy- 835 Humboldt Street.