Fringe Indigenous Artist Program: a conversation with Logan Keewatin Richards

Image: Logan Keewatin Richards.

As part of this mini Fringe celebration, we wanted to highlight some of the artists who bring the Victoria Fringe to life. We’re sharing conversations with four artists who have taken part in Victoria Fringe’s Indigenous Artist Program. The program was developed in 2017 by artist and activist John Aitken and Intrepid staff, and is open to local artists who identify as Indigenous, incorporating collaborative mentorship as well as access to resources, a bursary and support. Read more about the program and applications here.

Logan Keewatin premiered his solo show Reminiscences of Reconciliation at the 2018 Victoria Fringe. He’ll also present a new version of the show at the 2021 Victoria Fringe. He and Associate Producer Holly spoke about his process of building work through organic evolution of thought, combining his experience in Toastmasters with creating theatre, and taking Reminiscences of Reconciliation to different festivals.

Q: Can you start by introducing yourself?

My name’s Logan Keewatin Richards. I’m looking into going by Keewatin Richards soon. I’m of Cree descent and learned lately, Métis descent. My Cree name is Musqua, also known as Bear. I was born in Red Deer, Alberta, back in 1986. I was born to Alison Richards and Lyle Wesley Keewatin Richards. My dad has an honorary doctorate, he’s been a social activist for the entire time he’s been in Alberta, some 40 years. He was president of the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre back in the 80s––as he puts it, it was little more than a pool hall at the time, and it’s now turned into one of the premier Native Friendship Centres in all of Canada. I got my name in a sweat lodge ceremony on the edge of the Cree and Blackfoot territories that meet at Red Deer known as Waskasoo, as it was known as “meeting place,” at Fort Normandeau in Red Deer at age 16. I got this drum soon after that. The sweat lodge was hot. We put stones in a hot fire and then take them into the lodge, and then we have a sauna type experience. It was all in Cree. I didn’t understand it at the time at all. But after 18 I started to learn some of my language. It wasn’t a lot, but I’ve got some, greeting and thank you and that kind of thing. There are a number of nations that have made apps now and such. It’s very useful.

I am the writer of Reminiscences of Reconciliation, which was in the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival as a one-man show. I evolved its premise in 2019 to be involved in the 2019 Skampede Festival along the Gorge waterway on the Galloping Goose, and that was a two-person show. It worked fairly well––we got it down to a nine-minute show, from thirty-five minutes.

Now, I personally come from a labor activist background, and somehow picked up a university degree from UVic. I’ve had it going on almost a decade now. I have lived in Lekwungen territory for most of my life, and visited much of Western Turtle Island as a youth driving back and forth between Red Deer and Victoria. I practice storytelling in my macro view of relations between Canada and Aboriginal peoples of Turtle Island, which is where Reminiscences of Reconciliation came in, and I was able to work that view into theatre.

Q: What are you working on currently, or hoping to work on next?

Currently I’m a grocer, and working up a new evolving version of Reminiscences of Reconciliation. I’ll see what it will become for 2021 throughout this year, and what I can do through my Toastmasters club, where I practiced my previous show a lot before I came to the Fringe. Toastmasters is an international club about, yes, speech making, absolutely. But it’s also about leadership and learning leadership skills. I am trying to be a leader by giving perspective of modern life in Canada and the genocide wrought upon its Indigenous peoples here throughout the little over a century and a half that Canada has been in existence, and the hundreds of years prior to that. My show brings to fairly sharp relief what has happened and what could become better for all in the coming times.

My process is very sporadic to say the least. I kind of think up ideas and see what can come of it through time. My original show, I didn’t even write down until about a year after I had done it. It’s organic evolution through thought.

Q: Is there a way audiences can seek out or support your work right now?

Right now, keep it in mind for future. I currently don’t have any social media or website, but will be working on that fairly soon. I’d like to include my show in a couple of versions, both the 2018 [Victoria Fringe] and 2019 [Skampede] versions–– sort of an evolutionary thing. 

We also performed it up in Port Alberni at their Solstice Arts Festival. We performed it to [artist and storyteller] Cecil Dawson of Port Alberni. His quote was, “I was holding back tears, for you were saying words that had been left unsaid. You return me to my childhood with songs and stories being told by our elders. The trees listen to your stories and harmonize with your songs.” He’s a very highly respected carver up there and across western Canada. He was working on a languages project that was funded through feds, the province, and the University of Victoria, for the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages. So that was really neat.

Q: What’s your connection to the Fringe; how did you come to be involved in it?

I’ve been going to the Fringe Festival on and off for a number of years. I had some friends who had been in the Victoria Fringe as well, so I’d gone to their shows and such, and I volunteered a number of times as well, for the 30th anniversary and at least a time before that. That was pretty fun. So––showgoer, volunteer, to actor/writer/director.

Q: What was your experience like being part of the Fringe Indigenous Artist Program?

I’ve been on the Intrepid email list for years. One time I was reading through it and I’m like “Indigenous Artist Program…hmm. What is this?” So, I got typing, filled out the form, and thought, “I’ll see if anything comes of it.”

Then I get an email back from Sammie and Heather asking, “Would you like to come in for a meeting to talk about the Indigenous Artist Program?” I go in and we meet and I was like “Okay, this seems like I’m writing a play.” That was the start of my experience back in 2018. That was an exciting few months to write that show. I just took it from there and whenever I was on break at work, I’d write down some ideas in the back room, and I’d go into Intrepid every week or so and practice. And then, of course, the run of the show. During the smoke out of 2018 it was a very fiery year. It was interesting. It was also just before one of the major pipelines was having a decision brought down against it. It was like, “Well, that’s exactly what I told them would be happening yesterday during my show, so okay, good. I don’t know how I have this macro view, but good.” So that was neat. The run went really well, that’s for sure; I liked it. I ended up having a bunch of my labor activist friends from the New Democratic Party come to the show, and then, of course, the conversation at the end of my show was really important. There’s the show itself and then I had a Q and A. In Toastmasters it’s called Table Topics. Basically, the person comes up with a question and then you answer it on the fly.

Q: Who’s another Indigenous or BIPOC artist Fringe audiences should check out?

Definitely look up Cecil Dawson. His totem poles and carvings are all over the island.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to have included in the blog post? 

Kinâskômatin, hai hai, and thank you for being here.

Fringe Indigenous Artist Program: a conversation with Elowynn Rose

Image: Elowynn Rose.

As part of this mini Fringe celebration, we wanted to highlight some of the artists who bring the Victoria Fringe to life. We’re sharing conversations with four artists who have taken part in Victoria Fringe’s Indigenous Artist Program. The program was developed in 2017 by artist and activist John Aitken and Intrepid staff, and is open to local artists who identify as Indigenous, incorporating collaborative mentorship as well as access to resources, a bursary and support. Read more about the program and applications here.

Elowynn is currently developing work as part of the 2020 Indigenous Artist Program, and will present her show at the Victoria Fringe in 2021. She and Associate Producer Holly talked about her move from the music industry into theatre and dance, bringing Indigenous ways of thinking into non-Indigenous theatre settings, and how Covid-19 has given her time to get to the heart of what she wants to create.

Q: Can you start by introducing yourself?

My name is Elowynn, and I’ve always practiced art on some level, sometimes less, sometimes more like I am now. I’d say the past five years has been more of a time that I’ve redirected my focus towards creating art or performance of my own work. Previously, up until last year, I was working in the Vancouver Island music community. After a while, I really wanted to start focusing on my own stuff more, and the opportunities began to kind of naturally come in, which was really cool. I was able to do my first presentation of a little mini concert in Centennial Square two years ago for the Eventide Indigenous Music Series. In the spring of 2019, I was accepted into an Indigenous learning exchange program at the Belfry Theatre. Even though I had worked in event coordination and music production, I didn’t really know about the theatre side of it as much, and so it was a really good opportunity for me to learn lighting and patchwork, costuming––the basics of everything in a theatre. From there I went on to take an intensive in Vancouver last spring for character development, and that pushed my work forward, and then in the fall, I established, with several other women, a group called Visible Bodies Collective, which is a dance collective for Indigenous women and BIPOC people, so that’s very new and still being established. We performed our first piece this past February, called Red on Red. Then I was accepted into the Fringe program in January, which has been very exciting so far.

Q: What are you working on currently, or hoping to work on next?

For now, when I think of my artistic practice, it’s kind of bringing a culmination of everything I’ve learned until now into focus for this Fringe show that I want to produce. I would like to have that as my main focus this year––I am really excited to present something next year. It’s a first for me, and it’s a good challenge.

[An upcoming project in development is] for a series by Lindsay Delaronde called Mother and it’s an online presentation, or will be an online presentation. From what I understand, it’s different performers expressing the relationship with the land and Mother Earth in respect to an Indigenous lens.

[Another recent project, a reading for Gwaandak Theatre] was a live stream. Some of us had initially worked with Falen Johnson, who is an Indigenous playwright, and she was the source for helping with development of stories or scenes or playwriting, depending on who was presenting. For me, I created a scene out of what I would be potentially presenting at the Fringe, but it was more of an opportunity for me to be pushed in my storytelling and my writing, and get feedback from people from all over Canada. It was a really fantastic experience. The online offering was called In Progress, so everybody who was presenting had a piece of work that was in progress.

Q: What’s your connection to the Fringe; how did you come to be involved in it?

It was quite serendipitous, actually, because last year at this time, I was in the Yukon, and me and another woman had discussed for over a year that we were going to do a podcast about our experiences in the foster care system. I thought a podcast sounded cool, but because I had been in the Belfry knowledge exchange residency, I kept seeing it as a theatre piece.

That was what I kept seeing in my mind’s eye, but I’ve never produced live theatre, so I wasn’t sure how that was going to happen. So I went ahead and flew to the Yukon and said, “Okay, let’s do the podcast.” Then whenever we kept trying to make things happen, it just wouldn’t gel, or something would interrupt, or someone got sick––it just was not happening. I left feeling rather disheartened, but focused my energies on the Visible Bodies Collective, and then at the last minute, I think I was scrolling on Facebook, and a friend in my Métis circle had posted the Fringe Indigenous artist program. It was literally the 11th hour––I think it was 11pm on the last day––and I was like, “What the heck, what have I got to lose?” So I signed up, filled out the paperwork and sent it in, and then I got it. It was really cool because I really saw [this story] as a piece for theatre, but I just never knew how that would come about.

So far, I’ve played with concepts and the exterior design of the show, but as far as the actual storyline, I haven’t really established one yet, which was bugging me for a while, because before Covid-19 I was supposed to have something ready now [for Fringe 2020], so I was already building storylines and felt like I was just trying to get something happening as quickly as possible. When Covid-19 came along, like everything else, it got shut down for a while, but it’s really working out in my favor because it gives me more time to get inside the heart of what I want to create. I think if I’d created something for right now, it would be a small snippet of what I can actually accomplish over the amount of time I now have. Instead of slapping together a storyline for presentation purposes, I’m now able to really do some big work and do much more research than I would have been able to. Even though my storylines are up in the air again, I don’t mind because it’s allowing me to perceive other layers to work with and develop.

Q: You’ve already touched on this a bit, but what has your experience being part of the Fringe Indigenous Artist Program been like so far?

Everybody has been really offering a lot of their time and advice and care to me during this process. It’s not an easy work for me to produce because it’s very personal, so the sensitivity around it has been really respected, and there’s just been a lot of support for the process––maybe more so now, because people are available, which is not to say people wouldn’t have been supportive otherwise, but it just would have been a little bit different. Right now, I’m receiving a lot of support in terms of development. And, things like being able to work with Gwaandak Theatre and do that process, I don’t know if that would have happened [if the Fringe 2020 had gone ahead] because of time: there’ve been all these other opportunities that are arising from the current state of things. I guess there’s a sort of sensitivity towards everybody because we’re all in this sort of limbo. There’s a greater awareness, I think, that’s happened. And so I’ve appreciated that in a lot of ways.

Q: What would you like to see in the Fringe and in the theatre sector in regard to equity for Indigenous and other BIPOC artists?

I’ve been thinking about that question, and I’m still thinking about that question. In some ways, I don’t totally know how to answer it because I don’t feel like I’ve had enough experience in producing theatre, but I have a lot of experience with music production and the westernized framework in that industry. That’s common through pretty much everything––there’s a hierarchy. In my own understanding, I think traditionally in Indigenous cultures, there’s more of an awareness of your place in the wheel, in the communities, so everybody has a role––the hierarchy concept wasn’t as much of a thing, where there’s this pyramid or this ladder you have to climb up. That’s not really a traditional Indigenous concept. So I think what I would like to see is more of that way of thinking. I think this can happen through establishment of more Indigenous theatres and artists in their own right, or if there’s a way to encourage that throughout the traditional western framework as well.

I’ve tried to do that in certain respects, tried to bring in roundtable concepts. Even though I know that it’s still a very hierarchical framework, I still feel that it’s significant to bring in, because there may be opportunities where that is beneficial and recognizes members of the community, in spite of the fact that there is still a hierarchy. [That organization or group’s system] is not going to change necessarily, but it may help recognize Indigenous peoples’ way of working. I’m just speaking from my experience, because certainly I’ve been in situations where the westernized framework takes over in Indigenous communities as well. It’s a bit of a strange balance in bringing in traditional values and concepts of Indigenous people and––I don’t know if you would use the term ‘fusing’–– but fusing it with westernized concepts. I don’t think that’s always going to be the case and isn’t always what we want. A lot of Indigenous people just want to be sovereign in their own right, and not work at all from a westernized cultural concept, which is totally fair. I think for some people like myself, I feel like I’m kind of a bridge builder, and I want there to be more flexibility and movement. I want to be able to move between and have recognition of the value in different influences. I really do think there’s value in different ways of doing things. I think it’s really recognizing people’s  capacities and unique differences, and how they can work best together to create fairness, equity, and sense of value. And it does require acknowledgement and change. Hopefully, that can happen more.

Q: Who’s another Indigenous or BIPOC artist Fringe audiences should check out?

I had connected with Kemi Craig and we’ve worked together. I became aware of her work through the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, doing a program about critical thinking through art for grades three, four, and five. We went to different schools and set up group themed critical thinking activities that were built in art-based creation: like, taking a bunch of found objects and creating something, but it was in relationship to thinking about them outside of your landscape, sometimes with topics like Indigeneity and cultural landscape. It’s not that children don’t understand things like that, but there needs to be another way to get that education across, and visual thinking strategies are a good way.  So the focus was primarily on Kemi’s work. I learned some things from her that I hadn’t thought about myself through that process. So I would say Kemi Craig is really awesome.

I would also say Michelle Poirier Brown, who’s a Cree Métis poet in Victoria. She’s another one I’d give a shout-out to.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to have included in the blog post?

The other thing I wanted to say is, just the importance of including the cultural background of Indigenous people in the landscape. That lens is really valuable. And so I think that’s where I’d like to see the equity shift as well, is in people being able to hold more positions of power, in terms of the allocation of resources, and that sort of thing. There needs to be more streams for Indigenous people to have access to and be able to have their culture expressed, seen and valued in a positive way.

Fringe Indigenous Artist Program: A conversation with Nyla Carpentier

Image: Nyla Carpentier. Photo credit: Matt Reznek, Reznek Creative.

As part of this mini Fringe celebration, we wanted to highlight some of the artists who bring the Victoria Fringe to life. We’re sharing conversations with four artists who have taken part in Victoria Fringe’s Indigenous Artist Program. The program was developed in 2017 by artist and activist John Aitken and Intrepid staff, and is open to local artists who identify as Indigenous, incorporating collaborative mentorship as well as access to resources, a bursary and support. Read more about the program and applications here.

Nyla premiered her solo show Dissection of a Mixed Heritage Woman at the 2019 Victoria Fringe. She spoke with Associate Producer Holly about her works in development, the need for theatre institutions to give over power to Indigenous artists, and the freedom in being allowed to fail as well as succeed.

Q: Can you start by introducing yourself?

A: My name is Nyla Carpentier. I’m of the Tahltan and Kaska First Nations. I’m also French and Scottish. My work is primarily in creating theatre shows and being a performer. I’m also a powwow dancer, workshop facilitator, artistic producer, and have done almost any job in theatre, from performing to administration. I consider myself a multi-faceted artist with strong connections to my Indigenous culture that I grew up with, which is specifically powwow dancing. I’m also a Capricorn, engaged to a great Aquarius, I have a fur baby named Sparky and a bird named Quorra, and there’s some fish!

The biggest/most recent highlight was the debut of my solo show, Dissection of a Mixed Heritage Woman. This was a show that I started creating about 10 years ago, and I finally premiered it at the Victoria Fringe Festival in 2019. I went on to the Vancouver Fringe Festival, took it to Orlando, Florida, and did a reading of it for the Gwaandak Festival. Before that I had worked with Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg and Cercle Molière, doing a wonderful show called The Flats, which is so much fun, written by Ginny Collins. But the most recent was my own solo show.

Q: What are you working on currently, or hoping to work on next?

A: I’m still figuring out what the next step for Dissection of a Mixed Heritage Woman is. Covid kind of put a stall on my plan, so I’ve got to figure out what I want to do for development of the story, and also try to develop production elements––will I bring in projection, will I add more to the set? The set was a powwow chair and a side table, and I think in the spirit of Fringe, I might keep all my sets that minimal. That’s where I’m at with that piece. I’ve decided that all the pieces of theatre I create, even if they get published in the future, will always be in development and grow. I’m also always learning new things about my own family, and that kind of impacts the story itself, too. [Being in a continual state of development] also honors the fact that our family stories keep changing. As an example, for years, my mom would tell me the story that she was going to name me Elizabeth. But then just a couple years ago, she was like, “Oh, no, I wasn’t going to name you Elizabeth. I was going to name you Catherine.” So I try to keep understanding what stories I used to tell myself about my own heritage, versus what narratives I tell myself now, and I think that’s a very important theme of that show.

I’m also developing another show, a six-hander play about the spirit world. The working title right now is The In Between Place. That’s a piece that I’m going to be reading at an online version of the Vancouver Fringe, as part of Ruby Slippers playwriting program, where I’m actually an artist in residence for 2021.

One other project that’s in development stages is another solo show that has sprung from Dissection of a Mixed Heritage Woman. I wouldn’t say it’s a part two, but it’s an exploration of how powwow dancing impacted my life. I found when I was developing Dissection of a Mixed Heritage Woman, a lot of people I was working with wanted to know more about powwow dancing. And I was like, that’s a totally different show. So that’s going to be in the works as well, as a new solo show that specifically delves into powwow dancing, and its impact on my life and culture.

Q: Is there a way audiences can seek out or support your work right now?

A: I will be doing a reading with Ruby Slippers online for the Vancouver Fringe. [See vancouverfringe.com/ for updates about details.] I do also have an Instagram account, where I post about my shows that I’m doing or any online performances. So if you are on Instagram, you can follow me @nyla.c.artist.

Q: What’s your connection to the Fringe; how did you come to be involved in it?

A: I think I first heard of Fringe in my late teens, growing up in Ottawa, Ontario. But my first memories of actually becoming involved or seeing a friend’s show was in 2006 at the Vancouver Fringe. And then it was in 2007 or 2008 where I was able to volunteer for the first time. I volunteered for subsequent summers, with the goal of eventually getting a show in, and my first show was at the Vancouver Fringe––21st Century Tricksters––in 2013. It was neat because it started off with me being a volunteer, volunteering at the Fringe and seeing the different types of shows that can be offered. Fringe offered an avenue to be able to create shows that didn’t have to be polished, because many artists don’t have the production funds to have something super duper polished.

Q: What was your experience like being part of the Fringe Indigenous Artist Program?

A: Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is that a lot of Indigenous artists, performing artists or theatre artists, we don’t get an opportunity to have a show at the Fringe and let it just be a mediocre show. For some reason, there’s a weird expectation for Indigenous artists to have these beautiful, inspirational, polished pieces of work. That is not the same expectation for non-Indigenous artists. How many mediocre shows have you seen done by solo white male artists? So many. And they’re allowed to do that, but it’s this odd expectation for Indigenous artists for it to be something profound. They’re not allowed to create mediocre shows or to fail.

Indigenous artists, due to economic reasons and systemic reasons, don’t have access to funds and financial support for fees to enter the Fringes. With the Indigenous Artist Program, that’s taken care of. You have a chance to be completely and utterly mediocre without fear of it costing you so much money, and you’re supported. I myself, I’ve built a network of people and I do have some people who are able to support me creatively, and I’m able to write grants and things like that. But there’s other artists out there who are not able to do that. Because of this program, you’re allowed to create a show, and it can be whatever it can be, and you can have the marketing support and guidance. My meetings with Heather and Sammie were really fruitful, and I really appreciated their guidance in the creation of my piece, but they also were very hands off. They weren’t like, “Okay, you should do this with your piece to fit our marketing.” But they did let me know that Victoria Fringe audiences were predominantly white and that is the reality of older theatre audiences in Victoria. This was really helpful to marketing and outreach. I love the Fringe, don’t get me wrong, but it was like, “There’s a certain demographic that comes to shows, just so you know. So be aware of that when you’re going in, you’re going to have to do some extra marketing [to Indigenous audiences].” There were things that they were honest about, which was great, because marketing is important. You need to learn about that, about press releases, etc., so I was actually prepared to navigate that and I was aware of some of Victoria’s audiences. And word of mouth is so important. Because I was a newish not-from-Victoria artist, getting as many volunteers and people to see my show the first weekend made a huge difference. By the time the second weekend came around, we had much bigger houses just because of word of mouth. So that’s the thing too, building a base. Being part of the program was very important, and I think it offered an opportunity to create a show and not have to worry about those extra costs. It gave me the ability that if I failed, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world for me. I didn’t fail, in my mind, and I’m very proud of the work, but it gave that freedom. It was nice to have a program that offered guidance, but at the same time was very much allowing me to be the artist that I am in my creation process.

I also, as an artist, chose not to invite critics. I didn’t stop them from coming, but I also decided not to make my show about critics coming because I have found as an Indigenous artist, about 80% of the time, critics don’t really understand the show, and that’s fine because it’s not a well made theatre play. It’s going to be what it is. Of all the reviews I got, there was one reviewer in particular who totally understood the show. How they understood the show is they went into their own heritage and realized their disconnect. And that’s what the show’s purpose was, to make you think about your own heritage. Whereas other critics focussed on the acting and the dancing, that one critic discovered the core––other critics didn’t talk about the core, they just talked about the glitter around it.

Q: You’ve touched on this a bit already, but what would you like to see in the Fringe and in the theatre sector in regard to equity for Indigenous and other BIPOC artists?

A: The Indigenous Artist Program for the Victoria Fringe is in place, and I hope that more Fringes pick that up, across the country would be fantastic, and even globally. If they could do a global Indigenous program, that would be amazing. There are Fringes in Australia and Australia has an Indigenous population; New Zealand has an Indigenous population; there are Indigenous populations all over the world. So that would be a beautiful thing, to see opportunities for that kind of exchange.

For Vancouver Fringe and Victoria Fringe, because I know them, what is needed is to continue that work that they’re doing, don’t stop, continue growing, continue building on these programs. I really wish theatre companies across Canada would know that creating equity is an ongoing process. Creating space for equity won’t end––it’s going to be ongoing work. You’re going to have to create a working document, and continuously adapt, so that that space is there for Indigenous artists. It’s not just about giving space, it’s about keeping space open, allowing that space to simply exist. I feel like people create these spaces and then they’re like, “Okay, we did it, we’re gonna take it down now.” No––that space is now there, keep it open, let it grow, and also hand over the keys to the car and let people drive that car, and sometimes they might crash the car, or ding the car. For theatre organizations and institutions, if the funds are there, hand over the keys and let Indigenous people drive their own artistic practices. Don’t drive for them. If they crash the car, then they crash the car, you have insurance, you can cover the crash, the failure. If it’s a mediocre car, then it’s a mediocre car, let it drive off into the sunset. Allowing for success as well as failures of Indigenous artists––basically, hand over the funds, let the drivers drive, and check in every now and then. That’s what I would say institutions need to do. Big time. It’s simple, but it’s also really hard for people to give up power for some reason.

Q: Who’s another Indigenous or BIPOC artist Fringe audiences should check out?

A: Two artists that I’m going to shout out: one is Monica vs. the Internet. If you don’t know this show, you need to know this show. I met Monica at Victoria Fringe and watched their show (directed and co-created by KP Dennis) and it was just so good. I highly recommend you follow Monica Ogden and KP Dennis, and their production company, Rage Sweater Theatre Productions. I think amazing things are going to be coming from them. They are going to be the company to watch, because they’re going to shake everyone up and it’s going to be fantastic. The next is Kim Harvey, who has an amazing blog. I worked with Kim years ago and I watched Kim’s career grow––talented actor, right into playwright and director. What I like about Kim’s work is that it gives public voice to a lot of Indigenous ways of working that people have been developing for so long. Follow her blog––her blog highlights so many things that are going on with theatre institutions. That’s another individual that is absolutely amazing. Those are two companies that I would say are movers and shakers, who I follow and love.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to have included in the blog post?

A: Something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit is that the path to creating theatre, or the path of performing/acting––there are so many different paths. You may find yourself thinking that you’re just an actor for hire, but then discovering you want to be a playwright, you may find yourself thinking that you want to direct. You may change your goals and dreams in theatre. And I think that Fringe festivals allow an artist to really explore all those avenues of themselves, and all those paths, even if they change, are perfectly fine. I think that’s another thing––we tend, as artists or as creatives, to be extra hard on ourselves. And really, there’s no need for that. It’s all about exploration. In the end, it’s not about the work that you create for your own accolades. It’s actually what you give to your community that matters the most. So however you choose to do that, to do that giving, and even if your path changes, that’s okay. Allow it to shift and grow with you.

Fringe Indigenous Artist Program: A conversation with John Aitken

Image: John Aitken and Shelley MacDonald performing in The Gift. Photo credit: Roy Mulder.

As part of this mini Fringe celebration, we wanted to highlight some of the artists who bring the Victoria Fringe to life. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing conversations with four artists who have taken part in Victoria Fringe’s Indigenous Artist Program. The program is open to local artists who identify as Indigenous, and incorporates collaborative mentorship, as well as access to resources, a bursary and support. Read more about the program and applications here.

In 2017, artist and activist John Aitken and Intrepid staff devised the Indigenous Artist Program. As well as being part of its development, John was the participating artist in the program’s inaugural year, and presented his two-person show The Gift at the 2017 Victoria Fringe. In 2019, he also took The Gift on tour, performing in Wells, North Vancouver, and Gabriola Island. John chatted with Associate Producer Holly about shifting his creative practice during the pandemic, the importance of Indigenous artists telling their stories their own way, and his upcoming children’s book.

Q: Can you start by introducing yourself?

A: My name is John Aitken, he/him/his. I am a mix of Coast Salish, Haida, Hawaiian and Scottish lineage. I identify as Indigenous. I also identify as a 2 Spirit. My primary artistic focus prior to Covid-19 was theatre. I am now focussing my energy on documentary filmmaking. I also dabble in photography, wood carving and writing. Before this pandemic began, my main focus was performing a two-person theatre piece titled The Gift, which is based on the fact that I did not begin to speak until the age of 18 and survived domestic violence/dysfunction. I was also developing a solo performance piece titled Mixed Up which explores my mixed ancestry and its celebrations and challenges. 

Q: What are you working on currently, or hoping to work on next?

A: I am currently working on co-writing a children’s book based on seven years of conversations I have been having with my friend Jess Willows (who is a teacher and is currently going for her PHD in Education). The age group for this book (or books) is eight to ten. The premise is the adventures of Johnny and Jessie as they explore reconciliation and their friendship as an Indigenous boy and a girl from the Settler community. The book will be written to be used as an educational tool as well as for simple pleasure reading. 

[On shifting his writing practice from theatre to a children’s book:]

I think the difference was just a matter of figuring out the collaboration when it changed to “let’s write a book.” Who’s doing what? And then Jess said to me, “You’re the storyteller, you just write.” She became the natural editor of what I was writing. I thought, we need to get a skeleton of what the book’s going to look like, with introducing reconciliation and friendship between Jessie and Johnny as kids, and also dealing with a lot of stuff that I’ve already dealt with in my own community. There are similar things that have happened with me in my community that happened in the book, and have happened to many Indigenous people, when it comes to land acknowledgments or National Indigenous Peoples Day––those type of situations–– and the Indigenous kid or the Indigenous person being put on the spot to do this or that. How do Johnny and Jessie deal with that? And then [the story] just all sort of came out. We found an illustrator quickly after that (multimedia artist AJ Kutchaw). The book is still in the creation stage.

I am also currently developing the concept for two documentaries, which I plan to create in the future. 

Q: Is there a way audiences can seek out or support your work right now?

The best place to find information on the work I do is on my website: www.truthandhealing.com

Q: What’s your connection to the Fringe; how did you come to be involved in it?

A: I began a creative friendship with Intrepid Theatre beginning in 2015 when Janet Munsil was their Artistic Director. In 2016 Intrepid Theatre presented The Gift in their season. In 2017 I was introduced to the Fringe by Sammie Gough, Producer. And, that happened to be the same year that Intrepid Theatre had the idea of the Indigenous Artist Program. I was asked by Sammie to help develop this brand new program. 

Q: What was your experience like being part of the Fringe Indigenous Artist Program?

A: My experience with being part of this program and helping develop it were two very distinct experiences. Helping develop the program required all involved creating it to be willing to fumble to find respectful ways to frame it. There are very few Indigenous people involved with theatre in Victoria. Our goal was to create a program that was inviting to Indigenous folk (like myself). I was the “test trial” for this program. It was good to be immersed in a program that was being developed to learn what worked and what did not. As a participant of this new program I learned a lot about the world of Fringe and its culture. The first iteration of the Indigenous Artist Program was a success! Three other Indigenous Artists have participated thus far and hopefully it will continue to grow beyond this pandemic.  

Q: What would you like to see in the Fringe and in the theatre sector in regard to equity for Indigenous and other BIPOC artists?

A: More of us submitting our names. More of us understanding that there is a place for us to tell our stories and to tell our stories our way. We are story telling people. And, Indigenous people need more non-Indigenous folk they can trust, who can provide the necessary support to work together to facilitate these many varied stories to be told. Trust is key to building these relationships, and non-Indigenous people will need to accept that Indigenous people will be telling their stories their way and not be afraid of this! These stories only need to make sense to us––I repeat this because it is vitally important for non-Indigenous folk to hear this and to understand this. I can only imagine that this will be relatively the same for many people of colour as more theatre companies become more inclusive.

Q: Who’s another Indigenous or BIPOC artist Fringe audiences should check out?

A: I’ve been witness to Yolanda Bonnell’s production titled Bug. I think many people need to witness this powerful solo production. 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to have included in the blog post?

A: This pandemic has meant that all of us artists have needed to adjust and create our own brand new possibilities within our personal focus. Artists have been forced to change. In my situation, it was all good. I was ready for a change and to redirect my creative energy. Another thing I didn’t mention is that I got into the very first all Indigenous Fringe Festival, in Peterborough, Ontario. [The Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival was scheduled for June 2020 – it will premiere in 2021 instead.] So The Gift was getting some legs, and then everything stopped. It looks like with the pandemic I’ll be focusing more energy on filmmaking, but I’m always willing to dust off The Gift. You can tell stories in many ways. Hopefully this pandemic will end up being a catalyst for some very positive changes in the world of theatre and many other artistic practices!

Meet Holly Lam, our Associate Producer

We are thrilled to welcome Holly Lam back to the Intrepid Theatre team this year. Holly will be working with us as Associate Producer on our festival season in 2020.

Holly is a queer and mixed-race settler who has lived most of her life on Lekwungen territory in Victoria. She has a creative writing degree from UVic, and has published stories in Plenitude and carte blanche magazinescreated short films and media projects, and been a board member of The Malahat Review.In 2014, Holly knew nothing about theatre but agreed to write a play review for The Martlet, and she hasn’t looked back since, working in administration, box office, promotions, front-of-house, and volunteer coordination for various arts organizations including the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival, Royal and McPherson Theatres, and Victoria Film Festival. Holly was part of the Fringe staff as a volunteer coordinator in 2017 and front-of-house manager in 2018, and she’s beyond excited to be returning to Intrepid this year for OUTstages, UNO Fest, and Fringe 2020!

This position is funded through an Early Career Development Grant from the BC Arts Council.

Victoria Fringe Lottery Postponed

January 15, 2020-
Due to the ❄️❄️❄️ the Intrepid Theatre offices are closed today and the 2020 Victoria Fringe Lottery is postponed to later this week. We will update you on a new day and time and will Facebook Live the draw, so you can all join the fun.
Stay safe, stay warm, and watch out for snowballs!

Holiday Hours 2019

The Intrepid Theatre office will be closed from December 16, 2019 through January 6, 2020. Tickets to OUTstages can be purchased online or in person at Ticket Rocket, 1050 Meares Street (Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm).

To make a year-end donation, help us reach our $40,000 fundraising goal (we’re so close!), and get a 2019 tax receipt, make a donation online or mail your cheque to #2 – 1609 Blanshard Street, Victoria BC V8W 2J5 before December 31.

Thanks for a great 2019 filled to the brim with thrilling theatre, see you in 2020!

Introducing our 2019 Fringe Summer Staff

If you are around the Victoria Fringe this summer, volunteering at the festival, or stop by the office,  you will see three new faces – SJ & Hilary, our 2019 Fringe Volunteer Coordinators and Navarra, our Accessibility & Outreach Coordinator. These three are working hard to place artists with billets, create volunteer schedules, coordinate 300 volunteers and make the festival more welcoming and accessible!

[Image caption: SJ and Hilary, smiling stand behind Navarra, smiling and seated in a wheelchair against a graffiti mural background.]

Meet Navarra Houldin

I recently moved to Victoria from southern Alberta and have been loving exploring the local area. When I’m not around the office, I spend my time at the track and travelling across the country for different wheelchair racing competitions. In the spare time that I have left over, I am an avid gardener and crafter, and am a part of local arts and crafts guilds to work on my fibre arts. During the winter season, I am a History and Spanish student at UVic and starting to learn American Sign Language.
I’m new to Fringe this year, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing it for the first time. I’m also excited to be working on accessibility at the Victoria Fringe! I think that there is an amazing culture of welcoming and inclusivity around the festival, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that. With more accessible options being added, it’s going to be a really awesome festival this year that will be easier for more people to enjoy!

Meet SJ Valiquette

SJ Valiquette is a local poet, photographer, and performer. She moved to Victoria from Southern Alberta in 2014 to study theatre performance at UVic and graduated with a BFA last April. SJ has studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Banff Centre for the Arts, she runs an ongoing photography project called (re)markable project (which often involves copious amounts of biodegradable glitter) and her poetry can be found in Oratorealis Magazine, or in her self-published collection “Little Rebellions” which came out earlier this year.
The Fringe Festival was SJ’s introduction to theatre in Victoria. She moved to Victoria during the 2014 Fringe and since she didn’t know anyone and had nothing to do until classes started she immersed herself in the festival. Since then she has cowritten and performed in two shows at the Victoria Fringe (The Quiet Environmentalist in 2016, and Daddy Issues in 2017.) She’s very excited to get to play such a big role in bringing the festival to life this year.

Meet Hilary Williams

Hilary is going into her fourth year at the University of Victoria studying theatre and history, with a focus in applied theatre. She enjoys many aspects of theatre, from directing, acting, and devising. With having three years of school under her belt she is excited for more opportunities to come in her academic and professional career. She is wanting to create her own theatre company focusing on social justice and making theatre accessible for all.
Hilary is new to Fringe but was a cast member in Kansha which ran as a YOUshow. Hilary also volunteered with Intrepid during their 2019 UNO Fest as their Accessibility Assistant Volunteer. This experience helped shape Hilary’s idea of theatre and grow her excitement for non-traditional theatre practices grow. Hilary is excited to learn more about the Fringe festival and gain more experience with the theatre community around Victoria.

These positions are funded through the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Artist2Artist at UNO Fest – Joanne & Carey

We’ve asked UNO Fest artists to interview each other about their shows, their creation process and what makes a solo show so unique. We are crossing the country with this pairing: Toronto’s Joanne O’Sullivan (She Grew Funny) and Victoria’s Carey Wass (Carey-OK!: Timeless Timely Tunes).

Question: UNO Fest is coming around the corner, what about being in this festival makes you excited? What can the UNO Fest audience look forward to about your show/performance?

Carey: From the start, I looked to create a show that was not just for the theatre community, but for people who may think that they are not theatre-goers or may feel that live performance is not for them. In terms of outcome, I am hoping that the audience leaves my show feeling better about their lives. I know it sounds simple, but I really want people to leave the show feeling inspired to make a positive change in their lives. This show was developed during a chaotic time in my life and, at the time, when I thought things may not get on track, I ended up purchasing my loop station and developing this ‘out of the box’ show.

Being in UNO Fest is very exciting. The history of the festival is unbelievable.  The list of celebrated performers who have been part of UNO’s rich history are too many to count. I am honoured to be part of this festival and I hope to be able to grow as an artist and return to the festival, for years to come.  The entire Intrepid team, from day one, have been so supportive. UNO Fest is going to be a really great time and I cannot wait for it to begin.


Joanne: I can’t wait to see Victoria! I’ve heard it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country and I’m really looking forward to spending some time there!  I’m excited to meet other Solo theatre performers and see their shows.  It’s a rare opportunity to see so many other performers who do what I do, in so many different ways, and have a chance to share stories. Overall, I’m so thankful that Intrepid theatre invited me to UNO Fest and gave me this opportunity to share She Grew Funny.  


In terms of what people can look forward to with my performance? Mostly, a good time! While She Grew Funny is my personal story, it covers a universal idea of how do our childhood experiences inform our adult lives – in a funny and thoughtful way – that I believe everyone can relate to. Audiences can look forward to an hour of laughter, perhaps a few tears, but mostly that sense of community that comes from a group of people coming together and listening to a good story.

Joanne Question: As a monologist/comedian who does not sing or dance, I’m curious about your process. What comes first – the music or the story – how does one inform the other?

Carey: That is a really great question. For Timeless Timely Tunes, my current cycle of 5 song-o-logues, I knew there were topics I wanted to sing about. For example, for one song entitled Breaking Kayfabe, I knew that I wanted to write a song that analyzed the integration of pro wrestling tactics in today’s pop culture and social media. I had no idea how the song would sound, I only knew that I wanted to somehow write a fun song that explored this topic.  I use a loop station in my show, which allows me to loop and record my vocals in a variety of fun ways. Sometimes I will dig through the over 100 loops I have recorded and see if anything sparks a chorus or a hook that could work for the song. In the case for Breaking Kayfabe, I was literally motorbiking through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and the entire hook of the song started to play in my head, fully formed musically. The lyrics for the hook were not quite set, but I could hear the cadence for each syllable in my head. I instantly drove home and laid down the vocals for the loop/music of the song and then got the chorus written very quickly.  The verses took MUCH longer and were developed over the course of a month or so.  It is a really fun process. Like a burst of music and lyrics that come all at once.

Carey Question: You mentioned that She Grew Funny explores the early death of your mother and your own relationship with your daughter. Do you find this subject matter hard or taxing on you as a performer emotionally? Also, how has the audience response been with the show? Do you have a chance to meet them after the show and further unpack the stories you share?

Joanne: The hardest moment came before I wrote the play – when my daughter turned 6. I didn’t remember much around my mother’s death, so I believed what I had been told – that I was too young to really understand or feel it.  But when my own daughter turned 6 and I experienced what six was, her relationship with me and how much she loved me – it made me realize that of course, I had felt it.  There was a period of mourning after that realization – but I came out of it writing.  Yes, some of the writing was hard as I sifted through my old memories – but performing the play now just joyful because it helped me work through that.  And it’s funny! I swear! The audience response has been pretty overwhelming. Yes, they often want to talk after the show – and I get a lot of private messages.  But it’s usually not to unpack more of my stories – it’s them wanting to tell me how their story as a child informs their life now. And this has been my happiest discovery – because it’s something I wanted – to use my own private story to hit on themes that were universal.

Joanne Question: Based on the description of your show (A one-man a capella/beatbox musical that blends singing, rapping, and high-octane dance) it sounds like such a good time – while also covering some pretty hard subjects, like anxiety. Was it difficult to find the funny in the tougher topics?

Carey: In terms of my elevator pitch, I have come to “It’s a one man a cappella that is a cross between Robin Williams and Reggie Watts”.  It is, as you said, meant to be a good time.  The topics in my show cover many topical issues like anxiety and the negative effects of social media, but it it done in a very fun way, through music. rapping and dance. I really enjoy the challenge of exploring difficult subjects in a fun and honest way.  The toughest aspect of this, is making sure that I have explored each topic as thoughtfully as I possibly can. The lyrics to each song have been meticulously edited so that every word is, hopefully, the best possible word choice for each song I write. I call my tunes, song-o-logues (song monologues) and the goal for each one is to be thoughtful and, as equally important, catchy! I want people singing the songs after the show. Audience enjoyment is key to me.

Carey Question: This is your third show, how would you say you have progressed as a solo artist? What has changed/remained the same about your performance style or creative process?

Joanne: I would say my comfort level in exploring harder themes has increased, as well as my willingness to put more of myself in my writing. My three shows follow a pretty clear arc of increasing bravery. In the first one I played a character instead of it being autobiographical, but I touched on themes of my life.  The second one was autobiographical – but I stayed in the relative safe zones of career and relationships. With She Grew Funny I went much deeper and darker than in my previous works – looking back at the early death of my mother and the ways in which tragedy and comedy have always been intertwined in my life. I think over the first two plays I was, in a way, building up the courage to write She Grew Funny.

She Grew Funny & Carey-OK!: Timeless Timely Tunes at UNO Fest

Tickets for every Opening Night at the festival are just $10 with promo code ‘ten’ online or at the door.

She Grew Funny plays Fri May 3, 9pm and Sat May 4, 7pm at the Intrepid Theatre Club

Carey-OK!: Timless Timely Tunes plays Thurs May 2, 9pm & Sat May 4, 9pm at the Intrepid Theatre Club

Artist2Artist at UNO Fest – Cory & Sydney

We’ve asked UNO Fest artists to interview each other about their shows, their creation process and what makes a solo show so unique. First up, a couple of Fringe storytellers who are bringing their shows to UNO Fest: Cory Thibert (AWKWARD HUG) and Sydney Hayduk (Jellyfish Are Immortal).

Cory interviews Sydney
– How does a solo show differ from a performing a duo piece of theatre?
S-A solo show means you’ve got 100% of the show to do, not 50%. More lines, more attention. It’s all you baby.
C – This show has a very strong message, did the idea for the show start with that or did it come out while writing/devising?
S – The message started strong and ended strong. Discoveries and connections were of course made and understood more as the creation moved forward, but loving yourself will change the world and that’s that.
C – What was the creation process like and how did you end up choosing the presentation style of the Jellyfish are Immortal?
S – Thea Fitz-James, my director and collaborator had a lot to do with how the show was presented. Sometimes you just need to stand on stage and say stuff to get your point across. It was challenging and a new way of doing things for me and I enjoyed it!
C – What is your favourite memory from this show, either from the creation process or performance?
S – Favourite moment was when my mom told me she was proud of me for doing this show. The story I tell has a lot to do with her and the struggles in our relationship. Having her on my team meant everything.
C – Is there a solo show that you’ve seen that has really affected you/inspired you to make a solo show yourself?
S – Thea’s show ‘Drunk Girl’ was a huge inspiration of mine. She is simply electric onstage. I’ve never just stood onstage and said my truth. It’s ballsy, and kinda punk and it made me approach her and ask her to do this thing with me.


Sydney interviews Cory
S – What was your favourite moment in the creation/performance of doing your show so far?

C – I’m going to cheat and say the overall process of working and touring with my fiancee and the director of the show Linnea Gwiazda. This is the first show that we collaborated on together, between creating the show and driving across the country and back together in our little car has provided so many lovely memories.
S -Your vulnerability in this show is breathtaking and unlike anything you’ve ever done before (big fan). What made you tell YOUR story? Why now?
C
– The majority of my work has been collaborations with other writers, I wanted to know what I would make. I starting writing portions in my notebook with no expectations, the material was always on my mind and then I was terrified of it being an actual show – at that point I told myself I just have to make it.
S – Where do you want to go with this show, what’s your end goal, what’s the big, big far down the road dream if there is one?
C – For Linnea and I both, we hope that this past year has been the beginning of the shows life, we want to continue to tour it, outside of Canada and share it with more people and connect with those who will get something out of it. Our next immediate goal is to perform it in Ottawa, where it is set.
S – What was it like telling these stories on stage for the first time?
C – The first time I performed it for people not on the team was in Victoria at a dress rehearsal for Tony and Monica before the first public performance. I was nervous, Tony’s been my best friend since gr.8, he knows me and my family, there were points where he was visibly emotional and then it got me emotional and I just had to stop performing for a minute before I could continue. Then we hugged at the end, it was lovely.
S – What was it like creating Awkward Hug? Was it a struggle, a spiritual mission, fluid and easy, or just something that had to be done?
C – The writing process was the hardest part, not only being self reflective on certain things but figuring out what mattered, making sure nothing was written out of ego, what belongs in the show and what doesn’t. Once I had a script and brought on TJ to dramaturg and Linnea to direct it became very fluid and easy, they elevated it to a new level and I could separate myself from the material a bit and focus on editing the script and performing.

AWKWARD HUG & Jellyfish Are Immortal at UNO Fest

Tickets for every Opening Night at the festival are just $10 with promo code ‘ten’ online or at the door.

AWKWARD HUG plays Wed May 8, 8pm & Friday May 10, 9pm at Metro Studio.

Jellyfish Are Immortal plays Thurs May 9, 8pm & Fri May 10, 7pm at Metro Studio

Never been to UNO Fest before? What are you waiting for?

You’re out there. You UNO Fest virgins. If you are a Fringe die-hard, there are treasures from the Fringe like Cory Thibert’s AWKWARD HUG, Carey Wass’ Carey-OK! : Timeless Timely Tunes, and Sydney Hayduk’s Jellyfish Are Immortal . If you’re afraid of “one-person solo shows”, don’t be. The festival takes solo theatre into uncharted territory – a pop city of stories and intimate encounters with nine local storytellers in Fernwood Square at Trophy, to a concept album for the stage in the musical collaboration HEATSEEKER from Hank Pine and Jenson Kerr. UNO Fest also features daring stories and some of the country’s acclaimed theatre artists like comedian Jan Derbyshire’s Certified and Gemini award-winning Cree artist Michelle Thrush’s Inner Elder. If you’ve never been to UNO Fest before, make this your year.

Take a chance, bring a friend, and experience what adventurous theatre-lovers have been raving about for more than 20 years. This year’s line-up is about hope, about overcoming adversity, about turning points, about dreams, and about connecting with the past. We have hand selected all 14 shows and cannot wait to share them with you.

Every Opening Night has $10 tickets

Use promo code ten online or buy $10 tickets at the door. We believe theatre should be accessible, affordable, and start conversations. See you at UNO!

E

UNO Fest runs May 1-11. Get all the details and info HERE. 

Behind the Scenes – Triple Threat

A guest post from Kris Nelson from London’s LIFT Festival goes behind the scenes at OUTstages. Nelson reflects on Lucy McCormick’s Triple Threat, which he programmed as the Festival Director at the Dublin Fringe in 2017. Triple Threat makes its North American debut in Victoria as part of OUTstages on February 1.

 

Lucy McCormick’s Triple Threat is virtuosic camp, cutting satire and equal parts hilarious and chillingly moving. We invited her and her fantastic go-go dancers to Dublin Fringe Festival in 2017 and co-presented the show with the excellent Project Arts Centre. Triple Threat needed to come to Dublin not just because it’s an excellent and urgent performance rooted firmly in the casual vibe aesthetic of classic Fringe – but also because it resounded with themes we were exploring and did it with incredible rigour. Under the shadow of Ireland’s oppressive antiabortion laws yet to be overturned, we were examining gender, bodily autonomy, and eros. Triple Threat is megalomaniac in its construction – Lucy insists on playing every part. And it’s radical in its outcome – Lucy’s megalomania liberates every character in the story of Jesus and Mary and churns the audience to a kind of frenzy you only usually experience at a metal gig. Or a gospel service. What Lucy offers is a liberation of the sensual and erotic. A liberation of oppression, especially gender oppression, bodily liberation and a liberation of the very story of Jesus and Mary. She does it with razor sharp precision, jaw-dropping dance moves and pop vocals that would shred the competition in any X Factor line-up. As I watched, several scenes elicited snorts of laughter and deliciously dirty chuckles. In at least one moment Lucy evoked that kind of startling tunnel vision you get when watching – no beholding – someone who has profoundly moved you. It’s not so much a must see, it’s a must experience. A daring, powerful and surprisingly personal tour de force.

-Kris Nelson

 


Director, Dramaturg and Artistic Director Kris Nelson has worked extensively in multi-disciplinary arts in Canada, where he lived until 2013, and Dublin for the past four years, leading the fully curated Fringe Festival. After 4 years at the helm, Kris left the Dublin Fringe Festival at the end of 2017, having curated over 300 shows during his time there and took on the role of Artistic Director at LIFT in April 2018.
—–

Triple Threat
Lucy McCormick
ONE NIGHT ONLY
Friday February 1, 9pm
Metro Studio – 1411 Quadra Street

Get tickets HERE

 


Triple Threat photo by The Other Richard

Behind the Scenes – Agokwe: Unplugged

Intrepid Theatre’s Producer Sammie Gough goes behind the scenes at OUTstages and reflects on Agokwe: Unplugged and how the show introduced her to Two Spirit creator/performer Waawaate Fobister.
I was lucky enough to experience Waawaate Fobister’s Agokwe at the Cultch in Vancouver a few years ago. I had recently moved from Australia to Canada and had very little understanding of what it is like to grow up on a reservation, or about Two Spirit traditions and Anishinaabe culture. Agokwe is such a gift as a story, as it draws you into this world. I remember being entranced by the way Waawaate channels Nanabush, the Ojibwe trickster spirit. As a white fella (settler) from Australia I had never even heard of a trickster before, or for that matter experienced theatre that weaves together Indigenous storytelling traditions with contemporary performance. I was completely drawn into this magical world of spirits by Waawaate’s beautiful storytelling. They embody multiple characters in this moving, vulnerable and funny performance which tells a story that is based on their life experience, and is also universal in its portrayal of unrequited love and homophobia.
Indigenous artists are leading the way in a renaissance in Canada in terms of the understanding of Indigenous traditions, experience and living culture, and bravely demanding space to tell their stories. As Waawaate said about the show, “There’s no one else who is going to tell our stories the way we wanna tell them”. I think as audience members, it is an honour for us to be able to engage with these powerful stories and to listen and to grow. I can’t wait to see Agokwe again nearly ten years later at OUTstages’ 5th anniversary.
Agokwe: Unplugged
Waawate Fobister
Tuesday February 5, 8pm
ONE NIGHT ONLY
Metro Studio – 1411 Quadra
Tickets: $20
Buy Tickets HERE
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photo: Marc J Chalifoux

Behind the Scenes – altBurlesque Queer Showcase

Riot Grrrls Burlesque Revue founder, producer and performer Vanny von Baron goes behind the scenes on the creation of their queer-focused show debuting at OUTstages.
Feminists Unite! The Riot Grrrls altBurlesque Revue has teamed up with queers from Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle, to bring together an exclusively Queer Showcase for the OUTstages Festival. What is really exciting for us is that our political performance art has started to really expand lately. We have a larger and more diverse crew with Drag Queens/Kings, spoken word artists and Opera Singers alike to create something really powerful. We all have one thing in common: a vehement desire to undermine the cisheteropatriarchy. Come be part of the movement!
Tickets for altBurlesque Queer Showcase are selling fast, grab yours HERE.
altBurlesque Queer Showcase
Riot Grrrls Burlesque Revue
ONE NIGHT ONLY
Saturday february 2, 8pm
Metro Studio – 1411 Quadra
Tickets: $25
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photo: Amus Beast Osaurus
illustration: Rayola Creative

Donor Spotlight – Melanie

Our donors are adventurous theatre-goers and philanthropists who make so much possible with their generosity and support all years long. On Giving Tuesday, we wanted to shine the light on a few monthly donors and share their stories.

Melanie is a Board Member, contributing her skill, expertise and time to Intrepid Theatre, and is also a monthly donor. Melanie is a staple in the Victoria arts community, she can be seen at shows, festivals and events all over town, and has been a reviewer for various publications. She is currently on the team of reviewers at Check the Program, and is a BIG fan of Intrepid.

 

Favourite Show

So hard to pick a favourite from the hundreds of shows Intrepid has brought to Victoria, but here’s three that have stuck out for me/that I’ve kept thinking about over the years:

– TJ Dawe’s Lucky 9 (UNO Fest 2011) was the first monologue I’d ever seen that I couldn’t stop thinking about for weeks afterwards. His mastery and weaving together of seemingly unrelated things like enneagram numerology and The Wire (one of my favourite shows) to tell a personal story about self-discovery and parental relationships completely blew my mind. I’ve loved this form of storytelling ever since and few do it as well as TJ.

– Until Ingrid Hansen/Snafu’s Little Orange Man, I’d never seen a show that made such extraordinary and powerful use of puppetry, movement and projection work.  Through tears and joy and a jumpy-clapping ovation at the end of the show, it opened me up to storytelling possibilities beyond dialogue and monologue.  This particular show has endured as my absolute favourite in the Kitt Trilogy.

– On a similar note, I wasn’t even really open to the idea of enjoying a magic show until I saw Travis Bernhardt perform at the Fringe for the first time (and I haven’t missed a show of his since). I still have no idea how he does the mentalism he’s singularly capable of, but I’ve learned to suspend my disbelief and commit to simply being present, open to and surprised by his unparalleled ability to truly see people (and all of their hopes, fears and expectations) with great care and consideration.

 

I am a monthly donor because as a member of the Board, I know how important individual donations are to supporting the incredible work that Intrepid Theatre does. Contributing monthly means that I spread my gift out over the year, and my monthly contributions add up to have great impact for Intrepid and I barely notice the monthly payments on my credit card. It’s so easy to set-up, too!

 

Consider becoming a monthly donor like Melanie and spread your gift out in monthly instalments, and maximize your charitable donation. It’s easy to set-up a monthly donation, in any amount and you will automatically receive tax receipts via e-mail. Set-up a monthly donation or make a one-time gift on #GivingTuesday here: https://intrepidtheatre.com/donate/

 

 

 

 

Donor Spotlight – Bill & Valerie

Our donors are adventurous theatre-goers and philanthropists who do good stuff and make so much possible with their generosity and support all years long. On Giving Tuesday, we wanted to shine the light on a few monthly donors and share their stories.

Bill & Valerie are both monthly donors, and can often be seen at Intrepid shows, festivals and events. They both chose to support Intrepid Theatre because of the brave and adventurous theatre that cannot be seen anywhere else in Victoria. They love UNO Fest, OUTstages, Fringe and value both the inclusivity and diversity of our programming and the support we offer to emerging artists. Bill & Valerie also love that through the shows they have seen at Intrepid Theatre, that they are opened up to new ideas and ways of expressing them.

Favourite Show
Our favourite show, without a doubt was Pearle Harbour’s Chautauqua at OUTstages. It was beyond anything we have experienced anywhere in a lifelong following of theatre of every kind. We would see it again if it was offered anywhere near Victoria. We still talk about this show, and some of the moments in it still have us laughing and thinking.

Favourite Memory
The best moment of the last year was in The Humours of Bandon at UNO Fest. The noise/rhythm/sound of the performer’s dancing still rings in our ears.

We are each individual monthly donors because it is an easy and painless way to continue our support throughout the year in smaller amounts that add up to something that we might not be able to get to at the mad scramble near the end of the year to get tax deductions.

Consider becoming a monthly donor like Bill & Valerie and spread your gift out in monthly instalments, and maximize your charitable donation. It’s easy to set-up a monthly donation, in any amount and you will automatically receive tax receipts via e-mail. Set-up a monthly donation or make a one-time gift on #GivingTuesday here: https://intrepidtheatre.com/donate/

Meet our 2018 Summer Students

If you are around the Victoria Fringe this summer, volunteering at the festival, or stop by the office,  you will see two new faces – Amy & Desirée, our 2018 Fringe Volunteer Coordinators. These two are working hard to place artists with billets, create volunteer schedules and work with the 300 volunteers who power the Fringe! Neither of them are strangers to the local arts scene and are working hard to make their mark on the 32nd  annual Victoria Fringe Festival.

Meet Amy Anderson
Amy is a local performance art and film enthusiast. In her spare time she programs a public film screening series at Victoria’s SubCulture Club, works as a projectionist at UVic’s Cinecenta Theatre, and hosts a radio show about experimental music on CFUV 101.9. Amy is currently working on her bachelors degree in Film Studies at the University of Victoria, where she just completed a directed study that explored feminist themes of domesticity in horror cinema.

Amy has early memories of attending Fringe as a teeny tiny kid (where she watched a lot of amazing shows that she was very entertained by, but in hindsight probably too young to see, thanks mom.) Amy feels so honoured to be a part of Fringe this year and can’t wait to work with an amazing group of volunteers and learn more about the fabulous arts and performance community in Victoria (and beyond!)

Meet Desirée Hall
Desirée is a local, queer musician, who is passionate about the power of the arts in community building and change-making. After having left Victoria to pursue a diploma in Contemporary Music in the Kootenays, and then an interlude to learn about farming and sustainability on the Gulf Islands, she returned to Victoria to study as a soprano at the UVic School of Music. Choral music is her first love, having performed locally with choirs and small ensembles for many years, so returning to delve in to the classical world brings her musical journey full circle.

Desirée is a Fringe newbie, but has been familiar with Intrepid as a mainstay of Victoria’s arts community for many years and is very excited to be a part of the Fringe team this year. She sees the work that Intrepid does to make space for the voices of underrepresented artists as so integral, and is grateful to be learning the ins and outs of making such an important festival happen.

 

These positions are funded through the Canada Summer Jobs program.

My Funny Valentine – a (brief) history

We are presenting Zee Zee Theatre’s My Funny Valentine as part of OUTstages 2018. This solo show centres around the tragic 2008 murder of 15-year-old Lawrence King who was shot by a male classmate after asking him to be his Valentine, and explores the ripple effects a tragedy like this has on a town. Through a series of moving and funny monologues with characters who are on the periphery of this event, My Funny Valentine cracks open the humanity of a town trying to heal.

“The play really ignites conversations – different people connect to different characters for different reasons. It’s all part of a larger conversation of the ripple effect – that when something happens in a community it ripples out and we are all affected.”  – Deveau in an interview with Janis La Couvee

The Georgia Strait called this show The Laramie Project of this generation (a play written in 2000 about the murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming). Written by award-winning Vancouver playwright Dave Deveau, My Funny Valentine premiered in 2011 in Vancouver, just as the murder trial was playing out in the news. This Zee Zee Theatre production was nominated for 3 Jessie Richardson awards (winning Best Original Play) and the play won the Sydney Risk Prize for Outstanding Original Play. The show was re-mounted the following year, and a production from Lethbridge, Ab toured to Dublin for the International Gay Theatre Festival, where it was nominated for the Oscar Wilde Award (outstanding writing).

Zee Zee Theatre has re-mounted the show for the 10th Anniversary this year, and has toured to Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and played in Vancouver. Four actors have played in this solo show, and every time the show is produced, Deveau works on the text, altering and rewriting to reflect our current world and climate, shifting the final monologue. This tour continues with stops in Victoria, Ladysmith/Cowichan Performing Arts Centre and Surrey this month.

This play has a history with OUTstages, too. In 2015, we included a reading of a 40 minute excerpt in a Playreading Double Bill as the first event of the inaugural festival, read by local actor Kiaran Wilson and directed by Sean Guist.

My Funny Valentine plays ONE NIGHT ONLY at OUTstages 2018.
Thursday June 21, 7pm
Metro Studio – 1411 Quadra Street
Written by Dave Deveau
Performed by Connor Wylie
Directed by Cameron Mackenzie

Read more & get tickets. 

UNO FEST SPOTLIGHT: Makambe K Simamba & Audrey Dwyer

As part of the UNO Fest Development Series, we are thrilled to present the latest work from Makambe K Simamba at UNO Fest 2018 in May.  Her new show, Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers, and Little Brothers was created at the One Yellow Rabbit Summer Lab in 2016 and has been supported with residencies at the the Banff Playwright Colony and b currents’ rock.paper.sistahz development series supported by Alberta Theatre Projects.

February 26, 2012, Florida. A 17 year old black boy wearing a hoodie leaves a 7/11 carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. He never makes it home.Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers invites us to enter the world of an infamous teen, relive his last moments, and face the intricacy of his dance into the afterlife.

Makambe says that this show can be best be described as: Young Kendrick Lamar crossed with the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Learn more about why she is telling this story HERE.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Makambe performed her last solo work which A Chitenge Story, which linked the harassment of a young woman in residence at University in Canada with a repressed childhood memory and follows her harrowing journey back to Zambia to find the truth, at UNO Fest 2016. Makambe is a Zambian born theatre artist based in Calgary and has been recognized nationally as a playwright and performer, and is a member of the Alberta Theatre Projects Playwrights Unit.

This solo work is directed by Audrey Dwyer, an award-winning director and creator from Toronto. Audrey has won multiple Dora Awards and was the Associate Artistic Director of Nightwood Theatre. Her latest play, Calpurnia just premiered in a Nightwood Theatre/Sulong Theatre co-production and will be published in 2019.

UNO Fest tickets, passes and the festival schedule will be live on March 6. 

A queer variety show for everybody at The Metro

Intrepid Theatre is proud to support the Staches and Lashes Collective Runs In The Family, a queer variety show for everybody, focusing on queer youth. Youth under 24? Get FREE tickets online with promocode RITF18

Runs In the Family 2: Rebels and Heroes

Saturday January 20th, 7:30pm
Metro Studio – 1411 Quadra St
Tickets HERE or in-person at Ticket Rocket, #101 – 804 Broughton St.

It’s sassy, comical, and raw – a queer variety show for everybody! Staches and Lashes Collective is excited for it’s second Runs In The Family show. We’re celebrating community with drag, dance, song, poetry, and short film from Victoria’s premiere entertainers and amazing youth performers! You’ll see former Ms. And Mr. Gay Vancouver Island Henrietta Dubét and Persi Flage, drag darling Vivian Vanderpuss, the 2017 Pride Marshal, comedian Zane Oak, lead singer of Electric Sex Panther, Quarterback, youth composer Aurora Finkle, and many more!

There is also VIP access to youth in care and formerly in care 24 and under. Thanks to sponsorship from the Federation of BC Youth In Care Networks and the Youth Empowerment Society, these youth are also invited to come between 6 and 7pm for food, meet and greet, and hear special talks from our Two Spirit Elder and a performer who, himself, is a former youth in care. Use promo code VIPRITF!

Throughout the night games and prizes are in the mix, there’s a free candy bar, and bus tickets are available upon request.

Just like at any intentional family gathering, expect a lot of laughs, theatrics, and authentic stories from this diverse and exceptional group or performances!

About the producers: Staches and Lashes Collective is a collective of drag performers in Victoria BC who host queer arts events, privileging LGBTQ2* programming for kids and youth.

Support artists like Pamela with a donation to Intrepid

This year alone, 100 shows took to the stage as part of our festivals, presenting series and emerging artist program, The YOU Show. Your support and donations make this work possible, and directly support the artists we work with. Pamela Bethel’s show, After the Beep was part of The YOU Show in 2015, and then in UNO Fest and the Victoria Fringe. Read what Pamela has to say about the resources and support she received from Intrepid.

Intrepid Theatre is a driving force in this community: as a resource for local artists, a platform for new work and a presenter of some of the most challenging, current, curious and inspired artists and performances. My show, After the Beep, benefited immensely from the support of Intrepid Theatre.  It was first developed as part of The YOU Show program, a platform for local artists to launch new work and test-drive ideas. Being offered a spot in this program in 2015 gave me several things I needed to make my kooky idea into an actual show.  First, a deadline – an absolute necessity for me to get something done (just ask Sean how long it took to get this quote out of me).  Second, a safe space to workshop and experiment with brand new material in front of a supportive audience – it’s so important for artists to be able to test ideas out in front of real people before spending years of their lives on something that turns out to be a complete waste of time, rendering them bitter and alone in their twilight years.  Okay that last sentence may have been a bit over-the-top.  See? I should have tested out that sentence before sharing it – case in point.  And third, continuing feedback, interest in and encouragement of the show as I continued to develop it.  This is one of the things that makes Intrepid so vital – the personal touch they have with artists in Victoria – whether  you’re a seasoned pro or a fragile beginner.  Since that first showing 2 years ago in the Intrepid Theatre Club, I continued to work on and develop After the Beep and it has played at festivals including the 20th UNO Fest and the Victoria Fringe.  Next summer it will hit the Winnipeg Fringe and it’s really reassuring to know I have a solid home-grown show that’s ready for an audience in a new city.  Now I’m just trying to figure out how to budget for Heather, Sammie, Sean, Justine and Owen to come along with me.

Consider making a tax deductible donation to support our festivals, venues and artist programs. DONATE HERE.

Happy Holidays!

From all of us here at Intrepid Theatre, have a happy, safe and wonderful holiday and thanks for spending 2017 with us. The Intrepid Theatre office will be closed from December 18, 2017 to January 5, 2018 as we take a “Winter Break.” We will resume regular business hours on Monday, January 8, 2018.

To make a donation and get your 2017 charitable tax receipt, send a cheque to #2 – 1609 Blanshard St, Victoria BC V8W 2J5 or donate online HERE.

From Dublin, with love

Part of the job of programming UNO Fest, OUTstages and our presenting series is to travel to see work, meet artists and experience other performing arts festivals. In the last two months, I have been lucky enough to be invited to Summerworks in Toronto and the Dublin Fringe Festival where I took in 35 artist’s new works, with hopes to bring some amazing voices to Intrepid’s stages.

Invited by the Irish Cultural Institute and Dublin Fringe, I took part as an international presenting delegate and saw 23 shows in 11 days. From speed-dating pitch sessions with Irish artists, to being interviewed about the versatility of what Intrepid does in Victoria and how Intrepid is one of the very few in Canada who presents a broad range of work from early career local, Canadian and International artists. I also spoke on a presenter’s panel about “the voice of the now.”

What does now mean? For me, it’s what is haunting the artist to have the unstoppable need to create this work, write this piece, get this voice on the stage NOW? What is this the driving force to make this important to share with an audience NOW? This conversation taps in to the artist’s heart, engine and core of the piece and if their connection to the piece has some urgency to it, it is already bridging a connection to you, the audience.

The Dublin Fringe gave me an unforgettable opportunity to introduce Intrepid, our festivals, venues and programs, to the international arts community. The door has been opened, and I am dreaming about an exchange program where not only can we bring more international artists to Victoria, but that Intrepid can help bridge Victoria’s local artists to perform at the Dublin Fringe. I’ll keep you posted on the dream becoming a reality, wish me luck!

-Heather Lindsay

Executive Director

Fringe 50/50 Raffle Winners

Congrats to Lydia Kasianchuk on winning the first draw in our Fringe 50/50 Raffle! Lydia won $405 at the Fringe Eve Preview, thanks to everyone who bought a 50/50 Raffle ticket that evening and supported the Fringe. The winning ticket was #003029

Congrats to Fin MacDonald on winning Draw #2 on the final night of the festival. Fin won $2,022.50.

Thanks to everyone who supported the Victoria Fringe and purchased a Fringe 50/50 Raffle ticket.

Pictured: Raffle winner Lydia Kasianchuk, Intrepid Theatre Board President Kylie Sandham & Fringe Preview host David Radford.

Problem Gambling Help Line: 1-888-795-6111
www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca

 

 

Meet the 2017 Summer Students

If you are around the Victoria Fringe this summer, volunteering at the festival, or stop by the office,  you will see two new faces – Chase Hiebert, our 2017 Fringe Volunteer Coordinator and Holly Lam, our 2017 Fringe Billet Coordinator. These two are working hard to place artists with billets, create volunteer schedules and work with the 300 volunteers who power the Fringe! Neither of them are strangers to the wild ride that is the Fringe and they are looking forward to making their mark on the 31st annual Victoria Fringe Festival.

Meet Chase

Chase is a local actor, director, writer, and administrator. He holds a newly minted BFA in Theatre from UVic, and is heading back to school in the fall to complete a BA in Writing. For the past three summers he has worked as an administrator for Theatre SKAM. Last year, he co-produced SKAMpede, SKAM’s annual festival of site-specific miniplays that takes place along the Galloping Goose Trail. Just before starting with Intrepid this summer, Chase was on stage in productions of Born Yesterday and Our Town at Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre. This spring, his play Blind Portrait was produced by Vino Buono as the first show of their inaugural 2017 season. Bulb Duet, Chase’s latest play, will be produced by the Student Alternative Theatre Company at UVic this September.

Fringe Encounters

An avid fringe-goer since he came to Victoria five years ago, Chase is a lover of the Fringe! He has directed shows in the Victoria Fringe Festival for the last two years, including the “Favourite New Play” of the 2016 Victoria Fringe, Art of the Eight Limbs. He sees as many shows as he can every year! His favourite fringe show was the deliciously weird and wacky Camel Camel. Chase loves Fringe shows that embrace the insanity of existence.

Chase can’t wait for Fringe this year! His favourite part of Fringe is always seeing new and exciting work that challenges his conception of the world around him. He is overjoyed to be a part of this year’s team making that work accessible to Victoria audiences.

Meet Holly

Holly is a UVic student chipping away at a BA in Creative Writing, with a Professional Writing Minor in Journalism and Publishing. For several years she performed and competed in Victoria’s slam poetry circuit, but nowadays writes short stories and screenplays. She has written, directed and worked in the crew on several short films, and most recently created a supercut video series, Let’s Make a Baby, about the portrayal of queer women as mothers on TV. She is also an intern on the fiction board of The Malahat Review. 

Fringe Encounters

Holly started Fringing as a theatre critic for The Martlet, and has since become a dedicated theatre-goer around Victoria. She is absolutely thrilled to be working with Intrepid this summer! The most mind-blowing Fringe show she’s ever seen was The Exclusion Zone, created by Martin Dockery, in 2015. Holly is looking forward to seeing how all the elements of the festival come together, meeting the amazing volunteers, and being part of the team that creates such a vibrant cultural event!

These positions are funded through the Canada Summer Jobs program. 

Show your Fringe Pride!

Join the gang from Intrepid Theatre and the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival at the 2017 Victoria Pride Parade. This is a great chance to show your pride, or if you have a Fringe show, don’t miss out on the chance to promote your 2017 Victoria Fringe show. With thousands of people lining the streets, it’s a great opportunity to grab a sign with the name of your show, hand out handbills, and promote like crazy. Anyone can join us!

To join our walking group, e-mail Sean at sean[at]intrepidtheatre.com and we will send you the parade details. The 2017 Victoria Pride Parade takes place on Sunday, July 9th and starts at 11am, at Government and Pandora and winds through downtown, ending at Macdonald Park in James Bay at the Pride Festival.  HAPPY PRIDE!

Top 5 reasons to donate today

 

If you’re wondering why you should get out the trusty Credit Card and make a donation today (or before the end of June), read on!

1. ART. We produce 3 festivals and a series of national and international theatre, bringing more than 400 performances to Victoria every year. That much art needs your support.
2. YOUR NAME IN PRINT. Donate before the end of June and your name will be in the 2017 Fringe Guide in the list of donors.
3. PERKS. We have great perks and treats for our donors, at every level of giving – discounts, parties, exclusive prize draws and first-dibs on Frequent Fringer 10-show passes.
4. TAX RECEIPT. Give today and reap the rewards on your taxes next April. Every donation of $25 or more gets a charitable tax receipt & a handwritten note!
5. $10,000. For every donation of $3 or more through Canada Helps before 11:59pm on June 30, we are entered in a draw to win an additional $10,000, and that would be HUGE.

 

DONATE ONLINE HERE<<

 

 

 

Never been to UNO Fest?

You’re out there. You UNO Fest virgins. If you are a Fringe die-hard, there are Fringe favourites like TJ Dawe’s Burn Job and Pedro Chamale’s Small Town Hoser Spic(yes, you can see TJ Dawe without standing in a Fringe line-up). If you’re afraid of “one-person solo shows”, don’t be. These shows take solo theatre into uncharted territory – from soundscapes to moving images to underground dance halls. If you’ve never been to UNO Fest before, make this your year.

Take a chance, bring a friend, and experience what adventurous theatre-lovers have been raving about for 20 years. This year’s line-up reflects our zeitgeist, reacting to what is happening today, pondering how we got here, and looking to where we are headed. We have hand selected all 15 shows and cannot wait to share them with you.

UNO Fest runs May 17-27. Get all the details and info HERE. 

Looking back at the first UNO Fest

Rayola Creative has been designing the UNO Fest posters, programs and ads, and creating the festival look since Year #1 in 1997. We asked Clint from Rayola to look back on this inaugural festival and share his thoughts on the first ever UNO poster.

The eye looks back at us, observing the observer. Nothing tricky here: the eye seems to be aware of its own artifice (it’s a photographic print of a single eye, black and white, high contrast, a bit of grain, cropped to a rough square, perhaps cut from a larger portrait. The eyebrow an elegant comma, giving nothing away, impossible to read gender or intent.) No one is trying to fool anyone, but. The unblinking eye is pasted onto the back of a close-cropped head seen from behind, shallow depth of field, the silver disembodied head suspended in a black void, something like bullets forming a neck, a collar. Chemical stains, the marks of printmaking and the darkroom, rise from the surface of the print, making us aware of the constructedness of the image without abnegating drama, mystery, ambiguity.

I knew “Eye in the Back of the Head” by Montréal artist Dominique Thibodeau (www.dominiquetskoltz.com) was the perfect image for UNO Fest’s inaugural poster in 1997. It was intriguing, mysterious, dark, poetic — it seemed to have been made for the nascent festival. The solo performer under the spotlight: with no one on stage to hold their gaze, where else can the look be directed but back at us, the audience, the observed observing the observers? It is this shifting interplay between performer and audience that makes UNO such a fascinating, singular theatrical experience. Dominique’s photograph is an eye looking back at us out of the dark.

— Clint Hutzulak, May 2017

World Theatre Day Flash Sale

Celebrate World Theatre Day with discounted tickets to acclaimed Canadian artists at UNO Fest

Happy World Theatre Day! This annual event was created by UNESCO to celebrate the power of theatre as an indispensable bridge-builder for mutual international understanding and peace as well as to promote and protect cultural diversity and identity in communities throughout the world.

As theatre-lovers, we wanted to give you a special treat for World Theatre Day – an UNO FEST FLASH SALE! Use the promo code “WTD” to save $5 on tickets to either performance of Carmen Aguirre’s Broken Tailbone, May 26 & 27 or the ONE NIGHT ONLY keynote talk WTF? (or What’s Theatre For?) from Daniel MacIvor on May 17 at UNO Fest. This flash sale promo code is valid from 9am until 11:59pm today only.

Purchase tickets by calling Ticket Rocket 250.590.6291 or in-person at Ticket Rocket HQ #101 – 804 Broughton (across from The Royal) or at the buttons below.

BC Black History Month

Black History Month Events

Intrepid Theatre and The Belfry Theatre are teaming up with BC Black History Awareness Society to present a number of events and performances in celebration of Black History Month, plus, Justin Carter remounts Son of Africville for one-night only at The VEC. The full schedule of events is listed at bcblackhistory.ca

Just an Ordinary Lawyer
Thursday, February 2 at 8 pm
Metro Studio Theatre

Intrepid Theatre presents Just an Ordinary Lawyer, from the performer and creator of Call Mr Robeson (which played at The Metro in 2013) as part of Black History Month. Just an Ordinary Lawyer, from Tayo Aluko, combines music, cricket and storytelling to tell the true story of Nigerian Tunji Sowande, who quietly broke through multiple barriers to become Britain’s first Black judge in 1978. Tickets available here. 

Just An Ordinary Lawyer is presented in partnership with the BC Black History Awareness Society.

Son of Africville
Monday February 6, 7pm
Victoria Event Centre

Stemming from the roots of historic Africville, Canada’s largest and oldest black community, SON OF AFRICVILLE is the heartwarming true story of a young man’s journey back to a mother that always loved him. Relived through story and song, Justin Carter tells this autobiographical tale of a mother who gave up her son because of drugs and schizophrenia and their reunion after almost 20 years apart. Carter’s show premiered at Puente Theatre, and has gone on to play Uno Fest and and festivals across the country. Get tickets HERE. 

 

An Evening of Spoken Word Poetry and Jazz and Blues with Ann-Bernice Thomas and Maureen Washington

Monday, February 27, 7 pm
The Belfry Theatre

Ann-Bernice Thomas, Victoria’s 2016 Youth Poet Laureate, uses her voice to rally social change with themes of immigration, identity, feminism, sexual education, mental health, and racism. She is pleased to have acted in an Anti-Bias Show, aimed to help bridge the gap between police, immigrants, and ethno-cultural community. Ann-Bernice was also the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator at the 2016 Victoria Fringe, so you might recognize here.

Maureen Washington always delivers a thrilling, energetic and soulful performance of jazz and blues with her trio. She has won several awards including being named 2014 Black Canadian Awards Best Jazz and Soul Artist. She is backed by Karel Roessingh – piano, Joey Smith – bass, Damian Graham – drums.

Admission by donation.

Co-sponsored by the BC Black History Awareness Society, the Greater Victoria Public Library, the Belfry and the Government of Canada.

Holiday Hours

The Intrepid Theatre office will be closed from December 23 – January 9. We will re-open the morning of Monday, January 9th at 10am. We will respond to all phone messages and e-mails then. Don’t forget to make your charitable donation before December 31 for a 2016 tax receipt. Donate online here or send your cheque in the mail before the end of the year.

From all of us at Intrepid Theatre, thanks for a memorable year and for sharing 2016 with us! See you in 2017 for more fearless artists and adventurous theatre. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 

Ruminations from World Fringe Congress: the collective power of the Fringe

The Montreal World Fringe Conference

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to travel to Montreal for the World Fringe Congress. There’s nothing like a conference hall of 120 passionate festival organizers from around the world to get you fired up about our shared Fringe mission. This international convergence of Fringe Festivals taught me a great deal, particularly about the collective power of the network of over 250 Fringe Festivals internationally and Victoria’s role within it.

A global Fringe movement

Nearly 70 years ago, a group of eight artists were denied a spot in the Edinburgh Festival. They decided that this wouldn’t stop them from having a voice and staged their own performance in makeshift venues on the ‘fringe’ of the festival. These disenfranchised artists railing against the establishment struck a chord with their local community and signalled the beginnings of what has since become a global movement. From its anarchic inception, this powerful, transformative idea has manifested itself in many different forms in over 250 cities across the world. To me, this is staggering the scale this global community has reached – over 19 million people see approximately 170,000 artists perform at Fringe Festivals each year. But perhaps even more fascinating is that regardless of the city, the artists, the audiences, this idea of ‘Fringe’ has kept its innately Do-It-Yourself and independent roots.

A uniquely Canadian pastime

It became clear listening to other Fringes in Europe talk about challenges faced with artists touring that the North American Fringe tour is unique and incredibly special. The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals works together to link up dates so artists can tour Fringes right across the country from Montreal to Vancouver. This not only helps emerging and established artists but elevates Fringing to a national pastime that can be enjoyed in whatever city you happen to find yourself in.

I Fringe, You Fringe, We all Fringe

We all Fringe in different ways in different places – the big daddy Fringe in Edinburgh with nearly three thousand shows is quite a different proposition to the eight shows at the little Prince Edward Island Fringe on the other side of Canada. Hearing all the different voices from cities around the world describe at the conference how their city had shaped their Fringe was inspiring. As Davide at the Italian ‘Roma’ Fringe in Italy said, “the Fringe must fit the mask of the city”. It also made me realize that regardless of whether you are seeing a show at the outdoor Roma Fringe, chatting to a fellow audience member in a Victoria Fringe lineup or sharing a beer with artists at the Adelaide Fringe’s garden of unearthly delights, this experience that we all share, commonly known as ‘Fringing’, retains the same underlying ideals of accessible theatre for everyone and creating a platform for independent artists to self-produce their work.

BE BRAVE

When this idea (which Intrepid Theatre uses as its catchphrase) came up in a group discussion about planning for future festivals, I knew I was in the right place. In a panel discussion, San Fran organiser Christina Aguelllo said, “Without risk, there is no art”. In each corner of the globe, Fringe Festivals are constantly evolving and in their own way pushing boundaries to bring artists and audiences together for unique experiences. As audience members, we take a chance every time we see a show by an artist we aren’t familiar with, and look forward to the surprises and excitement that come with artists bravely creating shows taking artistic leaps of faith. Basic Training creator Kahlil Ashanti remarked in the conference’s keynote speech, “there are so few places where you can take a risk in the [entertainment] industry”, but for him the Fringe is a space where he can safely test out new work in front of an audience and strive for artistic innovation.

Challenges

One commonality between all the Fringes is that they fill a need in their communities and there are always challenges that come with this that are unique to each city. In Sydney, Australia there are no small-scale venues of 400 seats and under that independent theatre creators can rent (much like Victoria in the 1990s). The Fringe there provides a home and a platform for a independent work to thrive. In Edinburgh the population more than doubles during the festival that is attended by 4 million people and they struggle to find affordable accommodation for visiting artists. In South Africa, there are power outages during this festival which frequently interrupt performances.

Elevate the local to the global

This catchphrase from by the infinitely quotable Adam J. K. Potrykus from Stockholm Fringe became the unofficial catch-cry of the conference. Fringe is a worldwide movement, but on a micro level it’s also a family made up of connections between artists, audiences and communities. Within the spontaneous, unexpected, inspiring creativity of the Victoria Fringe (which is the second oldest Fringe Fest in Canada) is an idea which is echoed across the world. This is something we in Victoria should all be proud of.

-Sammie Gough
Producer

Earlybird Fringe Fest Lottery Results

Congratulations to those who were drawn for the Earlybird Lottery for the 2017 Victoria Fringe Festival. These ten companies were drawn out of the high-tech santa lottery hat:

  1. Patronus Theatre – Monica Ogden
  2. The Dreaded Mondays Theatre Company – Andrew Brimmell
  3. Outpost 31 – David Elendune
  4. 3rd Age World – Terry Oliver
  5. JunkTime Puppets – Mesh Beam
  6. Tasha Diamant
  7. Sean Proudlove
  8. Enigmatic Events – Chris Rudram
  9. Hush Money – Pamela Bethel
  10. Autistic Productions – Jessica Casiro

 

If you are a Victoria company, your application will go into the BC section of the regular lottery draw on Jan 12. For more details on Fringe Fest applications click here.

 

Tips on getting tickets to a sold out show

Missed out on tickets to a sold out show, like The Daisy Theatre? Here are a few tips on how you might be able to snag a ticket.

 

Stand-by List – we start an in-person stand-by list at The Metro at 7pm nightly during the run. Check in at the Box Office and get your name on the list. If tickets become available we’ll call your name. Some people line up early (before 7pm). We can’t promise we will get anyone on the list in but this is your best bet for tickets.

Facebook  – plans change and some people might have an extra ticket or two, check the Facebook event, HERE is The Daisy Theatre event.

Giving Tuesday

GivingTuesday is a National Giving Day

Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday  …now GivingTuesday is coming to Canada on November 29, 2016.

It is a new Canadian movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Cyber Monday. The “Opening day of the giving season,” it is a day where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others.

Consider supporting Intrepid Theatre this Giving Tuesday, and make a donation. Every donation over $25 comes with perks and a tax receipt. Join our community of adventurous theatre-loving donors. Bold Theatre. Fearless Artists. Be Brave.  

Your support of our festivals, programs and venues means the world to us, enabling us to bring the finest contemporary theatre to Victoria, and provide opportunities and resources for the next generation of artists. We couldn’t do it without you.

Be brave with us and make a one-time or monthly gift. 

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Intrepid Theatre celebrates our 30th anniversary this year and we have come a long way in the last three decades. From the very first Fringe Festival, which lasted three days and introduced 1,500 people to the chaotic, creative magic of the Fringe, to now standing proud as the mother-ship of Victoria’s independent theatre scene: providing two venues, three festivals, accessibility, mentorship, programs for new work by emerging artists, connection to contemporary alternative theatre internationally and serving over 25,000 people.

 

MORE Hot Ticket Auction Items at Merry & Bright

Our biggest fundraiser of the year, Merry & Bright is NEXT WEEKEND, and we have some incredible items and experiences up for auction in the live and silent auctions, thanks to some generous donors and sponsors. The best part – all of the proceeds raised at the event, support Intrepid Theatre, our programming and festivals.

Here are a few more highlights of the great items up for auction:

* Your kitchen will be transformed with a sampler pack or beautiful, artisanal olive oils and balsamic vinegars from Olive the Senses.  Yum!

* Enjoy a beautiful stay for two nights at Page’s Resort & Marina on Gabriola Island, enjoy the views of Silva Bay from a one-bedroom cottage. The perfect getaway .

* Relax and pamper yourself – you deserve it! Enjoy The Parkside Spa with a gift certificate for a service of your choice.

* Take in the oceanside views and lounge poolside or dive in and splash around at the pool at Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

* Do Victoria Beer Week like a VIP with tickets to the Opening Night event and the Lift Off Cask Night next Spring.

* Need New Years Plans? Be a part of the audience at the legendary New Year’s Eve  Cabaret from Atomic Vaudeville.

Eat. Drink. Bid. Be Merry.
Merry & Bright lights up The Atrium on Sunday, November 27th.
Tickets are $40 and include a tasting hour & cocktail catering.
TICKETS & EVENT DETAILS<<

Hot Ticket Items at Merry & Bright

Every year, the auction committee searches out an eclectic mix of unique experiences, hot ticket items and covetable gift packages for Merry & Bright, our annual holiday auction; this year is no exception and we have some great items ready to go to the highest bidder. Plus, Alison Ross from Kilshaw’s Auctioneers is our special guest, bringing some authentic auction magic to the stage as she hosts the live auction.

Here are a few more highlights of the great items up for auction:

* Take home a bottle of Merridale’s limited edition Cowichan Cognac. Only 400 bottles were made. This is BC’s first and only 10 year old brandy. This limited edition cognac will be your favourite Holiday treat. Yum!

* Enjoy a stay-cation with a beautiful room at Hotel Grand Pacific  and have downtown at your fingertips. The perfect in-town getaway, escape for one night away and take in the sights and sounds of the inner harbour from your private balcony.

* Relax, unwind and reset with a float in the Float House’s sensory deprivation tanks. Floating is today’s most advanced and scientifically proven way of eliminating stress, tension and fatigue from your life. This is a must try experience so here’s your chance!

* Hop the pond next summer and experience Vancouver Opera’s inaugural Opera Festival with two tickets to the modern classic, Dead man Walking, based on the best-selling memoir and starring opera heavy hitters Daniel Okulitch and Judith Forst. 

* Shake off the winter blues with a 10-pack of vouchers to the 2017 Victoria Film Festival. Bring your eyeballs and experience films from near and far right on your doorstep, with galas, screenings and special presentations.

* Farquhar Auditorium presents Starman: Acoustic Bowie, a musical tribute to David Bowie.  Join an inspired, diverse group of Canadian singers/musicians as they celebrate the songs of Bowie in this in-the-round concert performance.

 

Eat. Drink. Bid. Be Merry. 
Merry & Bright lights up The Atrium on Sunday, November 27th.
Tickets are $40 and include a tasting hour & cocktail catering.
TICKETS & EVENT DETAILS<<

Merry & Bright: Auction preview

Every year, the auction committee searches out an eclectic mix of unique experiences, hot ticket items and covetable gift packages for Merry & Bright, our annual holiday auction; this year is no exception and we have some great items ready to go to the highest bidder. Plus, Alison Ross from Kilshaw’s Auctioneers is our special guest, bringing some authentic auction magic to the stage as she hosts the live auction.

Here are a few highlights of the great items up for auction:

* Our most popular item is back! Get a private cocktail class from bartender extraordinaire Simon Ogden for you and 3 friends at Veneto Tapa Lounge

* Enjoy a night out at the opera with 2 tickets to Pacific Opera Victoria’s Les Feluettes, the brand new piece based on Michel Marc Bouchard’s play Lilies.

* Take home a bottle of deliciously smooth Ampersand Gin, made right here on the island at a local distillery.

* Hop the pond in style with a $1200 Helijet credit, good for return travel for two to Vancouver.

* Be a part of festival magic at the 10th Anniversary Rifflandia with 2 Super Passes to the 2017 festival.

* Dance Victoria presents Alonzo King LINES Contemporary Ballet at The Royal Theatre and we have two tickets to the long awaited return of one of Victoria’s favourite dance companies.

 

Eat. Drink. Bid. Be Merry. 
Merry & Bright lights up The Atrium on Sunday, November 27th.
Tickets are $40 and include a tasting hour & cocktail catering.
TICKETS & EVENT DETAILS<<

What’s the deal with the Fringe Button?

All ticket holders 13+ must have a Fringe Button – $6.

Because 100% of the net ticket sales is returned directly to the artists you choose to see, the Fringe Button helps Intrepid Theatre produce the Fringe Festival. You must show it whenever you enter a Fringe venue. It gets you free entry to the Fringe Club, so you can Fringe more and Fringe late.

You can purchase a button at every venue when buying a ticket before the show; at Ticket Rocket’s Fringe Box office (1609 Blanshard, open 11am-7pm during the festival); or at the FREE special events (get 2 for $10 at the Fringe Eve Preview in Centennial Square on August 24).

AND – your Fringe Button gets you deals at a few fine local Fringe-loving establishments:

2% Jazz Coffee – 50% off one hot beverage a day.
The Joint Pizzeria – Industry priced slice.
Bao Restaurant – Happy Hour price all day.
9 Elements Spa & Reflexology – $15 off any treatment.

Fringe Testimonial: Nathan Medd

One time the Victoria Fringe came into my room crying, and it changed my life.  The volunteer coordinator that summer had lost her assistant, and since I also managed volunteers – nearby at the Belfry Theatre – maybe I knew someone.  I offered to jump in myself, if I could see every show in the festival, for free.  This new rep as a super-fringer led to an offer to join the board, after which I was lucky to pioneer a year-round job there with a little Olympics grant. In that time we opened the Metro Studio on Quadra Street – a game-changer for the Fringe and for many things that surround it.

There are lots of stories to tell about how the Metro got started.  It began with nothing. There was begging, as when we convinced the Urban Barn that had succeeded the long-deceased Kaleidoscope Playhouse to let us yank out the remaining lighting grid from their ceiling, putting their entire showroom inventory at risk. There was borrowing, as when six of Victoria’s dance companies each gave me a few hundred dollars in exchange for time in the future space, so we could go pick up a used dance floor on the mainland. And there was stealing, but can we save that story – ok two stories – for the next anniversary?

Feeling like a gardener, it was incredibly satisfying to help the venue, the festivals, the productions, the arts community and audiences all grow.  Every now and then they would even flower.  This work setting the stage and helping bring people together in space and time continues for me, and I draw on these experiences every day.  Happy 30th!

Nathan Medd, Canada’s National Arts Centre, Managing Director of English Theatre
Former Victoria Fringe Volunteer Coordinator & Intrepid’s first Operations Manager

Volunteers needed for The Gift

Volunteers are needed for Box Office and Usher shifts for both performances of The Gift on Friday April 15 and Saturday April 16 at The Metro Studio. This is a great way to support Intrepid Theatre and see live theatre, especially this show!

SIGN UP HERE via VolunteerSpot or call Justine at 250-383-2663.

We’re proud to announce the first Intrepid presentation of the year: The Gift by Surrounded by Owls Productions. In The Gift, John Aitken tells the story of his childhood as a boy of mixed Coast Salish (Comiaken) and Scottish descent, and how he found his voice. More info + tickets.

Janet Munsil announces her departure from Intrepid Theatre

After 25 years, Intrepid Theatre’s Artistic Director Janet Munsil will step down at the end of the 30th Anniversary season
Intrepid Theatre has announced that Artistic Director Janet Munsil will be leaving the company in the fall of 2016, after producing more than 45 festivals in her twenty-five year tenure.

“Intrepid, its audiences and the Greater Victoria community have been extremely fortunate to have Janet at the artistic helm of the company. We will miss her artistic vision, creativity, leadership, and commitment to supporting local emerging artists. Janet has positioned Intrepid to thrive as it continues to present innovative and fearless theatre.” – Pamela Vivian & Anna-Lise Ter Mors, Co-Presidents

Since Munsil joined the company in 1992, Intrepid Theatre has grown as an adventurous and innovative driving force in the local and national independent performing arts scene: transforming the theatrical landscape in Victoria as the producer of the Victoria Fringe Festival (30th year), Uno Fest (19th year) and the new OUTstages Festival; as presenter of dozens of international and national touring theatre productions (most recently Ronnie Burkett’s Theatre of Marionettes); and as creator of emerging artist programs and downtown venues (The Metro Studio and Intrepid Theatre Club), home to Intrepid’s programs and available for rental by dozens of community and touring groups.

Munsil said of her departure, “I’m proud of the work I’ve done as part of this team over the years, and I see the impact of Intrepid’s work on the changing expectations and tastes of audiences – and emerging contemporary artists – in this city.”

Beyond Victoria, Munsil is better known as a playwright, with plays produced across Canada and internationally, including in London’s West End, The Arts Club (Stanley Theatre), and the National Arts Centre (Ottawa). In 2014, her play That Elusive Spark was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Literature.

Over the next two years, she will be writing new plays for Real Wheels Theatre in Vancouver and The Powerhouse in Vernon, and other projects – including directing Twelfth Night for the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival this summer.

Intrepid Theatre’s current General Manager Heather Lindsay has been appointed to Executive Director and will take on the artistic oversight of the company, which is undergoing restructuring to provide opportunities for new festival curators and guest programmers. Munsil will continue on through the upcoming festival season.

“Janet’s humble yet unstoppable dedication to include the next generation’s artistic voice, while continually introducing Intrepid Theatre’s audience to the NOW of contemporary theatre, is one of the many reasons why she is a pioneer in the Canadian arts and culture community. I am honoured that I have been able to learn from and work by her side these last 4 years.” – Heather Lindsay

“This milestone year is a great time to go – Intrepid is in great shape and in the best hands. But it’s hard to leave, because I can’t think of a better place to work or people to work with,” says Munsil. “It’s been a huge part of my life.”

Meet the 2016 Fringe Guest Producer

We are welcoming the one and only KATT CAMPBELL to the Fringe team as our 2016 Guest Producer. You will likely recognize Katt – she’s been around the festival for over a decade as a volunteer, FOH Manager, Site Office Manager, and she’s even hosted the Fringe Eve Preview. Katt is also a performer, improviser, Stage Manager, Sign Language Interpreter and frequent Monobrow Hostess. Last year, Katt broadened her Fringe experience as the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

Stay tuned to see more of what Katt and the rest of the team has in store for the 2016 Victoria Fringe Festival, August 22 – September 4.

The Guest Producer program is supported by the BC Arts Council. 

Katt talks to CVVTV about #yyjfringe30 on the August show. 

Congrats to our WestJet Raffle Winner!

We drew the winner of our WestJet Raffle at Merry & Bright, our annual Holiday Auction on November 29. Congratulations to Susie M, the lucky winner of 2 tickets to anywhere WestJet flies! Thanks to everyone who bought tickets and supported this fundraising raffle. Special thanks to WestJet for donating these tickets.

Call for cabaret artists: Winter Happening | Homo for the Holidays

Intrepid Theatre is partnering with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to to bring Homo for the Holidays in it’s third edition to the beautiful space at The AGGV with Winter Happening | Homo for the Holidays.

This event will take over the Art Gallery, with performances happening site-specifically in the exhibitions and on “cabaret stages” in The Spencer Mansion on Friday, December 4th. This collaborative event will bring interdisciplinary, queer-themed site-specific and cabaret style performances to the AGGV; complete with a dance party, inspired cocktails and art.

Christmas is about to get (even) gayer as The AGGV and Intrepid Theatre team up to create this unique night of art, performance, camp, cocktails and frivolity.

We are seeking short, low-tech cabaret pieces to appear at the event on Friday, December 4th. These pieces will be performed site-specifically at the gallery, on a 6×6 foot “stage” (the landing of a staircase). This open call for artists closes on Wednesday November 11 at 8pm. Read more & apply now. 

For more information, details or to discuss a project, contact sean(at)intrepidtheatre.com.

Stories from the Edge: evening of performance

Intrepid Theatre is partnering with Open Space as part of the Stories from the Edge performance exhibit. This presentation showcases internationally renowned artists as part of a series of events that explore performance art and its relationship to identity, storytelling, theatre, activism, politics, and archives. The Metro Studio hosts an evening of performance featuring James Luna’s Ishi: The Archive Performance and Guillermo Gómez Peña, Saul Garcia Lopez, and Jessica Balitrónica. To see the full schedule of events click here.

Stories from the Edge evening of performance
Friday, October 2 7:30pm
Metro Studio Theatre (175 seats) , 1411 Quadra Street, Victoria, BC
Tickets: $20 advance/door contact 250-383-8833 for more information on purchasing tickets

10 questions with the 2015 Fringe Guest Producer

In a new annual training program for aspiring fetsival producers, Intrepid Theatre welcomes Guest Producer Heather Jarvie!
Heather has been involved with Victoria’s Fringe for many years as an artist and Front of House Manager, and for the past 3 months she has been working with the support and mentorship of the Intrepid Theatre team and past producer Janet Munsil to bring you her version of the best Fringe ever!

10 Question with Heather J

1. What has been your Fringiest moment at the festival?

Building a papier machier scuba helmet out of a dissected MacLeans world globe.

2. What shows were you in as an artist?

I’ve only performed in one show, that I also co-directed with Pat Rundell. “Dog Sees God.” 

3. Why did you choose a deep sea diver as the Fringe image?

There is something so absolutely otherworldly about the Fringe Festival, the sheer size and madness of it, that under the sea seemed like a great fit. Also, I love puns, and I couldn’t resist “Go Deep”and “Dive In.

4. When did you start Fringing?

I saw my first Fringe show here in Victoria in 2008.

5. Can you sum up your experience working at Intrepid for the last few months in 3 words?

Brilliantly blindingly beneficial. (Also, entertaining, enlightening, educational).

6. If you were a Phillips beer, what kind would you be?

Ginger Beer (SO DELICIOUS!)

7. What is the best part about producing the 2015 Victoria Fringe?

I would like to say learning, getting to be artistic, and working with artists. But honestly, working closely with the staff of Intrepid theatre has been an absolute dream. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was incredibly, overwhelmingly nervous about entering this workplace, but I’ve come to feel like it’s a second home and family. I’m the luckiest girl around!

8. Whats 1 piece of advice you’d give a first time Fringe artist?

Work, Work, Work! Hit every lineup, every event, and anywhere there are Fringe audiences are with your flyers and beaming smile. Nothing will sell your show better than person to person interaction.

9. What undersea creature would you be?

I think a dolphin. Or a jelly fish. I’m just so happy in the water.

10. What is your favourite Taylor Swift song?

Oh No! I didn’t want to admit this , (I’m still trying to figure out how to seem cool), but I don’t really know any of them except Shake it off! I can’t help bopping along to it. It’s so catchy.

Cabaret Outré Call For Performers

This is an open call for artists for Cabaret Outré, a special fundraiser performance in support of OUTstages, Intrepid’s brand new queer theatre festival. This multi-disciplinary cabaret will be programmed with diverse samplings of the inspired, kitschy, simple & sweet, avant-garde, f*cked up, eccentric, and fabulous. Pieces can be any type of live performance and we encourage artists of all disciplines to apply. All pieces should deal with themes of sexuality, gender identity & conformity, LGBTQ issues or have general queer content.

This is a chance to try out new work, work with new artists, or make some wild theatre.

Here’s the deets:

Applications due: Mar 30, 2015

Artists notified: Apr 2, 2015

Show date: Apr 17, 2015 — 8PM

If you have any questions, email us.

Volunteer for the Fringe 2015!

Calling all old pros and first-timers alike, the festival is just around the corner, and we need you!

The Fringe can only happen because the army of volunteers who work tirelessly to make the festival run smoothly and are rewarded with the sweet, sweet treat of indie theatre from all over the world. Plus, for every shift you work, you get a to catch a show for free! And, it’s easy! Just fill out our volunteer form and tell us why you are interested and when you are available.

Artists from all over Canada and the world travel to Victoria every summer to be a part of The Fringe, and some of them need a place to lay their head after Fringe-ing their hearts out. If you can host a visiting artist, please complete our billeting form. You get a pass as a thank you so you can catch as much of the festival as you want, and maybe make a new friend.

If you have any questions, email us.

™ FRINGE and FRINGE FESTIVAL are registered trademarks of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals


Intrepid Theatre respectfully acknowledges that we are located on the traditional and unceded territories,
of the Lekwungen People, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.