Fringe Indigenous Artist Program

Pictured above: Johnny Aitken and Shelley MacDonald in The Gift, (Fringe IAP 2017). Image credit Roy Mulder.

Intrepid Theatre, producer of the Victoria Fringe, is located on the traditional and unceded territories of the Lekwungen People, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. We are committed to offering creative opportunities to artists and audiences, and building inclusive festivals that connect diverse communities through performance.

WHAT IS THE FRINGE INDIGENOUS ARTIST PROGRAM? The Fringe IAP is in its 5th year and provides access and mentorship for local artists who identify as Indigenous, and wish to produce work as part of the Victoria Fringe. The program incorporates collaborative mentorship, access to resources and support to strengthen participating artist’s producing skill-set and artistic practice based on their predetermined goals. The framework for the first Fringe IAP was devised by Two Spirit artist and activist Johnny Aitken (who is of Coast Salish, Haida and Scottish ancestry) and Intrepid Theatre staff in 2017. Hy’ch-ka Siem to Johnny for his invaluable input in shaping this program.

Meet this year’s mentor and mentee:

Danica Charlie: 2022/23 Fringe IAP Mentee

This year’s Fringe IAP mentee, Danica Charlie

Danica Charlie is a queer and mixed Nuu-chah-nulth/settler artist, and 2021 graduate from CCPA. She is grateful for the opportunity to be creating and exploring her identity further through this program! They are also looking forward to playing Miskozi in the frank theatre’s production of White Girls in Moccasins from June 16-19. Her other favourite recent credits include: Mary Jane in The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito (Kaleidoscope), Imogen in Cymbeline (GVSF), Satan in Paradise Lost (CCPA).

Yolanda Bonnell: 2022 Fringe IAP Mentor

This year’s Fringe IAP mentor, Yolanda Bonnell

Yolanda Bonnell (She/They) is a Bi/Queer 2 Spirit Anishinaabe-Ojibwe, South Asian mixed performer, playwright and multidisciplinary creator/educator. Originally from Fort William First Nation in Thunder Bay, Ontario (Superior Robinson Treaty territory), her arts practice is now based in Tkarón:to. She is Co-artistic leader of manidoons collective, that she runs with Michif (Métis) artist, Cole Alvis. In February 2020, Yolanda’s four-time Dora nominated solo show bug was remounted at Theatre Passe Muraille while the published book was shortlisted for a Governor General Literary Award. Yolanda was the Indigenous artist recipient of the Jayu Arts for Human Rights Award for her work and won the PGC Tom Hendry Drama Award for her play, My Sister’s Rage. Yolanda has taught at schools like York University and Sheridan College and proudly bases her practice in land-based creation, drawing on energy and inspiration from the earth and her ancestors. 

WHAT HAS THE EXPERIENCE OF PARTICIPATING ARTISTS BEEN? You can read a series of interviews with Fringe IAP artists: Johnny Aitken 2017Rory Keewatin 2018/2021Nyla Carpentier 2019Elowynn Rose 2020/21.

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Intrepid Theatre is located on the lands of the Lekwungen People, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. We give our thanks and respect to the stewards of these lands, and to elders, past, present and future.