Something special happens later this week in Ottawa. Thursday marks the official open of Ottawa’s largest theatre festival — The Ottawa Fringe Festival — and possibly the best time of year for theatre lovers in the nation’s capital. This year, there are 54 shows running at more than a dozen venues throughout the ten days of the festival. Artists will be here from all over the world to show their talents. On top of that there are even more performances going on on the courtyard (read: beer tent) stage every night meaning more entertainment than you can shake a stick at. (They did the math, it’s just not possible to shake enough sticks.) And it all starts on June 20th so I hope you’ve booked the time off work.
While the 17th Ottawa Fringe Festival doesn’t officially launch until the kick-off party in the courtyard on June 19th, the media launch happened back at the end of May and so the hype began. Fifty-four shows and over 300 performances split between local, national and international companies. Free concerts and performances galore in the courtyard. Board games supplied by Monopolatte. Beer. Food. Community. Fun.What it all amounts to is the biggest and longest party happening in downtown Ottawa through the end of June.
We won’t rundown a full list of the shows presenting at Fringe here in this article because we want to be economical and all that information is readily available at ottawafringe.com or in the Fringe program which you can get at Arts Court, any local Bridgehead, or any of the venues once Fringe starts.
But we did talk to the artists at the media launch and here’s your quick look at 19 of the 54 shows running at Fringe this summer, as presented by the artists themselves:
Trouble with the video embed. Watch directly on YouTube.
(Also, we’ve posted photos to our Facebook page, taken by Production Ottawa photographer, David Pasho, at the media launch. We’ll be doing more of that through Fringe, too, so you should hit that like button.)
And while the big draw of Fringe is the all-you-can-eat theatre, don’t overlook the courtyard this year because the Fringe PTBs have quite a bit planned:
Located at Waller and Daly, the Courtyard is the hub of our festival. Something of a Where’s Waldo Fringe edition, ours is the only beer tent in town where you might spot Mayor Watson and a rockabilly burlesque troupe, zombies and soul singers, plus starving artists sporting something more than chinos on 90s prom night. We’re excited to announce that 2013 Courtyard programming extends through Canada Day. The Courtyard is your place to share stories and reviews, socialize with artists, snack, scoff, swig, savour, and… party.
You can check ottawafringe.com/courtyard for the full list of excellent events.
Starting Thursday, the first day of Fringe, at noon, we will have a preview page up for every show presenting at the festival. We’ll be including photos, detailed synopses, cast info, 30 second promo spots, and most importantly links to all available press and reviews. Yes, for 54 shows. Basically we’re the one-stop to learn everything there is to know about every show!
And we will have reviews. We’ve got a four reviewer team this year who will be covering as many shows as they possibly can. I’ll be reviewing and Matthew Champ will be back and joining us this year are Joshua Chenoweth and Valerie Cardinal – our first bilingual reviewer. With 54 shows to choose from, we’ll tell you what you can expect and help you answer the only question that matters: Should you see it?
The 1 to 5s will be back and like last year, we want to open it up to the broadest range of points of view possible. That means if two of our reviewers see the same show, you’ll see two reviews for it. With four reviewers on the beat, that’s going to be a lot of reviews. The artists also get their say, with us letting them do promo spots for the preview articles. Plus, comments will be open so we can hear what you think.
Suffice to say, we’ll keep you well informed.
Every day we’ll be updating the tally box on Production Ottawa’s main page (it won’t be posted until June 20th) to let you know what’s been updated just to help you keep track of what’s hot. In fact, we’ll have notation on the tally board telling you specifically what the hot shows are based on what people are telling us.
Just like last year, we’ll also be posting daily VLOGs. I hesitate even typing it because it’s a lot of work to make happen, but it’s also a lot of fun showing you a slice of life at Fringe. So we will be back with daily recaps. The Production Ottawa team will be telling you what they’re seeing, what they’re liking, and what they’re hearing are the hot shows. But better than that, we’ll be talking to some of the artists around Fringe Central about themselves, about their shows, and about the shows they’re loving. Basically just showing you life at Fringe and telling you what we’re thinking.
For the Artists
For you artists, help us best promote your show. The firstname.lastname@example.org address is once again open and we want to hear from you.
- For the preview articles, we’re taking the synopsis information from the Fringe program. But we all know the Fringe program has space restrictions that we just don’t have online. We’re allowing every show one update of the info on their page. If the cast/crew info is incomplete, tell us. If there’s a link to the official promo spot or website we don’t have, tell us. Most importantly, if you want to extend your synopsis to say a bit more about your show, tell us. We’ll let you go up to triple the current length. (But it’s a one-time thing, you can’t email us every other day with a change.)
- Also tell us what’s cool, interesting, or unique about your show. Is your show about an astronaut landing on the moon written by an actual astronaut who has landed on the moon? Anything Ottawa should know, we’d like to know, and we’ll see if there’s a place for it in the article.
- Also, send us some HQ photos of your show. We have the ones from the Fringe media kit, but if you missed the deadline, or have had new photos taken that you’d like us to include, send them and we’ll see what we can do. (Note we only put up one or two photos and they need to be high enough quality to use. Thumbnail sizes can’t be posted.)
Like we did last year, we’re going to set aside two blocks of time to let you tell Ottawa, live and in your words and in 30 seconds, why they should see your show. Why should only reviewers get their say? We’ll be set up on June 19th, the day before Fringe, 4:45pm til 7:45pm. Email us if you’d like to participate, we’ll book you into a spot (it’s free promo!), and ask you a few questions about your show, all boiling down to: Out of 54 shows, why should Ottawa see your show? (If you can’t make the 19th, don’t worry, we’ll be set up one day the following week for your late comers.
Send us an email to the email@example.com address for the details if you want a promo spot. These promo spots will be embedded in your show’s preview page here – which as we’ve mentioned is the one stop for all info about your show – so when anybody wants to see what your show is about, you’re the first face they’ll see.
Don’t go yet. There’s one more thing. How can you stack the odds in your favour and try to get on our VLOGs? Two ways:
- Send us an email. You know the address. We choose one show for every day of Fringe to be our feature segment. Why couldn’t it be you? Tell us what makes your show special and why people want to hear more about it. (Please make it a separate email request to anything else you’re sending us.)
- Find us around Fringe and say “Hi there, Ottawa”. Or simply, you know, hello. We love talking to folk so if we have time, we want to talk to you. My photo’s out on the net to be found. Matthew, Valerie, and Joshua’s photos are posted with their reviews. Or you could just look for the folk with the tripod — not many people carry a tripod around Fringe Central.
And that’s all for now. See you around Fringe Central!