The Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival only comes once a year, so get ready to pack in as much indie theatre from around the world as you can fit into 11 days.
For nearly 30 years, the Victoria Fringe has taken over downtown for a celebration of live performances featuring an eclectic mixture of spoken word, drama, musicals, dance, comedy, magic, theatre for young audiences and more.
This year, Monday Magazine columnist comedian Mike Delamont is doing his first Victoria Fringe show in seven years. Hot on the heels of several sold out shows at both the Winnipeg and Edmonton Fringe festivals, we asked him to share his thoughts on the fringe.
Monday Magazine: Do you remember your first Fringe show? Where was it and what was the experience like?
Mike Delamont: My first fringe show was at St. Andrews Gym in the Victoria Fringe in 2004. It was fun. We were young and excited. I think we maybe made $100 but it was a blast.
MM: What is the difference between doing shows on your own now and Fringe shows? What are the pros and cons to each?
MD: The cost of producing your own show can be very high. Fringe provides several performances with tech and minimal advertising for a very affordable fee. There are few better opportunities for artists out there than fringe.
MM: What’s the benefit to the fringe audiences? Why fringe?
MD: Fringe is unlike regular theatre. It’s unjuried so you never really know what you are going to get. Some of the greatest shows I have seen have been at the fringe. Shows that would never be presented by a “traditional” theatre. On top of all that, the tickets are insanely cheap.
MM: How does Victoria Fringe compare to others you’ve been at?
MD: I haven’t had a show get into the Victoria Fringe proper since 2008. I’ve done a BYOV in 2009 and 2011, but it has been a while. This year will be nice because for the first time in many years the festival doesn’t overlap with Edmonton. Victoria has a reputation as being the worst in regards for support from the media and reviews, but one of the best for support from patrons, staff and volunteers. It’s a lovely small town festival.
The 29th Annual Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival runs Aug. 27 to Sept. 6 with 58 shows and free events. intrepidtheatre.com See Mike Delamont’s God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II Aug. 28, 29 and Sept. 1, 2, 4, 5. mikedelamont.com