To be part of the fringe is to be on the periphery by definition, but what happens when you’re on the fringe of the Fringe?
Ask local performers Missie Peters, Dave Morris and Mike Delamont — three Victoria Fringe Festival veterans who didn’t make it into this year’s lineup.
Other than 10 slots reserved for “first-come-first-served” local artists who camp out in front of the Fringe offices, (this year’s lineup started at 4:45pm the previous day) Fringe shows are chosen by lottery, so it’s nothing personal that these three talented performers didn’t get included.
And since Fringe hosts Intrepid Theatre decided not to include the popular Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV) option this year, Peters, Morris and Delamont decided to take it into their own hands and host their own festival: The Victoria Singe Festival.
“We were thinking of words that rhyme with fringe, and binge just didn’t sound as good,” says Morris. “And the singe.ca domain name was open, so we went with that. We didn’t try to make it ‘not the Fringe’.”
This underground festival of indie-theatre is literally happening underground at the Fort Cafe (742 Fort) and is the only Fringe — or non-Fringe — venue that sells both food and alcoholic drinks (may I recommend the chicken).
“We’ve programmed the shows with an hour in-between so people can grab a drink and something to eat,” says Peters. “It’s true cabaret style.”
The Fort Cafe reduced the risk involved for the three performers by not charging rent for the nights in question. With a true BYOV, the performers would be responsible for covering rent, insurance, equipment and technical costs, something that Intrepid Theatre’s artistic director Janet Munsil says is the main reason why they didn’t include BYOVs this year.
“The main reason we wanted to get out of the BYOV business was that I was tired and sad of seeing performers sink a bunch of money into putting a show in a rented venue outside the safety net of the festival,” says Munsil. “We want the performers to have a good experience and feel like they’re well supported and there’s only so much support we can offer when we’re not hands-on at the venue.”
All three performers have brand new one-person shows; Peters (Public Confessions of a Public Servant, Not Your Grandma’s Poetry) is bringing her spoken-word monologue Where’s My Flying Car?! (recently workshopped at Uno Fest). Experience character driven improv in The Life and Death of Dave Morris (2011 Pick of the Fringe with Photobooth) and get ready for judgment day (or just judgment) with the second installment of God is a Scottish Drag Queen: The Second Coming featuring a droll deity dressed in an ’80s floral power suit (and all new jokes).
Each night of the festival will be a rotating double-header. Audience members can chose if they’d like to stay for one show ($11) or two ($20).
Doors are at 6pm and shows are at 7pm and 9pm. The festival runs Fri., Aug. 24 until Sun., Sept. 2. Tickets are only sold at the door the day of and they are cash only. There are only 50 seats for each performance, so get there early. Delamont sold out this venue for the full 10 nights as a BYOV last year. Alone.
For more information about the Victoria Singe Festival, visit singe.ca, or see their ad in the Fringe Festival program on Page 19. M