© GUARDIAN PHOTO BY SALLY COLE
Organizers Megan Stewart, left, and Sarah Segal-Lazar are excited about the 2014 edition of the Island Fringe Festival in Charlottetown, Aug. 7-10. lt features eight shows as well as pre-festival programming.
In response to survey feedback, the 2014 Island Fringe Festival offerering additional days, shows
After running successfully in downtown Charlottetown for the past two summers, the Island Fringe Festival (IFF) is spreading its wings.
Organizers have lengthened the celebration and expanded the programming.
“We’re so excited. We’ve increased the number of shows. We’ve also added more pre-festival programming,” says festival director Sarah Segal-Lazar.
The site-specific summer festival celebrating independent and alternative theatre and performance hits Charlottetown Aug. 7-10. Again this year it will transform coffee shops, clubs and lounges and other public spaces into performance venues with eight shows from P.E.I., Halifax, Toronto and Pittsburgh as well as London England.
Pre-festival programming began July 26 with the Fringe Prom at the Haviland Club in Charlottetown where participants danced the night away with tunes from Whale Skin. It continues today and tomorrow with the one-man show, The No Bull $X!% History of Canada, at Fathers Pub in the P.E.I. 2014 Celebration Zone at 5 p.m. It’s a one-hour Canadian history lesson covering from 1500 to the present day. Segal-Lazar first saw this show, written and performed by Kyle Allatt, two years ago at the Montreal Fringe Festival and thought it was terrific.
“Kyle is incredible. He picks the most incredible but true moments in Canadian history. He’s also a master of accents, which adds a great level to it.”
To add levity to his performance, Allatt uses a beaver mascot called Tupper, named after Charles Tupper, a father of Confederation, as well as PowerPoint slides.
This show is a perfect pairing for this year’s 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.
“Going into 2014 we knew we wanted additional programming so we spoke to P.E.I. 2014 about partnering with us on something. And this show was just the most amazing fit that we could have ever hoped for.”
The pre-festival programming continues Aug. 6 with Scribbler Skeletons at Marc’s Lounge at 8 p.m. Similar to the CBC radio show produced by Dan Misener, Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids, it features people reading the hilarious, ridiculous and angst-ridden writing from their childhood years, says Megan Stewart, IFF co-ordinator.
“We’re assembling a group of Islanders and people involved in the Fringe Festival as well as our participating artists. And we’re getting everyone together at Marc’s Lounge to share the things that they wrote as kids.
“That includes diary entries, creative writing pieces, songs, love notes, as well as bad poetry. It runs the gamut and it’s such a funny night. In fact, when we did it last year we packed the place and we laughed so hard. And I’m sure that it will be just as much of a success this year.”
Building on the momentum of the pre-festival programming, the four-day festival begins Aug. 7. This year’s expanded schedule will provide people with a variety of viewing options with have eight shows playing every day starting as early as 2 p.m. and going until 10 p.m. Three are in outside locations, including Rochford Square and the Confederation Centre amphitheatre.
The expanded programming is in response to a consumer survey filled out by festival participants last year.
“One thing that people really wanted was a longer festival and more shows. So, we listened and it’s been pretty amazing,” says Segal-Lazar, who doesn’t mind the hectic pace.
“Usually when you give yourself extra work, it becomes much more stressful. But this year we’re partnering with some really great organizations. As well, the artists are really on top of things so, although a lot of work, it’s lovely.”
It’s also a cause close to her heart.
“The reason we started the Fringe Festival was there is such a need and a market for independent and alternative theatre on P.E.I. People wanted accessible, quirky and edgy theatre. And it was time.”
Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.
If you are going
- The Island Fringe Festival, Aug. 7-10, has eight shows. Admission is by donation.
- The Art of Posing is The Kettle Black Aug. 7-10 at 7 p.m.
- Busted: A Mammoir plays Aug. 7-10 at Marc's Lounge, 125 Sydney Street at 6 p.m.
- Celtic Feet, a show by the Somerset Dance Company, plays Aug. 7-9 at the Confederation Centre Amphitheatre, next to Province House, at 2 p.m.
- The Existence of Ally & Emma plays Aug. 7-9 outside at Rochford Square, Charlottetown at 2 p.m. and Aug. 10 at 5 p.m.
- Happy plays the Haviland Club, 2 Haviland St., on Aug. 7-9, 8 p.m. and Aug. 10, 9 p.m.
- In Denial plays the Island Dance Academy on Aug. 7, 6 p.m., Aug. 8, 7 p.m., Aug. 9, 8 p.m. and Aug. 10, 3 p.m.
- In the Telling plays Rochford Square Aug. 7-10 at 9 p.m.
- Verbal Diarrhea plays Merchantman's Next Door Lounge, 23 Queen Street, Aug. 7, 7 p.m., Aug. 8, 10 p.m., Aug. 9 10 p.m. and Aug. 10, 7 p.m.
- For complete information on the showtimes, shows and locations, go to http://www.islandfringe.com.