The Vancouver Fringe Festival will look quite a bit different this year. With its theme of A Shift in Perspective, the focus is on small capacity live performances from local artists, virtual workshops and gatherings, spread over several months.
Citing the challenges of executing a festival during the pandemic, executive director Rohit Chokhani remains confident in the Fringe’s ability to deliver on its mission to “to cultivate and create an open and vibrant independent theatre community.”
“Despite its significant financial and emotional impact on all of us, we believe in the resilience of our arts industry, performing arts community, and the underlying hope and faith that exists within the human spirit,” he says in a media release. “We are excited to move forward with a modified Festival, which will be different, unique, and intimate in its own way.”
The most significant shift for this year’s Fringe comes with staggered dates. Limited live performances and events will occur from September 10 to 20 and extend to select dates in subsequent months, tentatively through early December.
The in-person Festival events will also take place at fewer venues, with social distancing in place and a maximum capacity of fifty. A pandemic safety plan will ensure the enforcement of guidelines from health authorities as part of the BC Restart Plan.
While the Festival will reveal its full programming soon, among the highlights are Advance Theatre: New Works by Diverse Women, a showcase of dramatic play readings written by Indigenous women.
The 2020 Fringe New Play Prize winner Catalina La O Presenta: Ahora Conmigo, will also be performed. Inspired by the life of musician and performer khattieQ and the lives of Puerto Rican singers Myrta Silva and Ruth Fernandez, the solo show will feature original music composed by khattieQ and Anton Berríos.
In his solo show about surviving COVID-19, comedian, slam poet, musician and mall Santa, Richard Lett performs in Hard 2 Kill.
“We are truly overwhelmed with the love and support we have received from our Fringe community members, and look forward to welcoming them and engaging with their collaborative spirit – from six feet away – very soon,” concludes Chokhani.
For more information on the 2020 Vancouver Fringe Festival, visit vancouverfringe.com.