Here at The Cultch, we’re getting prepared for one of the biggest arts festivals around: the Vancouver Fringe Festival! With over 90 performances, the festival promises to be a crazy, 11 days, jam-packed with titillating performances. And this year, The Cultch is uber excited to be one of the main stages in the festival! In its third year of involvement with the Vancouver Fringe Festival, The Cultch will show eight performances as a main stage plus four additional presentations as a BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue).
With so much to see and experience, it might be a little daunting for a newcomer. So, we’ve put together a little guide for those of you who have always wanted to check it out, but never knew quite how to go about it. We have all the information you need to get the most out of your Fringing experience. Consider the Fringe your oyster…with these 6 easy steps!
1. Pick up your Fringe program guide. (Click here to access an online version) Figure out what shows you want to see. Shows are arranged in the program by time and date, as well as by venue. Find shows that suit your taste, budget, and schedule. Check out pages 50 & 51 to choose from one of the exciting shows playing at the Historic Theatre at The Cultch! Performances range from burlesque dancing, to solo musicals, and, of course, good-old-fashioned theatre!
2. Diversify. Think of the Vancouver Fringe Festival as a tapas menu of theatre. Find some shows you’re naturally drawn to, but also try a couple that may be a little out of your comfort zone. The Fringe Festival is all about stepping into new experiences via the theatre, so why not try something different? If you love musical theatre, The Cultch mainstage performances are sure to be treats for you. Come to see La CravateBleue (a solo musical play about a man who sacrifices stability for his love of music) and Watering Hole (a contemporary dance performance about the community of the local bar). Then try something that you’ve never seen before. Bursting into Flames is a refreshing comedic play about a man who finds himself with the rest of eternity to spend in heaven.
3. Watch the previews. If you have the time and $10 – come to watch quick previews of all 91 shows at Fringe-For-All: a two hour extravaganza in which each show has 2 minutes to captureyour interest. Whether it narrows down your choices, or makes it harder to decide – it’s bound to be entertaining! Thursday, September 5 at 10 pm at Performance Works.
4. Talk to the volunteers. While you’re waiting in line, or near any of the Fringe venues, you might see some friendly Fringe volunteers. Don’t be shy – ask them what their favourite shows are! Volunteers get to see many shows for free. Be sure to ask them which shows are selling out (those are the ones to get $3 advance tickets for.)
5. BringYourOwnVenue (BYOV) shows. Don’t just stick to the mainstage shows. There are several shows that are near the main stage shows, and in unorthodox spaces. Often, these can be the most intriguing. Explore theatre outside of the theatre. Check out what sorts of compelling shows we have lined up here at The Cultch this year.
6. Vote for your favourites! The Fringe Festival is an interactive experience. You’ll receive a ballot after every show. Rate the shows you saw, and cast your ballot! Your favourite play could just be chosen as The Pick of the Fringe (to be announced at The Fringe Awards Night on September 15 at 9:30 pm at Performance Works). Additionally, stay tuned for which performances are chosen for the Cultchivating the Fringe Award. Every year, The Cultch invites its favourite Fringe performance to be a part of the season for the following year. Last year the award was given to Underbelly, and the show is going to run in March 18 to 30 this upcoming season.
The Cultch has an eclectic main stage and BYOV line up for the festival – something for everyone! This is also the perfect opportunity for a fun family outing. A couple of the mainstage performances, La Cravate Bleue and Bursting into Flames are to be enjoyed by all ages. Additionally, several of our BYOV shows (including Underneath the Lintel) also allow admission for all ages.
The Vancouver Fringe Festival runs from Sept 5-15 with select shows playing at The Cultch’s Historic Theatre and Vancity Culture Lab. Tickets available online at vancouverfringe.com.