By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
And what a wild rumpus it will be….
There’s really no stopping Where The Wild Things Fringe. Tickets go on sale today at noon for the monster 38th annual edition of our summer theatre extravaganza (Aug. 15 to 25), the first and still biggest of the continent’s fringes. And there’s more than one way to get your terrible claws on them.
You can order show tickets online at fringetheatre.ca. You can call the Fringe box office at 780-409-1910. You can show up live and wild at the box office in Fringe headquarters, the ATB Financial Arts Barn (10330 84 Ave.). Or you can hit TIX on the Square downtown in Churchill Square.
After the wild things start their 11 day-and-night rampage through Old Strathcona and beyond, there are more ways to scoop up tickets. Eight satellite box offices are scattered through the site. And, who knows, you might run into an artist clutching a fistful of freebie tickets to drum up a crowd that includes YOU.
The sweetest deal for fringers looking for an immersion experience? the “Frequent Fringer Pass” at $115 for 10 tickets, the “Double Fringer Pass at $230 for 20. But there aren’t many (600), and they get snapped up in a flash.
Discounts happen daily, at the whim and/or entrepreneurial calculation of Fringe artists themselves. What hasn’t changed in years is the ticket tab. The Fringe artists themselves set the price, to a $13 maximum (that they take home), with a $3 Fringe “service fee” on each ticket. So, you’ll be shelling out 16 bucks tops for a show ticket. Most Fringe artists do opt for tops, as you’ll see when you tour the hefty $10 166-page glossy program. There are exceptions, though. The Splendiferous Quagmires of Mr. Filliam Crowe, for example, at $11 (students and seniors $9), is one. Or Anna and the Substitute Teacher at $10, to light randomly on a couple.
Where The Wild Things Fringe is a record-trampler before it even starts, with its unprecedented roster of 260 shows (up from last year’s 228) in 50 venues (up from last year’s 38). Most (but not all) are in Strathcona. Eleven of the 50 stages are “official” Fringe stages, outfitted by the festival and programmed by lottery; the rest are BYOVs, acquired and outfitted by artists themselves.
The 39 BYOVs include bona fide theatres (the Varscona, the Roxy on Gateway, the Playhouse, L’UniThéâtre, the Al and Trish Huehn Theatre at Concordia University among them), along with a variety of venues that have non-theatre identities in the non-Fringe season. Churches, an assortment of bars and lounges and clubs, a public library, community league halls, schools, cultural centres, an artisan brewery (Polar Park Brewing Co.), hotels, a youth hostel. There are 23 shows at the Grindstone Comedy Club and its two new Fringe venues across the street at the Lutheran church. There are 26 shows in the French Quarter — at venues in La Cité francophone and across the street at Campus Saint-Jean.
So … more shows on more stages. It puts you smack up against the question of what to see in the 260-show land of Fringe. And that’s something 12thnight.ca can help you with! Tune in to this site for previews, suggestions, features, and reviews by me, and special-guest reviewers.
It’s an exciting theatre town, as the Fringe continues to demonstrate so vividly. I hope you’ll find the 12thnight.ca content entertaining and worthwhile. And I’m hoping, too, you’ll be able to support my continuing theatre coverage on the free site — my two-year-old online experiment I launched after 35 years as the Edmonton Journal theatre writer — by chipping in a monthly contribution to my Patreon campaign (click here).
Let the wild things roar their terrible roars. It’s (nearly) showtime.
Where The Wild Things Fringe runs Aug. 15 through 25. Tickets and further information: fringetheatre.ca.