By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
Edmonton Fringe Theatre is bidding adieu to its Executive Director. After five years in the demanding administration job atop the company that presents Edmonton’s giant International Fringe Theatre Festival (the country’s oldest, largest, and most influential fringe) every summer, Adam Mitchell is leaving that stage, effective March 26.
Mitchell, a multi-tasking fringe veteran of some 20 years standing much admired for his calm and thoughtful leadership, decided to leave once before, about a year ago. But he agreed to stay and shepherd the company through this challenging time of multiple uncertainties for the performing arts. This time, his exit is for real. He’ll be returning to his theatre production roots.
Edmonton Fringe Theatre will launch a search for Mitchell’s successor in the fall of 2021. In the meantime Megan Dart has been appointed Interim Executive Director, overseeing the team that will undertake the challenge of producing the 40th annual Edmonton Fringe, under circumstances and health and travel restrictions that are complicated, transforming, and, to understate the case, unpredictable.
Dart, Edmonton Fringe Theatre’s “communications specialist” and a playwright and events producer of note, is half of Catch The Keys Productions, an indie company with a distinguished history of original experiments in site-specific and immersive theatre — including the annual Dead Centre of Town forays into the spookiest niches of Edmonton history.
The 2021 Fringe will look and feel very different in another pandemic year when live-ness and intimacy, the Fringe trademarks, come with so many strings attached. Dart wonders if it means a return to earliest Fringe times, when our mammoth festivities were a mysterious “fringe theatre event.”