When Fringe Festivals across North America began to cancel their season, dedicated artists joined forces to ensure that audiences wouldn’t miss out. As a result, Fringe Festival audiences across North America will get an opportunity to catch their favourite performers live in a new series that will span the entirety of the Fringe Theatre Festival season.

Dubbed FringeLiveStream, the series aims to encapsulate live performances, while filling the void left by the many cancellations of North Americas summer Fringe Festivals.

“In a way, this brings us back to the roots of the Fringe movement, which is live performances,” producer Jonathon Paterson explains. “I figured with the popularity of online performances, why not create a cohesive online Fringe Festival. Canada Performs (National Arts Centre‘s current online series) has been such a success, I wanted to borrow that concept and build on it.”

The Festival will feature new performances each week during North America’s Fringe Festival season. The first performance took place on May 28, with performances following weekly on Thursdays at 9pm EST. The final curtain is scheduled for October 8.

“Fringe has and continues to, shape who I am as an artist,” Hamilton actor and one of the Fringelivestream organizers, Carlyn Rhamey says. “Because of the work I saw in the Hamilton Fringe in 2016 and my amazing experience working with other artists and producers in ALERT, I moved from Niagara to Hamilton and I made a life here working as an artist. Fringe has also allowed me to make connections and work outside the circuit, in Hamilton but also across Canada.”

The producers of FringeLiveStream are utilizing a dedicated Facebook page as a central hub for activities. Following the tradition of physical Fringe Festivals, participants and lineups are chosen based on a lotteries held on the page. Additionally, performances are streamed directly from the Facebook page, with all performances in the festival will operate on a pay-what-you-can model, with 100% of the money raised returned to the artists.

Although not a member of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAPF), FringeLiveStream will incorporate all the the Association’s guiding principals, which includes giving artists from underrepresented communities a voice for their perspectives. One performance per month will feature Artists From Underrepresented Communities (AUC), highlighting stories from artists that reflect inclusion, multiculturalism and/or diversity.

The FringeLiveStream opened on Thursday, May 28th. Future performances take place weekly on Thursdays at 9pm EDT / 6pm PDT.

Photo of Les Kurkendaal-Barrett courtesy of Fringelivestream.

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