Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival

Jump to: navigation, search
The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival


The Fringe is an open and accessible theatre festival that provides complete artistic control to the participating artists. All plays and productions are eligible to be part of the festival no matter the form, content or style.[1]


Founded in 1988 by the Manitoba Theatre Centre with Rick McNair as the first Executive Director. [2] The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival has enjoyed tremendous growth since it was founded as part of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in 1988 and currently ranks as the second-largest event of its kind in North America.

In its first year ticket sales were 14,000 across nine days of performances. That figure was 26,000 in 1989 - year two of the festival. It climbed to 44,709 in 1999 and was over 60,000 in 2001. [3]

The current Executive Producer, Chuck McEwen, used to be the former director of the Toronto Fringe Festival and has been in charge of Winnipeg's Fringe Festival since 2008. [4] The festival's venues are centred in Winnipeg's historic Exchange District with the Old Market Square serving as the outdoor stage location. But as the festival has grown there are venues outside that district but still close to Winnipeg's downtown.

About The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival

The Winnipeg Fringe Festival is modelled after the Edmonton Fringe Festival and provides several venues for the performing companies. Some companies however, arrange their own venues, but regardless each venue is suited with paid technicians and volunteers for ticket sales and ushering. Every year the Winnipeg Fringe Festival welcomes over 170 companies from all over the world to present exciting independent theatre to appreciative audiences. Because the festival accepts performing companies into the festival via a lottery process, artists are free to be experimental and have complete artistic control over their production.[5]
The festival welcomes performing companies both local and from around world. In the past their have been performers from France, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and South Africa as well as from other parts of Canada and the U.S.


Winnipeg Fringe is based on three key principles:[6]

  1. The festival is non-juried.
  2. Artists have complete artistic freedom to present what they want on stage.
  3. 100% of box office revenue goes directly back to the performing companies.

Annual Theme

Each year the festival adopts a different theme. In 2015 the theme was "We're all -blank- here," where the blank was filled in by the performing companies. On the program for the festival, it was "mad," but on the volunteer website it was "friends." [7]

Harry S. Rintoul memorial award

The Harry S. Rintoul Memorial award was established by the Manitoba Association of Playwrights to recognize the best play written by a Manitoban and performed at the festival. [8]

The Winnipeg Fringe is proud to be a part of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF).


  4. Melissa Martin, "We asked ... Chuck McEwen", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 July 2008.

External Links

Name:The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival