A sure sign that the summer of 2019 is coming to Montreal was the recent press conference that was held at the MainLine Theatre by the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival to unveil the programming line-up for its 29th edition, which will take place from May 27 to June 16. The gathering on May 7 included members of the media, festival personnel and supporters, and for the first time, several artists and theatrical troupes who got a head start in promoting their respective upcoming Fringe shows by handing out their omnipresent promotional cards and pamphlets to those who were in attendance.
“The Fringe Festival gives artists the chance to connect with their audiences at a much broader level because we are community, and as artists, we have a sense of responsibility to our audiences,” said choreographer Helene Simard, whose Fringe experience dates back to 2002 and is serving as this year’s festival spokesperson. “The festival is a unique platform, and I look forward to spending my time at the festival sitting at Fringe Park, seeing shows and engaging with members of the audience, so keep on fringing!”
Amy Blackmore, the Fringe Festival’s intrepid Executive and Artistic Director, is a firm believer of the power of the Fringe Festival when it comes to turbulent times in our society. “I believe art and activism can exist. We need the Fringe more than ever, because we can change the world for everyone else by fringing … and bring a friend to the Fringe,” she said.
As well, Ms. Blackmore announced that a total of 92 theatrical companies will be presenting shows as part of the Fringe A-Z series in 10 venues around the Plateau and downtown areas, along with three site-specific shows. As well, the festival’s popular late night showcase “The 13th Hour”, which will take place at the MainLine from June 6 to 13 and June 15, will be live streaming for the very first time.
Other Fringe Festival highlights include: the always popular “Fringe-For-All” preview showcase spectacular (May 27 at Club Soda), a look-ahead panel discussion called “Fringe 2030: Scenario Planning for a Climate-Ready Festival” (June 1), a special Fringe edition of Keith Waterfield’s comedy talk show “Life Lessons” (June 1), the Fringe Park opening concert with legendary Montreal ska band The Kingpins (June 6), a one-time encore presentation of THE hit show of last year’s festival “The Dance Side of the Moon” (May 29) and the always outrageous Drag Races hosted by Mado Lamotte (June 15).
And on a personal note, I will be defending the Montreal Air Guitar Championship title that I won last year at this year’s edition of the Quebec Provincial Air Guitar Championships, which takes place on June 14 at Fringe Park from 7 to 10 p.m., to once again win the right to compete at the air guitar nationals next month in Toronto, and possibly win the right to represent Canada at the world championships that take place in Finland in August.
Tickets to individual Fringe Festival shows are $12. For more information, go to www.montrealfringe.ca or call 514-849-FEST.
Feature image: Members of the troupe Uptown Crew, who will be performing their show “Le Venin de Jocaste” at this year’s Fringe Festival