Edmonton Fringe Struggles


Last year, producing a show at the Edmonton Fringe Festival was challenging. I'm not afraid of a challenge. I know if I work hard, I can make it happen. And I did. This year, on the other hand, has been downright difficult. Attendance for my show is low, some of the lowest I've had on the circuit, and I'm not sure I'm even going to break even in this town. It was probably naive to think that the high I was riding from Toronto and Winnipeg would continue in Edmonton, but I figure I would probably do as well as I did last year, if not better. All this has left me, and many others, feeling pretty Fringed and Confused. I know there may be a few reasons behind this. For instance, although I absolutely love my venue, it is located in the French Quarters, which is approximately a 25 minute walk from the main Fringe grounds. That may not seem like that much (and trust me, it isn't) but when you can choose a show located a few feet from where you are standing and one that involves a bit of walking... Well, I know which one I would choose. Also, though I don't have an official confirmation on this, I've heard that the festival has almost 30 extra shows this year as opposed to the last, which definitely could have an impact. Of course, this is also my second year in a row in town with what could be considered the "same" show. I'm thrilled some folks have decided to see the show twice, but with the number of shows to see, I completely understand if people want to see something new - even though I still consider this a fairly new version of the play. And finally, as much as I hate to admit it, the reviews stars do matter. Though the reviews for Roller Derby Saved My Soul have been amazing, for some reason the stars don't seem to match up. In fact, in some publications, the review is actually worse than the one from last year, even though my show is, arguably better than it was. But reviews are a post for another day.

Now, if you know me, you know that I have still been working my butt off to promote the show. I've been flyering a good 4 hours a day almost every day on roller skates no less, but I've noticed only a slight jump (approximately 10 new people) in ticket sales every time I do. This leads to many a frustrated feeling, including creeping doubts that maybe the show just isn't that good... Not true, I know, but it can be hard not to take it personally.

In the past few days, I've been actively working at changing my mentality about everything and looking for all the things that make me happy to be at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. So, without further ado, I am grateful for the following:

  • My billet's incredible home, which she is letting us housesit until Saturday. I sleep in my own bed, have access to a great vinyl collection and there's a hot tub!
  • Skating everywhere I go - for the first time ever I have officially become and outdoor skater. My billet's place is approximately 10 minutes in either direction from both the main Fringe grounds and my venue. It's been a little scary thanks to the shoddy pavement in some areas, but such a thrill to be arriving at the festival on wheels.
  • The poutine at Cafe Bicyclette is to DIE for and worth the trip out there alone. I would have posted a picture but I wolfed it down too fast.
  • The French media has been incredible supportive of the show in the last few days with interviews for Le Franco and Le Cafe Show (Radio-Canada).
  • My incredible Fringe family for their constant love, support and commiseration. Special shout-outs to Christine Lesiak, Jeff Leard and Gemme Wilcox who are also in my venue.

There are still 3 performances of Roller Derby Saved My Soul left. Please help me make them the best ones yet!