Vancouver Fringe Festival

Framily Ties


Vancouver *wistful sigh*

From last year's amazing run of Roller Derby Saved My Soul at the Vancouver Fringe to getting nominated for a Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Performance for my work in The Little Prince (which I now realize I never blogged about), the city has always been good to me. But I really wasn't prepared for how great things were going to be this time around.

Dave Grohl is cooler than you or I will ever be.

Seeing the Foo Fighters live from floor seats at Rogers Arena, spending a day at Wreck Beach followed by a rooftop BBQ, catching up with old friends, and working on the documentary (kinda weird that it took a trip to Vancouver for Cory and I to have the time to sit and work together, but in a day we managed to finish most of our lingering grant applications) and the shows! So many Fringe shows! I saw 17 in my short time there and had a blast at every one.

But what really blew me away was the huge outpouring of love I felt from everyone around me. Yes, it's Fringe and we are quite the Framily, but without the stress of producing a show I was able to sit back and watch how much we truly care about each other.

I honestly wish I had taken more pictures.

I sit in the Halifax Airport as I write this, waiting for my flight to Charlottetown where I will be for Contact East until Sunday. Meanwhile, the Fringe plays on in Vancouver until the end of the week. If you are around, please see as many shows as you can and support these amazing artists. I'm sure you will fall as madly in love with every single one of them as I have.

See you every day!

Featured image photo credit: kurichan+ via Compfight cc

Nancy's Must-See List at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival (Part 2)


For those of you who missed Part 1, which contains the list of all the shows I've already seen, you can check it out here  


Alright gang, I have a problem. A glorious problem, but a problem nonetheless. There are just too many great looking shows at this year's Vancouver Fringe Festival  for me to see them all before I leave town. This means I have had to do some creative culling when it came to writing this blog post.

The I'm sorry I'm lazy shows

Since I have so little time, chances are I will not be making it out to the Firehall Centre, the Havana, or the Cultch, but that doesn't mean there aren't some great shows playing out there. Early buzz is on James & Jamesy in the DarkTJ's Kitchen, and Mrs. Singh & Me in each venue respectively.

The this has been around for ages and I can't believe I haven't seen it yet shows

I'm lucky that I attend so many festivals. Quite a few shows tour the circuit repeatedly over the years and every once in a while you get a golden opportunity to finally catch it. That's the case for The Most Honest Man in the World. Andrew Wade is the nicest guy and I keep telling him I will see his show in a certain city and every single time I've missed it. I've also heard about Vaudevillian for quite some time and I'm hoping this city will be the one where I will come through. Don't wait until the very last minute to see a show. It's a terrible feeling when you miss it and you talk to the performer after who kindly listens as you apologize but inside you both know you are the asshole. Don't be like me. Don't be the asshole.

The I've got high hopes so please don't disappoint me #nopressure shows

Balance 2.1

This show comes from the same people who brought Anatolia Speaks to the Fringe last year, which I really enjoyed. Plus I'm currently living with her and she made me tea when I was feeling under the weather. When a performer makes you tea, you go see their show. That's the rule.

Chris & Travis

Although Travis is one of the best magicians on the circuit, this show somehow wasn't really on my radar until I saw the Fringe opening event a few nights ago where he and Chris were hosting. Their good natured game of charades to acknowledge the festival sponsors pretty much sold me on the show. See kids! Nonsensical previews do work!

The Exclusion Zone

Martin Dockery is one of the best storytellers out there and I absolutely love it when he pushes himself to go outside the box. Last year's The Dark Fantastic  blew me away and I have a feeling this one will be right up my alley.

Fire in the Meth Lab

From the guy who created Pretending Things are a Cock. Based on the title and the poster I was expecting this to be a drama but someone told me it was a comedy so I'm even more intrigued.

For Body And Light Presents: Bear Dreams

I saw For Body And Light's previous show in Edmonton last year and caught a preview of this one at the opening event. I'm not typically a "dance" person but the use of mask, live music and poetry has me intrigued.

Grandma's Dead

It's Sam Mullins, one of the most affable performers on the Fringe who has consistently been playing to sold out houses all summer. He's trying something a little different from his usual storytelling fare and it always excites me when performers try something new. He also beat out Roller Derby Saved My Soul for a Canadian Comedy Award last year so I'm going to go sit in the front row and judge.

In Search of Cruise Control

Last year, I saw James Gangl's Sex, Religion and Other Hangups and thought it was the strongest, funniest and most polished one-man show I had seen in a very long time. It seems this one might be no different after not only selling out his entire run at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, but the entire holdover performance as well.

Kiss Around Pass Around

I still regret missing Miss Hiccup when she performed at the Ottawa Fringe a few years ago. I've heard great things about this one and I'm really looking forward to it.

A Story of O's

Tonya Jone Miller has had a lot of success with autobiographical stories like Threads which has been raved about across the circuit and won her an award for Outstanding Original Work this summer in Ottawa. This time she pulls from her background as a phone sex worker.

Village Ax

Sydney Hayduk is my manic pixie dream girl. It seems impossible to find so much heart in such a small frame, but there you have it. If there was only one show I could see at this festival, this would be the one.


Sigh. There are more shows that have peaked my interest, from catchy titles to interesting premises. If I have a hole in my schedule or if I hear any great buzz, I may try to squeeze some of them in. Word of mouth is a powerful things and that's the beauty of Fringe. If you hear of anything, please feel free to let me know about it in the comment section below.

2015-09-10 13.36.16

As I write this, the Vancouver Fringe Festival officially begins tonight! Grab a program, grab some friends, grab me a glass of white wine if you see me around and have yourself a merry ole Fringemas!


Nancy's Must-See List at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival (Part 1)


I'm finally back on the road! After an absolutely lovely time catching up with friends and shows at the Victoria Fringe Festival, it was one tumultuous little ferry ride over to Vancouver. Actually, the ferry ride itself was fine. It was in the search and rescue of our missing luggage that the real adventure happened.

Smiles in the hours before we lost our innocence. Our innocence was in our luggage.

Everything worked out, as they do, and now we can always say "Well, at least it's not as bad as searching for our luggage at the Greyhound Station."


But back to the reason you probably clicked on this blog link in the first place. Now that I am in Vancouver and I have my Fringe program, I have been combing through the list in order to see as many shows as I possibly can in my short time year.

Before I go any further, the usual disclaimer. I am not a reviewer, nor do I claim to be one. This list is my own personal list of things I look forward to seeing for a variety of reasons. Pick up the Fringe program and make your own awesome list of things to see!

The Shows I've Already Seen and Would Probably See Again So Maybe You Should Go At Least Once

I've already seen 16 shows appearing at this year's festival, which nicely fills up my gotta catch 'em all punch card. 15 of them I would recommend.

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing

Saw this one a few years ago at Zoofest in Montreal. It was crazy and kooky and put a big ole smile on my face.


A total stand-out show for me at this year's Victoria Fringe Festival. A beautifully crafted solo-confessional. As a former Canadian SLAM poetry champ, I shouldn't be surprised that Brendon Mcleod knows how to craft a beautiful turn of phrase and his delivery makes you feel like you are having a deep one-sided conversation with your best friend. Only 30 seats in his venue to get there early!

God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II

God in a power suit telling it like it is. Probably one of the funniest shows I have ever seen.

The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper

Another stand-out for me from Victoria. I saw Corin Raymond's previous show, Bookworm, three times. He's a glorious storyteller and I knew this one wasn't going to disappoint.

The Inventor of All Things

Hands down, this is my favourite of all Jem Rolls' shows. If you like his other shows, you are in for something completely different. If you hate his other shows, you are in for something completely different.

Keith Brown: Exchange

An incredible magician, he will have you yelling "Burn the witch!" before the show is done... or maybe that's just me... because I am an asshole.

Lust & Marriage

I met Eleanor O'Brien during my first tour to Winnipeg in 2009. Her friendship back then during a particularly difficult Fringe is one of the reasons I didn't quit. I saw her one-woman show at the Toronto Fringe this summer and I was absolutely charmed by her performance and her tackling of a subject matter that often remains behind closed doors.


Caught this one at the Ottawa Fringe Festival this year. I will see anything that has Jayson McDonald's name attached to it and you should too.

The Middle of Everywhere

I've seen every single show the Wonderheads have brought to Fringe. Their shows are always delightful and this one is good for the whole family!

Nashville Hurricane

My favourite Chase Padgett show! It's a beautiful, well-crafted story that just gave me all the feels. A darling on the Fringe circuit and, once you see it, you will understand why.

Peter n' Chris present: Here Lies Chris

Peter n' Chris are funny guys and their shows regularly sell out on that premise alone, but this one, while still hilarious, also packs a nice emotional gut-punch.

The Sama Kutra

Clowns. Sex. Directed by one half of Mump & Smoot. I saw their very first performance in Calgary last year where they won the Patron's Pick. I've been told they've made some changes since so I'll be checking it out again to see what they've cooked up.

The Seven Lives of Louis Riel

Caught this one ages ago at that fateful Winnipeg Fringe in 2009, so you can be sure I'll be back for a refresher this year. From Ryan Gladstone, the guy who brought you Grant Canyon, I don't think history has ever been this fun.

Sperm Wars

Jeff Leard has frequently been compared to a young Robin Williams and, once you see his show, it's not hard to understand why. An incredibly malleable performer, he will have you in stitches before the hour is up.


After her preview performance at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, Windy Wynazz became my very first Fringe crush of the year. Once you see the dance number in her show, she just might become yours as well.


Man, so much talent at this year's Vancouver Fringe and these are just the shows I've seen! Stay tuned to this blog for Part 2 where I give a shoutout to all the stuff I'm hoping will delight and surprise me.







Adventure Time!


This post was originally sent out through my monthly newsletter. I won't also post the content here so if you are interested in getting additional insights on my adventures, feel free to sign-up!  

Hi friends, did you miss me? I spent my summer time in Ottawa working on grant applications. I took a little break from this ole newsletter, since there wasn't all that much to share other than "woke up, worked on a grant, took a Netflix break, worked on a grant again, did some acrobatics (as you do in your downtime), worked on another f'n grant".

Now September has rolled around and I don't know about you but I am ready for a new adventure. On the 1st, I handed the keys to my condo over to a lovely family and literally skipped all the way to my friend's car. I'm still in Ottawa for the next few days and I can't tell you how absolutely ecstatic it makes me to be crashing on a pal's couch. While I enjoyed the downtime in my home, I think I am much better suited to life on the road.


My first stop will be in Victoria to catch the last weekend of their Fringe before heading out to Vancouver for theirs. For the first time in quite a few months, the documentary team will be reunited in person in Terminal City! Lots of meetings are planned as we work towards our goal of having a rough cut of the film completed by November 1st. And while Natalie and Cory work away at all the technical elements that come with putting together a movie, I will find myself a coffee shop office and keep writing more grants...


What our meetings look like. Natalie did not want me to take this picture. Oops!

Speaking of grants, I have to send a lot of love and special thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts for offering me an Audience and Market Development Grantso I can attend Contact East in Charlottetown to pitchRoller Derby Saved My Soul. My mother is then coming to pick me up after the conference so I can spend some quality time with the family in Moncton. Yup, from one coast to the other in September!

So excited for this!

Stay lovely,




I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Je remercie le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.



Feature Image Photo Credit: abdallahh via Compfight cc

The Start of Something


Yesterday, my producing partner, Natalie Watson, and I sat in a darkened room and watched, not the work we had created, but people's reaction to it. And it was pretty fucking cool. The Vancouver Fringe Festival had generously put together an event for a select group of people in order for us to preview our upcoming documentary, On the Fringe. So far, no one outside of the production team had seen what we had been cooking up. While I'm confident in and incredible proud of the work Natalie and director Cory Thibert have been doing, I was still a little nervous showing anything for the first time. There was no need to worry, however, because the reactions were incredible. People loved it and were excited to see more.

And now, I am ready to share that with the rest of you. Click on the image below to see our preview!

Title Card

This preview is a rough cut of the film's introduction. It is still a work in progress but it should give you an idea of where things are going. It is our hope to have a finished film by the Fall. Are you as excited as I am yet?

You may also have noticed, once you clicked on the image, that it takes you to our Indiegogo page. Thanks to a new program from the crowdfunding platform, past successful campaigns are able to re-open. Until we've built a proper website, this is a great place for you to pre-order the film, get updates on how things are going and help us raise funds for post-production.

If you already contributed to our previous campaign, THANK YOU! We wouldn't have been able get this far without you! You will still be getting your selected film perks once they are ready. If you can contribute again that would, of course, be amazing, but you can also majorly help us out by being our ambassadors and distributing it through your social networks.

We're also looking for some additional help behind the scenes. I need someone with experience in branding, marketing, graphic design and web building who can work within our Fringe budgets. If this is you or someone you know, please contact us.

So check out the video & the campaign, tell us what you think, and share share share with everyone you know.

A year ago, this documentary was just a pipe dream and now we are closer than ever to making it a reality.


Featured image in header "Waiting for Hulot" by blondinrikard licensed under CC-BY.

Last Time, With Feeling


I'm just a few hours away from my very last performance of Roller Derby Saved My Soul of the summer, as a Pick of the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and for the foreseeable future. Sitting here in my special tank top, though I'm feeling a bit nervous, as I do before any performance, I also feel a great sense of accomplishment and gratitude. What an adventure I've been on! Four months on the road, 55 performances in multiple cities across this beautiful country, tons of friends old and new, two very special colleagues who helped me realize my vision of a feature-length documentary in one awesome little car from the amazing people at Hunt Club Volkswagen in Ottawa... Man, do I ever have a lot to be grateful for. A more personalized list of thank yous will be coming soon, but for now, I just want to let all of you reading this that I couldn't have done it without your support.

Thank you thank you thank you. And I will see you on the flip side.

P.S. Don't tell Tania Levy that my last performance takes place on a raised and very lumpy stage. She worries ;)

Terminal City, Last Stop


I arrived in Vancouver not really knowing what to expect with this Fringe. I've always loved the city and Granville Island in particular, but I had never performed here before. My last three cities (Calgary, Edmonton and Victoria) had been just fine, so I expected just as much here. But both the weather and the festival went well above and beyond my wildest expectations. I arrived in town to what I quickly discovered was some mad media buzz. In addition to the Georgia Straight review from the Victoria Fringe, I got to attend a media call and I was named a festival pick in almost every local publication, both online and in print. I once again thank my lucky stars for my amazing promotional pictures, which I am sure played an important role in getting me noticed.

Photo credit: Richard Gilmore

I started flyering and right away the response was incredibly positive. Still, I had no idea what to expect on opening night. Let me tell you I was pretty blown away when I found out that my show had sold out and there were multiple people turned away at the door. My family almost didn't make it in. I kept working it throughout most of the week and ended up with virtually a sold out run in Vancouver. But the good news doesn't stop there! I was selected as a Pick of the Fringe, which means I get an extra performance on Sunday, September 21 at 5 p.m. So if you are in Vancouver or have friends who are, this is probably your last chance to see Roller Derby Saved My Soul this year.


As I write this, Cory is now on his way to the airport to board a plane back to Ottawa. Most of the filming on the documentary is done, though Natalie will be around to talk to me after my last performance on Sunday. It's been quite the adventure traveling across the country with these two and I honestly couldn't have had a better team. We not only worked well together, we travelled well too, which I think is important. And although a chapter in our journey is now coming to a close, we still have all of post-production to get through first.

But more on that and my own travels back to Ottawa in my Hunt Club VW Passat in another post. And if you would like to have access to some exclusive content and information in regards to the tour and the documentary, please feel free to sign up for my newsletter here.

We can rebuild her, we have the technology


Roller Derby is a very physically demanding sport and injuries are common. One of the main reasons I don't play in any actual games is, in fact, to avoid injury at all cost. After all, if I get hurt, I wouldn't be able to do my show. It never really occurred to me that I could get hurt doing the show. First of all, I'm by myself, so there's no chance of getting knocked down hard and all the falls I do do are carefully choreographed. But I'm doing a show on roller skates practically every day for the past 3 months. In some cities, like Edmonton, I would even flyer on my skates, spending 4 to 5 hours a day in them. Like runners training, there's bound to be some wear and tear overtime.

And I'm not quite sure if that's what it was? Overuse and bad posture maybe? Or maybe the floors in the Falsecreek Community Centre were just harder than what I've been used to - I've been told it's a sprung floor but it doesn't feel that way. Or maybe, this one time, I landed funny? But during my tech rehearsal for the Vancouver Fringe on Wednesday, when I practiced my jump and landed on my skates as I zip around my makeshift track, something felt off in my right knee. With the limited amount of time you get to tech, I brushed it off, finished the rehearsal, and with a half hour to spare, tried it again on different skates, since my outdoor wheels have more cushioning than my indoor ones. Then I tried it one more time on my regular skates before thinking that maybe I should stop now...

I called my director. Her first suggestion was the sensible one - "Cut the jump." - So of course I didn't want to hear it. Thoughts of a Calgary Fringe review ran through my head: "The novelty of wheel-powered theatre eventually wears off." 

I'd worked damn hard on that jump and I wanted to show it off, but ugh... Yup, I was letting my one meh review from the summer dictate my personal safety because I was scared of losing any more Wow factor from the show.

I met with the team and started icing my knee. It did feel better. But I didn't want to take any chances that it could get worse. My greatest fear was that I wouldn't be able to do the show at all. Or at least not skate in it. So I managed to get a last minute physiotherapy appointment. And am I ever glad I did!

Bolder, better, faster, stronger.

My physiotherapist was amazing! She immediately noticed there was swelling in my knee, but after some light testing deduced that it was a minor injury. My knee got tapped up. I was given some exercises to work on, as well as some kind of electrotherapy, told to keep icing it when it hurt and Just. Be. Careful. It was really awesome to talk to someone who worked with athletes and knew how important it was for them to be able to perform the next day. She made me feel at ease and like I had options.

Opening night in Vancouver. A sold out house! I really was not expecting that at all! My knee is feeling better so I decide to go for it with the jump. Boom! Nailed it. No twitch, no pain. I feel relieved. After the show, other then residual muscle stiffness, I feel pretty alright. Five more performances to go so let's keep it that way.



I've never been a big fan of ultimatums. Not in relationships, in work or in life in general. They're just so... final. As you may know, I've been working on a one woman roller derby show that I would like to tour cross-country next year on the Canadian Fringe Festival Circuit. Applications to the majority of festivals is by lottery. To make touring a tad easier on the performer, an organization called the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals holds their own lottery every fall for the chance to participate in every festival of your choosing. You may or may not get in, but if you do, your entire touring schedule is now secured for the summer, months ahead of most local lottery deadlines.

The only hick? You need to have the cash for every single festival you want to apply to upfront. In my case, a potential 7 city tour, that comes up to almost $5000. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of money lying around (and if you do have that kind of money lying around, we should talk!). If I did, I wouldn't have been emptying out my cupboards of all canned goods since I've come back from China because my bills need paying and groceries seem to be a luxury at the moment.

So, I did the only thing a starving artist can do: I called my mom.

My mom was somewhat open to the idea. After all, I did get a grant from the City of Ottawa to write this piece. I talked to her about the lottery and how if I did not get in there would be no charges on her part. I would then apply individually to the various festivals and try my luck there. And of course she would be getting her money back by the end of the summer once my tour is done. However, my mom may have misunderstood my initial request. She seemed to think all I needed for the tour was $5000. After reviewing my budget plan, which brings expenses closer to the $20,000 mark, she did what all good moms would do. She kinda freaked.

And that's when the ultimatum reared it's ugly head. I've got until March to make this work. March is approximately when you can drop out of most festivals without incurring too much of a penalty.

I'm waiting to hear if I've received some grants that I've already applied for in December and there are new deadlines for other funding opportunities as well, but I'm scared. There is so much in this that involves chance and I've never really been that lucky before. This project means so much to me, but will it sell? Audiences across Canada are fickle. If I knew what they wanted, I'd be the greatest publicist on earth. But I don't know. All I can do is go about on blind faith (with a strong dash of hard work) and pray that it all pays off. My mother does not doubt that a Fringe tour would be a wonderful, soul-fulfilling experience. She just does not want me to go into a 5-digit debt load to accomplish that.

I guess there's no use in worrying about this right now. With my lotto luck, I may not get into a single festival next summer.