One house, the heat, the rain and dealing with two hits
by Beat Rice
This summer marks my third year working as Front of House Manager for the Toronto Fringe Festival. It was a great year of meeting new people, working with people you only see during the Fringe, and running into old pals.
Every year there has been a heat warning and - until this year - no rain. I was lucky enough to have shifts that happened around the rain. I was also lucky enough to have an amazing plethora of volunteers everyday and wonderful enthusiastic patrons come to see shows at my venue. I still can’t get over how many people were willing to line up for hours in the nasty smoggy weather for a show! The unknowing passerby might wonder if there was an early screening of the new Batman movie. At my venue there was one particular show which won both Patron’s Pick AND Best of the Fringe; I had people lining up to purchase tickets at the door 3 hours before they went on sale. Once they purchased their ticket they would wait another hour in the ticket holders line.
There was not any late night programming at the club or a dance floor this year, but hey, it’s still all about the shows.
This year there was record attendance to shows and many more advance ticket sales. So much so that the Festival actually ran out of ticket stock to print the advance tickets on. Insane-in a good way! We also ran out of Tip the Fringe buttons before the halfway point of the festival, which means more people are donating more than $5 every hour. The people were really fantastic this year. I was lucky enough not to have encountered any difficulties explaining the very strict No Latecomers policy to latecomers. I hate being the bearer of bad news but it really does need to be enforced.
The Fringe Club, located behind Honest Ed’s moved a little north from its usual location, taking over the alleyway under the pretty lights. The parking lot was filled with large white tents housing visual artists' work. There was not any late night programming at the club or a dance floor this year, but hey, it’s still all about the shows. The Fringe went through a few changes this Summer and will continue too as we say good bye to outgoing Executive Director Gideon Arthurs, and say hello to Kelly Straughan who will be stepping into the position.
Until next year…