2011 Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival The 25th Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival has arrived once again. For nearly as long as I have been alive, there has been a Fringe Theatre Festival in Victoria. Celebrating the 25th Anniversary in 2011, Fringe has grown to play host to 72 independent performing companies and over 430 total performances. What makes the Victoria Fringe Festival special is that just about anything goes. Not all the performers are professionals; amateurs are welcome to try their best in a performance genre of their choice. Fringe is both a testing ground and a launching point for many aspiring performers. It is this very nature of the festival that keeps everything so interesting to me. With performances being random in selection time and location, the artists present shows that are usually created specifically for Fringe. This allows for a level of chaos that is not present in other festivals. A show may go fantastic, or a show may tank, it is entirely up to the mood of the audience and atmosphere of the venue. This allows for some trial by fire for the performers, as well as inspires some more interaction with the audience.   Something worth noting for an event this size and length is that due to having 13 venues across the city with shows going on all hours of the day, it can be hard to figure out where and when a show is playing that you might like to see. This has been handily taken care of with the creation of the 2011 Victoria Fringe Festival iPhone app. I have noticed the larger festivals (like the 2011 JazzFest) are starting to employ mobile technology to help the festival attendees find their way around. I think it is fantastic how much information is literally in the palm of your hand with these apps; dates, venues, ticket information, show descriptions and changes are all simply organized and easy to follow. There are a host of special events going on in the festival this year that are "free" ("free" meaning if you have purchased a Fringe Visa Button). Since all the proceeds of tickets go to the performers, a Fringe Visa Button is required for entry into any show. This is so the Intrepid Theatre can fund the event and continue providing the shows and the opportunities to the performers to entertain everyone. All in all, it is a good cause for the cost of a cup of coffee. Here is a video of the Flash Mob that took place in Centennial Square on August 23:

  Keep in mind that while there is a Fringe Kids Fest on Saturday, August 27, not every show is appropriate for children. The performances are not specifically filtered for material, which adds fun and a level of mystery into every show. The Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival is designed to have something for all ages and interests. The Fringe Kids Fest on Saturday August 27, is going to be a big draw for families and is a free event that is filled with live performances, crafts, puppeteers and more. Running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Fringe Kids Fest is sure to tire out the little ones for the rest of the day. Victoria Fringe is a long running staple of the arts community and Victoria as a whole. The event has grown steadily over the years and is now internationally recognized. Several performers can attribute foreign tours and breakout successes that all began in the Victoria Fringe Festival. Over the next two weeks, be sure to stop and check out a show in one of the 12 venues around the city. Whether to escape the summer heat or to relax on a lazy weekend, the Victoria Fringe Festival has got all angles covered, so don’t miss out!