No Fringe for me… Unless…

well, after a brutal hour and a half (brutal for the antici…pation), I did not get into the Toronto Fringe Festival. Neither did I make the waiting list. While this is disappointing from the point of view of getting my play on stage this summer, there are a couple of positive aspects:

1) I don’t have to spend $700 right before Christmas.
2) I have more time to work on the play.

Thinking about it on the way home, it occurred to me that I could submit it as a Bring Your Own Venue (byov). It wouldn’t take too much to turn the play into something site specific. I could see it, for example, in a church (long as they didn’t mind the cussing), or perhaps an alley.

A byov does present some unique challenges, however. Having performed in one last year, I found that we were far to separated from the festival as a whole. There’s a certain comraderie to the regular Fringe venues. You pass by other vast members before and after your show, and there a lot of opportunity for cross promotion. With the byov, it’s just your show in one space, and that means you miss out on a lot of the Fringe experience. The other reason I’d be reluctant to do a byov, is that you have to work that much harder to get an audience. If I was to do the play as a byov, I’d need s real promotions wiz to help me get the word out. Additionally, I’d need to combat my own self sabotaging instincts, and fight the voice (the one that’s there even now) that whispers to me that no one wants to see me perform a one-man show (or at least not enough people to make it worthwhile).

Regardless (self-esteem issues aside) whether to submit the play as a byov will take some careful thought, though I refuse to rule it out completely just yet.


  1. or you can submit to the unofficial parallel fringe at the bread and circus and have a multi play venue that works for you marketing wise…?

  2. The best shows I have ever seen have been in BYOV’s. Two women duking it out in a high end shoes store, a woman with 12 others packed into the bathroom of a fitness centre, two men in a grocery store… The ability to choose your venue allows you the opportunity to shape your work in a unique environment. Take a look at some of the really wicked Nuit Blanche pieces – art in unusual spaces does more, speaks louder than art in conventional places.

    Other benefits include choosing your own performance times, being the only show in a venue, creating new business relationships and closing the distance between corporations and the arts.

    Don’t not apply harder, apply because it is. The real challenge is creating the work that speaks to the environment and an environment that challenges you to create great work.

  3. That should read “don’t not apply because its harder, apply because it is.”

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