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Fire up your rocket ship: The Fringe is on its way!

The Answer is Fringe, but what is the question?
Ready, set go! Tickets are on sale for the popular Edmonton International Fringe Festival, running Aug. 17-27. Photo Lucy Haines

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is about to bring infinite probabilities and possibilities to Old Strathcona. Over 11 wacky, theatre-filled days,  August 17 - 27, ticket holders are invited to take a chance on any of the Fringe’s 186 indoor shows (that’s 1,558 performances), 21 outdoor street performers and artists from around the globe.

"You gotta come here and feel it," said exhuberant artistic director of Fringe, Murray Utas, who's been at the helm for nearly a decade and has seen the festival's highest of highs (record numbers of shows and attendance in 2019) and the lows (i.e. the pandemic). "We're so excited for all the international artists that are joining us again, representing 14 countries."

"The joy is palpable," added Edmonton Fringe Theatre executive director Megan Dart as the box office opened for ticket sales Thursday. "Everything is different on this side of the pandemic, but we're seeing artists we haven't seen in years make a return, a slate of volunteers that filled spots in record time and a couple of new venues (including the Rooster Kitchen & Bar on Whyte Ave.). The energy and enthusiasm is sky-high."

As organizers explain, this year’s fringe theme pays homage to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because once you know what the question actually is, you’ll know what the answer means. The answer to the great question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is forty-two! For 42 years, the answer has always been Fringe. And if that boggles the brain, a visit to Fringe may be just what the doctor ordered.

Returning this year are many favourite elements, including Kids Fringe, better than ever in Light Horse Park offering free indoor and outdoor performances for kids of all ages.

Meet up with friends and compare notes on what shows to see (or skip) at Fringe Grounds Cafe in the Arts Barns. That's also the name of the game at the Fringe beer and wine tents around the grounds, this year offering a first with local brews from Sea Change Brewery, plus Eau Claire Distillery canned cocktails, Village Brewery Ciders and wine from Borsao Bodegas.

Fringers know there's plenty of entertainment outside of theatre shows. That includes enjoying artist vendors and food truck offerings, plus the Fringe Music Series, featuring local performers each weekend of the festival from 9 - 11 p.m. on the ATB Outdoor Stage in ATB Park (McIntyre Park). 

 Pêhonân is back and ongoing throughout the festival and is a celebration of indigenous performances, installations, and stories curated by the Fringe’s brand new Indigenous Director, MJ Belcourt Moses. 

Here's one to note: 8-5 Crew is a spontaneous lineup of some of Edmonton’s hottest graffiti artists, rappers, dancers, and microphone assassins coming together on the north side of the festival grounds each weekend of the festival. 

 Buy tickets online, by phone at 780-409-1910, or in person at the Fringe Theatre Arts Barns Box Office (10330 84 Ave) or EAC Shop & Services (Formerly Tix on the Square) at 9930 102 Ave. 

For more on the intergalactic fun, and how to plan your week, grab a program book and visit Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival at 

Happy Fringing!