Fringe finds fertile ground in the Sault

Fringe Festival

After taking root with a successful inaugural festival in the summer of 2017, Fringe North International Theatre Festival is set to blossom in 2018 with a strong lineup and added events.

From Aug. 9-19, Fringers in Sault Ste. Marie will enjoy high-calibre and often edgy theatre, busking, art, music and an ambitious Kids Fringe program, all at a very low cost.

The Sault will once again welcome artists and performers from around the world, thanks to the World Congress of Fringe Festival network.

Artist registration is now open for theatre groups and street performers at

“We already have several artists from across Canada registered,” said Fringe North president Tova Arbus. “Many more have expressed ‘intent to enter,’ from dance groups to drama, from comedy to street performance.”

Fringe North, a not-for-profit organization, is also looking for volunteers and sponsors. Information on both is available on the website.

The festival is a great opportunity for local performers to make money from their art. Fringe productions cost little to stage, artists receive 100 per cent of the gate and shows are chosen by lottery or first-come-first-served, with no censoring of content by festival producers.

Fringe North, the Arts Council of Algoma and the Downtown Association of Sault Ste. Marie are collaborating to make sure there’s lots to do downtown this spring and summer.

New events include a singer-songwriter series at Roberta Bondar Pavilion, and a youth graffiti installation and contest.

“As well, the arts council is looking forward to presenting the Art in The Park n’ Lot Festival at the Bondar Pavilion in collaboration with Fringe North,” said Russ Raven, president of the Council’s board of directors. “And it will sponsor the Art Crawl, returning this summer.”

Fringe and the Arts Council worked together to stage the very successful Minnikaan Project at White Pines Collegiate in January, an Indigenous art exhibit paired with a theatre performance about reconciliation and the legacy of residential schools, titled ‘Debwewin’ (by Sarah Gartshore).

This year Fringe North headquarters is in the Arts Council offices at 104A – 369 Queen St. E.

“The energy around here is high,” said Arbus. “So many great new ideas are being tossed around as we build our second year.”

Fringe will also host the second annual Northern Ontario Book Fair Aug. 10-12. Silverleaf Writers Guild programs director Veronique Ginglo-Robert said the event lets authors connect with fans and sell their books.

Fringe loves kids and kids love Fringe. A full lineup of free or low cost events will include performances, workshops and hands-on art activities. Youth Odena returns with its hugely popular cardboard box fort.

Audiences will get a taste of what’s to come May 5 at a Fringe North Variety Night at Algoma’s Water Tower Inn.

Featured entertainers in the adults-only show are The Comedics, the Sault’s popular musical medical satirists. And there will be an array of Algoma artists, musicians and a flaming juggler (the warm-up act). Tickets are $35; more details will follow.

Fringe North can be reached at [email protected] or 705-975-5135.

Follow Fringe North on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @fringesault.