GEM’s Creative Writing Intern, Vanessa Mugoa, recently volunteered at the Toronto Fringe Festival. We asked her to share her experience and perspective about the event and why it’s such a great arts and culture event in Toronto.

Hello all! I am back with another blog post and this time it is on Toronto’s annual, twelve-day Fringe Festival, where I also got to volunteer!

Now for a little history on the Toronto Fringe Festival! Since 1989, when Fringe was first held, it has become so popular that it is now considered Toronto’s largest theatre festival! This year, the festival featured 148 shows in 30+ venues and/or site-specific locations, with a total of more than 1,100 performances. Another cool fact about Fringe is that all the shows are chosen at random by lottery or on a first come basis, and 100% of the ticket prices are returned to the artists. Ultimately, the Fringe Festival is about giving the under-represented voices of artists an opportunity to share their works and emerge in the performing arts world!

However, Fringe is more than just a theatre festival! Many shows include elements of dance, visual arts, spoken word, and much more. As a spectator, you never know what you will possibly see at Fringe. For example, I saw a play that was performed at the Ahimsa Yoga studio downtown and it involved the audience doing yoga with the actors throughout their performance!

As a first-time Fringe volunteer and spectator this summer, the festival was a blast! It was great to meet and work with the Fringe staff and other awesome volunteers, interact with the many spectators who attended this year’s festival, as well as check out a few fresh and innovative performances myself!

Did you attend an event at the Toronto Film Festival this year? What was your favourite performance? Tell us about it!