Fringe Theatre Festivals allow anyone to produce and perform a play without it being juried or judged, and that’s why Jeremy Banks loves them.
“They’re a blast, they’re a great sampler and introduction for everyone to what theatre can be, and they are an incredible opportunity for emerging innovative artists to test out new work,” he said.
Banks is the artistic producer and founder of the Fringetastic Theatre Festival in Nanaimo, which will run for the second year Aug. 16 to 26 at the Port Theatre and the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
Banks is a former Parksville resident who graduated from Ballenas Secondary School in 2001, and then from Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Technical Theatre Program in 2010.
While at VIU, Banks did a one-man-show called The Big Smoke which earned him a standing ovation after his first performance and consistent positive reviews across the country.
After getting his diploma at VIU, Banks decided to take to the road and work at fringe festivals across Canada. He realized at the end of the summer he had worked every job a fringe festival can offer except for producer, so he decided to try that hat on last year in Nanaimo.
“We had a great turnout to a grass roots festival,” he said. “This year, because of that success, we have lots of support.”
This year the festival has eight shows: two international, and six Canadian, including four from Vancouver Island. After separating these into three categories, the shows were literally picked out of a hat and Banks said the result is a very interesting buffet of entertainment.
This year the performances include A Wooden Shoe in Canada by Nick the Entertainer in Chemainus. The show is about a Dutch immigrant who comes to Canada and realizes Canada’s only religion is hockey, among other differences. All songs and monologues in the show are original.
Another show will be put on by a group from Seattle, WA and is called Man Catches Fish. This is a 50-minute show involving comedy, burlesque, shadow puppetry, free seafood recipes and more.
All of the ticket revenues from Fringetastic will go back to the performers.
During the festival the Port Theatre lobby will be transformed into the FRINGEHUB, where people can grab a drink, watch live, local entertainment and record opinions and reviews on a giant chalkboard.
The festival kicks off with Preview the Fringe on Aug 15 at 7 p.m. where people can check out five minute sneak peaks of all the shows at the FRINGEHUB. Ticket prices range from $8 to $12 for each show plus a small surcharge.
Get tickets online, at the Port Theatre or call 250-754-8550.
To check out the shows or get more information visit www.fringetastic.com.