A sure sign of summer, Saskatoon’s PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival kicked off Thursday and Robert Wyma, executive director with the 25th St. Theatre and festival producer says the Fringe serves as a gateway festival for local artists.
“We’ve seen great artists come through—first time acts—do the festival here in Saskatoon and go on to tour the country,” said Wyma.
“We really build an opportunity for local artists to put their art in front of a Saskatoon crowd and if they want, they can take it on to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver. It’s part of what we do for the theatrical ecosystem here in Saskatchewan,” he said.
Alongside giving local artists a shot to go national it also gives international artist a chance at the Canadian stage.
“It’s as important to do what we do for the locals, as it is to bring the internationals in and create a Canadian opportunity for people from far away,” said Wyma.
Quality over Quantity
Although the Fringe is expecting 40,000 visitors during its run from Aug. 2 to Aug. 11, Wyma said the Fringe has been reducing its size in an attempt to ensure all plays are well attended.
“We’ve reduced the size of the festival over the last five-years to try an increase the average audience in the venues and that’s been very successful,” said Wyma. “We call it the best little Fringe in Canada and Saskatoon audiences really embrace that connected, intimate environment.”
He continued, “For us, large is not what we try to do, we try to do it really well … we focus on creating a quality experiences both for the audience and for the artist.”