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Ingrid Hansen in 'Insterstellar Elder' by SNAFU. Photo: Jam Hamidi.

Ottawa Fringe Festival quietly announces the 2018 show program—06.13.18 to 06.24.18

By Greggory Clark on May 25, 2018

Greggory Clark is an Apt613 staff member, volunteer contributor, and part-time communication consultant for Arts Court Theatre, an Ottawa Fringe Festival venue hub.

Ingrid Hansen in a promo shot for ‘Interstellar Elder’. Photo: Laura Dittmann.

New plays by Pierre Brault, jem rolls, SNAFU, and Dead Unicorn Ink are in the 2018 Ottawa Fringe Festival program.

NAC Presents, CityFolk, and The Gladstone Theatre weren’t the only ones to announce big lineups this month. Ottawa Fringe quietly announced 57 shows playing in the obscure theatre festival, June 13–24 this year.

Nobody curates the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Instead, Ottawa’s open access theatre fest is programmed by a completely random lottery. Many of the shows you can see at Fringe have been created by independent artists who, by chance, saw their names pulled from a bingo wheel.

Others scored a festival slot by way of the Bring-Your-Own-Venue rule, which is intended for artists creating site-specific theatre, and those who did not win the lottery—but in true fringe spirit, choose to mount a show anyways. This year’s BYOV spaces include the Arts Court Library, SAW Video’s Knot Project Space, the National Arts Centre Rossy Pavilion, and LIVE! On Elgin. The latter is a curious addition in recent years, given the Fringe Festival’s emphasis on accessibility. Regrettably, the Elgin Street venue is at the top of a narrow flight of stairs.

Inside LIVE! On Elgin at the 2017 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Photo: Greggory Clark/Apt613.

Though some shows have been touring the Fringe circuit for years, picking up 5-star reviews and Best of Fest awards along the way, many of these are new works, conceived some time between the December lottery event and opening night in June. Almost every other show in this 2018 program is a new work premiering in Ottawa.

Bill Pats, an Apt613 Reviewers’ Pick runner-up in 2017 (Best Performance), is returning with his new show A Nightmare on East Hastings, an autobiographical comedy about his “misadventures” managing residential properties in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, “Canada’s most notorious neighbourhood.”

Visit ottawafringe.com to see show listings for all of the 2018 Ottawa Fringe Festival shows. Print programs are usually available before June, so keep an eye on @ottawafringe for a list of distributors TBA.

Watch this space: Between now and Preview Night, June 13, our theatre reviewers and guest contributors will make show their picks.


The 22nd Ottawa Fringe Festival runs from June 13–24, 2018 at downtown venues including Arts Court, La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins and the University of Ottawa. 4-show packs cost $48 and are available online. Door Passes cost $55–99 (5–10 shows). Single tickets cost $12 at the door or $12 plus a $2 processing fee online.

Except for processing fees, all box office revenue goes to the artists. N.B. The one-time purchase of a $3 Fringe Pin is required to buy tickets. That $3 goes toward supporting the Festival. Visit www.ottawafringe.com for box office info.