Eyes on summer events: Victoria Fringe Festival

The following blog post was written by Graydon Leigh, a political science major at the University of Victoria. Graydon grew up in Port Coquitlam, BC and aspires to be a journalist. He is an avid hockey fan and is honoured to write about volunteerism in the Victoria community.The Victoria Fringe Festival is entering its 26th year of entertaining the public, and you are invited to share in the fun!Comprised of 55 different theatre companies, the Festival takes place over ten days from August 23rd to September 2nd, 2012. I had the privilege of speaking with the event’s volunteer coordinator, Sammie Gough, whose enthusiasm for the event shone with every piece of information she provided.She informed me that a wide variety of performance types will be featured, from stand-up comedians to professional dancers. Talent is in no short supply, setting the stage for a good time to be had by all. Whether you’re already into theatre, or are itching to try something new, the festival has a little something for everyone. Tickets and information for each show can be found online at the Fringe Festival’s official site.The Fringe relies on its 200 volunteers to make the two week event a huge success. The diversity of roles needed in the festival are rewarding and present volunteers with the opportunity to have a total blast.

Tasks will include answering questions asked by patrons, as well as handing out event brochures, buttons, and flyers. Primarily, volunteers are needed to work the box office, where a large amount of attendees are expected to purchase their tickets. The Fringe’s fan base is a fun-loving crowd who holds a distinct passion and love for the offering of talent found at the festival. This feeling is inescapable, making it very infectious for those in attendance during the ten days the event is underway.

If public relations isn’t your thing, perhaps the most unique volunteer opportunity present at the event is for you: volunteers have the ability to assist theatre technicians in the construction of stages. Many non-traditional venues, including churches, are going to be used by festival organizers to stage certain plays and energetic individuals will be needed for stage conversion. This is a prime chance for those interested in stagecraft to gain valuable experience in the field.

The opportunities don’t stop there, as an event dedicated to children, called Fringe Kids, calls for those who have experience working with children to lend a helpful hand. Taking place on Saturday, August 25th, in the market square, Fringe Kids features a bouncy castle and many other kid-friendly activities.

Similarly, students learning English as a second language get to practice their conversational skills with event staff and volunteers. What better way to represent your city and make new friends in the process?

Two free events also offer a unique opportunity to get involved in the Fringe community. The Fringe Square Block Party and Zebra Ball, taking place from 6-9pm on August 21, will require a lot of volunteers to help with the large amount of attendees expected to participate.

If anyone is worried that volunteering at the festival means they will miss some of the shows they are dying to see, have no fear: Fringe bucks are here.

To clarify: volunteers will be rewarded for their efforts with redeemable coupons that entitle them to attend any show they want. More than one Fringe buck can be earned! (Theatre lovers: this is basically a golden ticket!).

If you have any lingering questions you can visit the Fringe Festival’s official website here. If you’ve come to the realization that volunteering with the festival is a blast, you can register over here.


Enjoy the magic, and don’t forget to unleash the performer in you!

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