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Edmonton Fringe Festival

Founded in 1982, the Edmonton Fringe festival was the first and largest fringe theatre festival in North America. The festival promoted the idea of free expression, meaning that both emerging and established artists were given free rein to produce plays regardless of content or style, and censorship was thrown to the wayside. Initially, the Edmonton Fringe hosted five venues to an audience of 7,000, today this has grown to over 120 shows staged in numerous facilities. Fringe festivals can now be found in many major cities across Canada, the United States and internationally.

Edmonton Fringe FestivalThe original fringe festival was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, from another festival, the International Festival. Launched in 1947, as a post-war initiative meant to increase culture in Europe, the International Festival spawned the development of the Fringe, a diverse, sometimes controversial mix of performances. Six Scottish and two English companies decided to turn up at the International Festival, perform, fend for themselves, and feed off the audience generated by the festival. The independently attending companies at the International Festival were successful, and thus a new festival, the Fringe, was started.

Edmonton Fringe FestivalThe Edmonton version of the festival runs in August and features programs ranging from comedy to politics, adventures, musicals and traditional theatre. All the revenue generated goes to the artists themselves. During the Fringe, part of the Old Strathcona area is blocked off in order to serve as a temporary facility. While a wide range of shows are offered throughout each day, one can also walk through the outdoor attractions such as music, street performers, psychic readers, beer tents and vendors. 

Over 1,400 individuals volunteer from the community each year, many working year-round to ensure the festival's success.

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