Nanaimo Fringe Festival artistic managing producer Bryony Dixon, board of directors chairwoman Brianna Hamilton and associate artistic producer Tamara McCarthy (from left) live-streamed their Nanaimo Fringe Festival draw from Kitties and Cream café on April 2. (Facebook video screenshot)

Artist lineup announced for this year’s Nanaimo Fringe Festival

Organizers hope to offer both indoor, outdoor and live-streamed performances

Nanaimo Fringe Festival organizers have made their picks for this year’s festival.

On April 2, Nanaimo Fringe artistic managing producer Bryony Dixon, board chair Brianna Hamilton and associate artistic producer Tamara McCarthy live-streamed their artist draw from Kitties and Cream café in the Old City Quarter.

Due to travel restrictions, submissions were only open to provincial artists and in the end three from Nanaimo and one each from Vancouver and Victoria were pulled at random from a tin box.

Representing Nanaimo are Evil Boy Theatre, which will present its “cat and mouse” crime thriller Confessions of a Spooky Mind; Kalimur Productions’ Mopalot, a musical romantic comedy about hotel cleaning staff and set in their break room; and The Jones Paradox, a mockumentary interview mash-up by A Wee Band of Crones.

Michael Ross from Vancouver will present his one-man comedy magic show Merlin Cosmos Live from Club Cludgy and Victoria’s Human Body Project will stage Schmope, a “part workshop, part TED talk, part ‘happening'” performed in the nude.

Dixon said those show descriptions are subject to change, noting that “it’s pretty out-there with what they can do. They’re uncensored so they can really come up with anything at this point.”

The selected artists will join six from last year’s festival who chose to defer to this year since COVID-19 either forced them to cancel or alter their productions.

Returning from last year are local performers Willem Roelants, Connor Runnings and Daniel Puglas, recipient of the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre artist sponsorship. Last year’s audience Pick of the Fringe winner David Heyman of Victoria will also appear, as well as Andrew Fraser from Victoria and Colette Theresa from Vancouver.

The 11th annual Nanaimo Fringe Festival is scheduled to take place from Aug. 12 to 22. Dixon said she hopes to offer indoor performances for limited in-person audiences in venues equipped for live-streaming, as well as outdoor productions in and around the Old City Quarter.

If COVID-19 restrictions do not allow for such gatherings, Dixon said organizers are “well positioned” to pivot to an online festival like last year.

“Having been digital before we’ll just go back to that again but we’re optimistically planning for being able to do a hybrid of those things,” she said.

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