If you’re a playwright, there are all kinds of obstacles between you and a successful production: Budget, promotion and finding a venue, to name a few.
She also points to what may be the most crucial advantage of all, a forgiving audience. “That’s a huge thing for a city’s theatre scene to have.”
And it turns out that the ripple effect of this trifecta — a breeding ground for scripts, a safety net for risk-taking and an audience eager to celebrate both — are felt throughout Edmonton’s theatre season, too — long after the Fringe packs up towards the end of August.
Some rising stars who have built their profiles on the Fringe circuit are able to parlay that success into bigger venues.
“In most parts of North America, putting on a new show is considered a risk,” says Belke, whose historical romp Flight of the Viscount debuts in May. “But in Edmonton, audiences embrace new work. Playwrights actually develop followings in this city. That is hugely unusual.