Theatre

Inglewood’s Fringe Festival is loaded with eclectic onstage antics

Summer in Calgary has already been full of all sorts of festivals and events to enjoy and there’s still more to come, but none arguably more exciting than the 17th annual Calgary Fringe Festival.

Returning to its longtime home in historic Inglewood, the eight-day festival runs Aug. 4 to 12 with a diverse lineup packed with local and international comedy, drama, music, mystery and more. It may be cliche but it’s true: there’s something for everyone at this renowned festival. 

While the concept of the festival was born in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland, there are now more than 200 Fringe Festivals worldwide, including right here in Calgary. The Edmonton version of the event usually draws more than 800,000 attendees yearly as the second-largest Fringe Festival in North America. 

If you missed out on Edmonton’s festival or wanted to chase more of that eclectic vibe, you’ll find everything you need in Inglewood throughout the week. Fringe Festivals are known for being uncensored and unpredictable, but that’s what makes them so enjoyable.

Don’t forget to pick up your Fringe button for $5 either online or at the Fringe Festival box office in Inglewood. The button is required to attend performances but proceeds go towards helping the non-profit organization run. 

Most performances run around an hour, give or take, and tickets are around $20 (and many shows offer pay-what-you-want options) with the proceeds going directly to the artists. 

Whether you’re checking out local favourites or international treasures, you’re sure to find all sorts of laughs, cries and more with a variety of performances to choose from. 

With so many shows to navigate, to get you started on your Fringe Festival adventures we wanted to share five that we are excited about. 

Beyond Belief by Paul Sussman at Lantern Community Church (San Francisco)

How can those other people believe such crazy shit? Look in the mirror before you mock! Join Paul on a delusional, hilarious, mind-bending (and true!) trip through childhood premonitions of catastrophes, learning to love God in a dungeon, an LSD-induced love triangle and more. 

Saturday, Aug. 5, 8 p.m. 

Sunday, Aug. 6, 4 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 7, 6 p.m. 

Tuesday, Aug. 8, 8 p.m. 

Thursday, Aug. 10, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 12, 4 p.m. 

Mail Ordered by Shanice Stanislaus at Festival Hall (Singapore)

The “Pick of the Fringe” from the 2022 Vancouver Fringe Festival is coming to Calgary! Lila, a village girl, arrives in Canada, looking for a husband who’s just her type — any man who can buy her for $100,000. Featuring a cast from Singapore and Calgary, this interactive comedy delivers hilarious Asian melodrama tropes and parodies. 

Friday, Aug. 4, 5:45 p.m. 

Sunday, Aug. 6, 1:45 p.m. 

Monday, Aug. 7, 7:45 p.m. 

Tuesday, Aug. 8, 5:45 p.m. (pay what you want) 

Thursday, Aug. 10, 5:45 p.m. (pay what you want) 

Saturday, Aug. 12, 7:45 pm

Date Night by Sunflower Collective Theatre at Festival Hall (Calgary)

What does it mean to be loveable? This interactive, semi-improvised play is about dating, caring and mental illness in today’s world. You are invited on a romantic date between the performer, you, and all your fellow Fringers – where you’ll navigate the awkwardness and joy of second dates, secrets and the intimacy of telling someone who you really are behind the dating profile. Go out with me?

Gameshow 33

Saturday, Aug. 5, 7:45 p.m. (pay what you want) 

Sunday, Aug. 6, 3:45 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 7, 5:45 p.m. (pay what you want) 

Tuesday, Aug. 8, 7:45 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 10, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 11, 5:45 p.m.

Gameshow 33 by The Kinkonauts at Festival Hall (Calgary)

The Late Night Fringe show classic is back, with a twist. Join our beloved roommates in their apartments as they struggle through a gauntlet of challenging games designed to test their strength, agility, knowledge and wits. Would you be able to rise to the call of audience participation? Will you cheer yourself hoarse rooting for our Fringe Artists’ guests? Who will rise and who will fall? Who will feed the Fish, and who will pay the rent? Find out at Gameshow 33. 

Friday, Aug. 4, 9:45 p.m. 

Saturday, Aug. 5, 9:45 p.m. 

Friday, Aug. 11, 9:45 p.m. 

Saturday, Aug. 12, 9:45 p.m. 

Drag Me Kicking and Screaming by Aida Cupcake Presents at ATCO Performing Arts Centre (Calgary)

What are the reasons to not pursue musical theatre? To not follow your heart? And what happens despite all your worst efforts? A big, campy finale! Drag Me Kicking and Screaming will draw you in and lift you up. 

Saturday, Aug. 5, 8 p.m. 

Sunday, Aug. 6, 2 p.m. (pay what you want) 

Tuesday, Aug. 8, 8 p.m. 

Thursday, Aug. 10, 8 p.m.  

Friday, Aug. 11, 8 p.m.

Calgary Fringe Festival runs from Aug. 4 to 12 at various locations in and around Inglewood. For a complete schedule and more information please go to calgaryfringe.ca.