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undercurrents: Theatre Below the Mainstream is now at Arts Court Theatre, managed by Ottawa Fringe Festival. It is, by all reports from the Festival Launch last night, going to be bigger and better than ever. The transition of the Festival from GCTC to the Ottawa Fringe has been a successful experiment in inter-organizational planning, resulting in an exciting lineup of local, national and (yes!) international shows.
I have had the pleasure of production managing undercurrents in the Studio at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre over the past three years. Under the active eye of Patrick Gauthier, we’ve seen the Festival grow larger every year as we, in turn, have challenged ourselves to create the Festival. Developing from the ground up, undercurrents has grown beyond the walls of the Studio into lobby shows, production paperwork has become perfected and polished, and the calibre of incoming indie productions has improved dramatically every year. At the end of this learning curve are a few fun facts: this pokey little festival is poised for growth, it has a real following in our local and national communities, and it represents an exciting training-ground for existing and developing works of theatre.
At Arts Court, managed by Ottawa Fringe and still in the capable hand of Patrick, this will not change. There are, as always, challenges ahead. undercurrents will, in all estimations, juxtapose the usual activities at Arts Court – recognized commonly as the central hub of the Ottawa Fringe itself, an enormous first-come-first-serve theatre festival mounted in the ripe weeks of the Ottawan summer. undercurrents: Theatre Below the Mainstream, on the other hand, is a small curated shock of carefully selected pieces, inserted in the coldest and most hostile time of the year. Arts Court administration, production and creative departments will shift gears and entire mental states to ensure these programs complement each other throughout the entire year, a daunting task taken up by few theatre companies (most of which produce seasonally). Between these two important projects, the Ottawa Fringe team will address opportunities to share resources, negotiate how to cross-saturate audiences and work proactively to ensure the continuity and progress of independent theatre. I am looking forward to watching this unfold – it will be an exciting time to be an active member of the theatre community this year.
For more information on undercurrents click here. http://www.undercurrentsfestival.ca/
The wheel will not be reinvented, it just has new tires. Time to kick them.