Calgary Fringe Festival
The earliest Fringe-type drama festival in Calgary was the Plan B Festival, held in 2000 at a variety of locations in both Calgary's downtown and the neighbouring community of Inglewood. The Plan B Festival arose after the 2000 Calgary Fringe Festival was cancelled due to administrative difficulties, and involved (and was organized by) many of the same artists that were originally planning on partaking in the aborted Fringe. Calgary Artist/Activist Patricia Anne Duquette, on behalf of Green Fools Physical Theatre Co., coordinated a massive community effort to rescue the festival with the additional aims of setting a precedent for future fundraising efforts. Approximately 5,000 people attended the adhoc presentations and events over the course of five days, establishing an overwhelming show of interest among Calgarians. The first official Fringe festivals in Calgary took place in 2001 and 2002, organized primarily by the Loose Moose Theatre company, and based entirely in the inner-city neighbourhood of Inglewood. These were short, three-day festivals, held the weekend after the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. However, after the completion of the 2002 festival, Loose Moose lost their lease on the Garry Theatre, and were thus unable to produce the Fringe in subsequent years.
A new license to produce a Fringe in Calgary was secured from the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals in 2005 by a new team headed by Blair Gallant and Jason Rothery, and a new Fringe was held in the summer of 2006. Many elements have changed from the earlier Fringes, including time, scope and locations. The Fringe is now a full-length 10-day Fringe, and is situated in the calendar with the first weekend overlapping with the end of the Saskatoon and Minneapolis Fringes, and the second weekend overlapping with the start of the Edmonton Fringe—a number of shows were performed at both Fringes, either closing in Calgary early or opening in Edmonton late. In addition to the theatrical performances (greatly increased to 36 from the roughly dozen in the 01 and 02 Fringes), the 2006 Calgary Fringe included street performances and vendors (typical for a Fringe) as well as a film festival, visual arts displays and live music (less common). The 2006 Calgary Fringe was held at a number of venues; the festival elements, film, visual art and music were held on 17th Avenue in the Beltline district, with the theatrical performances split between the nearby Calgary Opera rehearsal hall and the more distant EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, located in the downtown. The sanctuary and fellowship hall of the Lantern Church are two of the four main venues for Calgary Fringe Festival performances.