Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival
The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is an annual alternative theatre festival held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It is held over twelve days and it is common for a small number of shows to be held over past the festival's official end date. The most recent Winnipeg Fringe ran from July 18 to 29, 2012.
Founded in 1988 by the Manitoba Theatre Centre under the directorship of Rick McNair, it is one of Winnipeg's most popular cultural events. The executive producer is currently Chuck McEwen, former director of the Toronto Fringe Festival. The festival takes place in various venues throughout Winnipeg's historic Exchange District. In recent years, total attendance has generally been around or just under 150,000, with paid attendance usually around 30% of that figure (in contrast to less than 10% for some other similar festivals). It features many local groups who may not otherwise have the opportunity to reach an audience, as well as others from all over the globe; for example, the 2005 festival featured performers from France, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and South Africa as well as performers from across Canada and the U.S..
Paid attendance briefly set a record high for North America in 2009 with 81,565 tickets sold, surpassing the then previous record of 77,700 set at the 2006 Edmonton Fringe. However, the Edmonton Fringe festival currently holds the North American record for 2011 with 104,142 tickets sold.
Like its Edmonton counterpart, on which it was largely modeled, but unlike the Edinburgh Fringe, the Winnipeg Fringe provides a number of venues for the performers, including paid technicians as well as volunteer ticket sellers, ushers and other such functionaries. It is also possible - and increasingly popular - for performers to "bring their own venue" by making arrangements with a potential venue other than the ones the festival provides, a process much more similar to that of the Edinburgh fringe.
Many Canadian Fringe Festival artists have enjoyed continued success, based on productions they first mounted at Fringe Festivals. TJ Dawe (The Slip-Knot), Charles Ross (One Man Star Wars), Ribbit Productions (BoyGroove), and Monster Theatre (The Canada Show), have all performed over several years in Winnipeg.
Following three key principles the Fringe Festival continues focus solely on its performers :
1. Festival is non-juried
2. Artists have freedom to present whatever they want on stage.
3. 100% of the box office goes directly to the artists. 
- Melissa Martin, "We asked ... Chuck McEwen", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 July 2008.
- "The Fringe Factory cranks out record attendance!", 27 July 2009.