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Two is better than one: London Fringe Festival to join Old East Village and Dundas Street festivals together

Credit: FRINGE FESTIVAL STAFF

The London Fringe Festival is an event that fills the streets of London with excitement; it will be taking place from May 31 to June 11.


Emily Stewart | Interrobang | News | March 28th, 2016



Summer is festival season, and London is rich with events. The London Fringe Festival, known for showing unique, small theatre productions and art, is one of the first things Londoners look forward to every summer.

Melissa Tipson-Mohr, the associate producer of the London Fringe Festival, said she got involved with the organization because she appreciates their work.

“They’ve made such an impact with the arts scene in London,” she said. “It’s proven itself to be something that can last.” Around the same time as the London Fringe Festival, there are also some block parties. Traditionally, the Old East Village Street Festival and the Dundas Street Festival would block off different parts of Dundas on separate June weekends. Now, the London Fringe Festival is launching their own block party. Tipson-Mohr explained that they used to host the Dundas Street Festival with Our Street London, but they have gone their separate ways.

“Our Street London is taking the Dundas Street Festival and putting it in September,” she said.

The London Fringe Block Party will work with the Old East Village Street Festival instead for part of their event.

The Fringe Festival also has another spin on a popular Canadian arts event after the sun goes down and the street party ends.

Nuit Blanche in London?

Most people think of Toronto when they hear Nuit Blanche. However, it’s not the only city that has one. Along with the block party and plenty of theatre and artwork, London Fringe also showcases their own version of Nuit Blanche. Kathy Navackas, the executive producer of London Fringe, recognized that even local artists from the Forest City would go to the event in Toronto.

“The thought was, ‘Why are they going to Toronto to do some really cool contemporary art activities? They should be doing those in London. Let’s do one here’.” She added that all of the sights at the event will all be done locally, which is a mandate for the London Fringe Festival. She also said that it will be on a smaller scale in comparison to the Toronto one.

“Unfortunately we do not have their budget, so that makes a huge difference,” Navackas explained.

She said that crossovers between the Nuit Blanches in the Forest City and Toronto all depend on what is submitted.

“I’m sure there are still some local artists that do go and participate in the Toronto Nuit Blanche. We don’t have that so many coming the other direction because of budget. Budget is the big problem.”

Navackas explained that since it fell under the umbrella of the London Fringe Festival budget, the $380,000 also has to go to other programs in addition to Nuit Blanche.

However, performers outside of London, either out of town, out of province or out of country, will perform shows for the theatre portion of the London Fringe Festival.

Calling all artists

London Fringe is looking for artists to apply for the London Fringe Block Party and Nuit Blanche, and Tipson-Mohr said the requirements will be different.

“The London Fringe Block Party I would say is more like a market that will have some performance aspects to it, but it’s mostly for vendors who make their own goods to showcase their art and sell it,” Tipson- Mohr explained. “Nuit Blanche will be a celebration of contemporary art.”

The block party needs artisans, entrepreneurs and crafters who can sell their items such as artwork and jewellery. Tipson-Mohr added that musicians, especially those with more of an acoustic sound, can also apply.

She added that Nuit Blanche is looking for different types of talent, which would be artists who have contemporary performance or interactive art pieces.

Tipson-Mohr said an artist was hired by Forest City Gallery to do sand art for the occasion during the last London Nuit Blanche.

“They actually took stencils and put sand down and would move that, kind of do that the whole day, so it was a way for the audience to watch the art kind of happen.”

Print London also participated in the event, by having templates and asking people to ink the prints. Then, the prints were put together to create “a collaborative piece of artwork”.

Whether you attend the London Fringe Festival, its block party, Nuit Blanche or all events, Tipson-Mohr said that you will be supporting the local arts scene.

“You really can’t get a lot of those local made goods all in one place at one time, so I think it’s just kind of a fun event.”

Navackas added that London’s Nuit Blanche is a unique gem that can be found in downtown every summer.

“There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere that occurs during Nuit Blanche. There’s thousands of people downtown, Dundas Street until one o’clock, two o’clock in the morning just having a wonderful time.”

Mark your calendars

The deadline for the London Fringe Block Party already passed, but you can still join in on the fun. Applications for Nuit Blanche will be accepted until April 30. For more information, visit londonfringe.ca

The London Fringe Festival runs from May 31 until June 11. The London Fringe Block Party will run on June 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Dundas Street and Adelaide Street to Rectory Street, and from Dundas Street between Wellington Road and Talbot Street. After that, Nuit Blanche will take over from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on June 5.
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