Fringe Fest About More Than Theatre

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Those who think Winnipeg's premier alternative theatre festival is only about actors and lighting cues need to spend more time at Old Market Square this month. This year, the 16th annual Winnipeg Fringe Festival - running July 14 to 25 with the theme Night of the Living Fringe - is set to strengthen its reputation for presenting some of the best local music on its nightly free stage in the Exchange District.

The Fringe, which had its inception in 1988 and has since become one of the most respected festivals of its kind in Canada, presents live theatre in an informal, accessible and inexpensive environment. It strives to break down traditional boundaries between audience and artist, encouraging open dialogue between theatre-goers and theatre-creators.

The Fringe also strives to enliven Old Market Square, known as "Fringe Central," where Fringe-goers, theatre companies, and volunteers all gather. The Square includes food and merchandise vendors, a beer garden, and the popular live stage which sees a wide variety of performances. At night, the stage is taken over by some of Manitoba's hottest bands.

This year, audiences will be able to catch sets by rockers Quinzy, Tele, Vanderveen, Driver, and Steeple Chaser. Funky urban outfit Mystery Formula will also be featured, along with Aboriginal genre-smashers Burnt, folk-pop singer/songwriter Cat Jahnke, and Japanese drumming troupe Fubuki Daiko.

This year's Fringe is being hyped as the biggest ever, with over 130 companies putting on productions at 24 venues in Winnipeg's historic Exchange District.

For more information about the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, including schedules of both theatre and live music, check out

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