Canadian Delegation to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This August, 2018, five Ontario Presents members joined a Canadian delegation of artists, presenters, and arts professionals to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

This was an incredible opportunity to bring Canadian artists to a world stage, and for Ontario presenters (Jayson Duggan from Kingston, Natalie Lue from Mississauga, Sara Palmieri and Annie Wilson from St. Catharines, and Tammy Fox from Burlington) to see an enormous range of international work. The delegation was made possible by a partnership between Ontario Presents, the Ontario Arts Council, and the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom.

Jayson Duggan in Edinburgh

Jayson Duggan, OP Past President and Performing Arts Manager for the City of Kingston, described the experience as:

"a chaotic, frenetic, caffeine fueled rush from start to finish with thousands of performances to choose from and hundreds of thousands of people crammed into every street and venue of the city.  Edinburgh had completely embraced and warmly welcomed visitors and artists from around the globe. It was an unforgettable experience, the networking opportunities were plentiful and the quality of the work exceeded all expectations. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to view new and exciting International touring productions and I look forward to sharing that information with my OP colleagues."

Thank you to everyone who made this very special project possible - including the Ontario Arts Council, the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom, the artists who shared their work, the international presenters who visited the Canada Hub, our OP delegation of presenters, and the people of Edinburgh.

Ahuri Theatre Pitch

View the Pitch My Piece program here to explore the extraordinary works that were shared by 15 Canadian artists at a dedicated pitch session at the Canada Hub.

Read on for more about this exciting journey from Natalie Lue, CEO of the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga:

"Through the largesse of the Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Presents, I had the privilege of traveling to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of an Arts Presenter delegation. Any preconceived notions and expectations of what we would encounter at the 50th edition of this world-renowned festival of theatre, dance, music, comedy, etc. were more than met!

From the industry registration to the ticket-taking process at any of the 300 venues, it was an incredibly positive, engaging, enlightening, and exhausting experience! To a person, the staff and volunteers, as well as the extremely patient locals, were great ambassadors for this beautiful historic city.The entire city was branded and decorated with Fringe paraphernalia and it created a wonderful atmosphere in which to showcase the over 3,000 shows on offer. 

One of the six days was dedicated to supporting representatives of 15 Canadian artists/companies who were selected to pitch their latest project for potential international touring. Located at the Canada Hub venue, our colleagues were brilliant not only in the quality of their work but the professionalism of their presentations.

This was made possible by the High Commission of Canada in the UK and Ontario Arts Council and I know discussions were had with programmers and presenters from Poland, Australia, Scotland, and more.

That left five days to fit in industry events and as many shows as possible. I got to seven industry meetings and 21 theatre shows and knew I had only skimmed the surface!  As we attended the later part of the festival, I did get shut out of some sold out festival hits. There was so much to take in from the impressive pop-up venue hubs (with names such as Underbelly-Cowgate and ZOO Southside, Assembly Hall versus Assembly Rooms) with their outdoor food and beverage gardens, to the established venues such as Traverse Theatre and Festival Theatre (where the International Festival was taking place at the same time).

Even more impressive was the transformation of every nook and cranny into a Fringe performance space. They even closed down sections of the Royal Mile for Fringe activities.

It was an incredibly invaluable experience and I would like to extend my gratitude to the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Presents, and Judy Harquail for the amazing opportunity.

Needless to say our delegation has amassed an impressive list of shows we’d like to have tour through our communities and we can’t wait to share them with our presenter colleagues."

Photo 1: Jayson Duggan encountering a silent disco parade on an Edinburgh street
Photo 2: Tweet from Assis Carreiro, Cultural Strategist for the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom
Photo 3: Ahuri Theatre pitching their piece, This is the Point, at the Canadian pitch session