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Vancouver Fringe Festival

Bran Don Law at the Fringe Festival

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is a performing arts festival. It takes place at theatres and other venues on Granville Island and around Vancouver in September.

In 2023 the festival ran from September 7th until the 17th. The festival is back on in 2024 but with exact dates to be confirmed.


For tickets and full details about the shows, see the Vancouver Fringe Festival‘s website.


The Vancouver Fringe Theatre Festival

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is a multi-day event showcasing a wide range of theatrical works. It’s hosted by the Vancouver Fringe Theatre Society which is a non-profit charitable organization. The organization’s mission is to produce “Theatre for Everyone.”


In this article you’ll find information about the following topics:

About the Vancouver FringeFringe Admission PricesVancouver Fringe ShowsAbout Fringe Theatre | Vancouver Fringe VideoVancouver Fringe VenuesTips & AdviceOther Information

Click on any of the above links, or scroll down for all the information.


Vancouver Fringe Festival
Vancouver Fringe Festival in 2023 (Photos by Michael Levy)


About the Vancouver Fringe

The Vancouver Fringe Festival, or early variations of it, has been running since the mid-1980s. Today the festival involves hundreds of volunteers and performances, and tens of thousands of attendees each year.

At the Vancouver Fringe “everyone is welcome.” This applies to both audience members and performers.

The selection process for performances involves drawing names out of a hat and giving all applying artists an equal chance to participate. This means actors and their shows range from fairly novice to professional, and from semi-questionable to exceptional.

The quality of the average show at the Vancouver Fringe is surprisingly high. This is evident by the fact that the festival is frequently voted the city’s top arts festival by the Georgia Straight newspaper.

If you go to a Fringe Festival performance, you’ll likely be impressed and have a fabulous time!


For tickets and full details about the shows, visit vancouverfringe.com.


Obit Play at Vancouver Fringe Festival
Fringe Performer on Performance Works Stage


Fringe Admission Prices

Admission to Fringe Festival shows is very reasonably-priced. This is great and keeps the event accessible.


Regular Ticket Prices

Regular tickets for Vancouver Fringe Festival shows start at $15 each. Organizers encourage everyone to book online.


Fringe Membership Fees

In addition to the ticket price for each performance, attendees need to purchase a membership to the Vancouver Fringe Theatre Society. The cost of a membership is $10. This is a very reasonable price which helps to offset the costs of the festival.

Important Note: You must present your Fringe Membership at each performance. Failure to do so requires the purchase of an additional Fringe Membership for $10.


For tickets and full details about the shows, see the Vancouver Fringe Festival‘s website.


Cry-Baby Fringe Musical


Special Rates

$15 per show is inexpensive for live theatre, but Fringe tickets are sometimes obtainable even cheaper than that in the form of Multi-Buy passes. They are for people who love theatre and want to attend multiple shows. They come in groups of five, 10 and 25 shows, are available in limited quantities and frequently sell out.

2023 Multi-Buy rates were as follows:

  • Five Show Pass – $68
  • 10 Show Pass – $132
  • 25 Show Pass – $320


For tickets and full details about the shows, visit vancouverfringe.com.


2021 Fringe Festival
2021 Festival Shows and Actors


Vancouver Fringe Shows

The Vancouver Fringe Festival typically features 100 or so different productions offering as many as 700 performances each season. Each show is different, with some featuring a single actor or actress. Others have casts of over a dozen people plus support folks in the background.

Fringe Festival productions include musicals, stand-up comics, serious subject matter, slapstick, storytelling, dark comedy, dance and all kinds of creativity. Some are political, some touch on serious topics and some are just pleasantly silly.


Paranormal at the Fringe Festival
Paranormal in 2023


The 2023 Lineup

Below is a list of a dozen shows that ran in 2023. These were not even close to all of the shows (there were around 90 to choose from). It’s just a sample.

  • A Magic Show – Jordan Rooks performed a family-friendly magic show about his life and more for one hour (at Revue Stage).
  • Anne Geddes: The Unauthorized, Untrue Biography – an un-fact-checked comedy show about the world’s most famous baby photographer (at Carousel Theatre).
  • Brunch: A Comedy Show – a sketch show with feminist humour written and directed by Vancouver-based Kerri Donaldson and Allie Entwistle (at Carousel Theatre).
  • Femmillennial – a dance show choreographed by Kylie Thompson that explored women’s roles in society, femininity and more (at Waterfront Theatre).
  • Fringe4All – a one-day special event on September 6th that featured a quick preview of artists performing in this past year’s festival (at Performance Works).
  • Grease, Too! – a musical comedy that combined the joy and laughter of Grease and Grease 2 (at Studio 16).
  • How To Be Japanese: Your Normal Is Not My Normal – the world premiere of Miyo Yamauchi’s new comedy show full of stories and wry humour (at Carousel Theatre).
  • Long Night of the American Dream – a two-person play by Concrete Drops Theatre about a tired nation (at Revue Stage).
  • MONSTER – a musical production by Direct Theatre Collective about the story of Medusa (at Revue Stage).
  • Orchestra of Sound – a multi-media musical featuring common sounds and instruments made from junk (at Waterfront Theatre).
  • ParaNorma Pl – a funny theatre production about a private investigator with supernatural abilities (at Leap Creative Studios).
  • TrudeauMania – a theatre production about the life of Pierre Trudeau with original music and dance (at Waterfront Theatre).


For the full list of shows and more details, visit vancouverfringe.com.


Orchestra of Sound
Orchestra of Sound in 2023


Fringe Festival Tips & Advice

Below are some tips to help you make the most of your Fringe theatre choices.

TIP #1: To learn about each show, check the Festival Guide on the Vancouver Fringe website. It lists times, venues, show lengths and descriptions.

TIP #2: Read the show descriptions carefully. Words like “weird,” “LGBTQ+,” “intense,” “18+,” “family-friendly,” “poetic,” “intellectual,” “violent content” and “silly” are good indicators of what to expect.

TIP #3: When you go to a performance ask the people around you if they’ve seen any other shows and what they recommend.

TIP #4: Recognize that everyone is different and what’s entertaining or impressive theatre for some isn’t necessarily for others. At the Fringe Festival there is definitely something for everyone!


Vancouver Fringe Festival Bar
Fringe Festival Bar


About Fringe Theatre

Fringe Theatre takes place around the world and performances it features are, by definition, “on the fringe.” This means they are “alternative” and not what you’d normally find on Broadway. The theatre productions at the festival are generally of high quality, but not infrequently with experimental or “unique” subject matter or style.

The world’s largest and original Fringe Festival is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland which has been running since 1947.

In Canada there are around 24 different Fringe Festivals across the country running between late May and mid-September. Quebec’s Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montréal typically hosts the first festival of the season each year and Vancouver hosts the last.

Some theatre groups participate in multiple Fringe Festivals and tour the country with their productions, and others just perform in their home towns.


Vancouver Fringe Video

Below is a short video showcasing some of the sights and scenes of the Vancouver Fringe Festival from 2019.



Actors featured in the above video include performers from the shows Bushel and Peck, Szeretlek: A Hungarian Love Story, Beaver Dreams, Blue River Blues, Draining the Swamp, and Bombay Black. Others featured are OBIT: A Deathly Serious Comedy, The Adventures of Rocketman and Beano, Interstellar Elder, Stupid Cupid, I Am for You, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Good Game in “Gung Ho!,” Brain Machine and ‘Tween Earth and Sky.


Vancouver Fringe Venues

Vancouver Fringe Festival performances take place at a number of different venues. Most are on Granville Island, but a few are in other areas around downtown Vancouver.

Some theatres and venues that participated in the Vancouver Fringe Festival in 2023 are listed below.

  • Arts Umbrella – an education centre for young artists with a 132-seat theatre at 1400 Johnston Street.
  • Carousel Theatre – located at 1411 Cartwright Street, this theatre offers an extensive program for young audiences throughout the year.
  • Leap Creative Studios – an impressive design studio near Granville Island at 1675 West 2nd Avenue.
  • Performance Works – a 200-seat theatre and multi-purpose venue at 1218 Cartwright Street.
  • Revue Stage – at 198-seat theatre at 1601 Johnston Street (which is the same street as the Granville Island Public Market).
  • Ron Basford Park – located at 1218 Cartwright Street (right next to Performance Works), with an ampitheatre used for various performances.
  • Picnic Pavillion – an outdoor public picnic area at 267 Old Bridge Walk.
  • Studio 16 – located at 1555 West 7th Avenue, the La Maison de la Francophonie de Vancouver hall seats up to 100 people.
  • The NEST – a “black-box” 50- to 100-seat performance and multi-purpose hall at 1398 Cartwright Street.
  • Waterfront Theatre – a 224-seat theatre at 1412 Cartwright Street.


Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island
Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island


More Tips & Advice

Below is a list of additional suggestions and information that will help audience members make the most of their Vancouver Fringe Festival experiences.

TIP #1: Tickets are available at the door, but many shows do sell out, especially the most popular ones and half-price shows. Buy your tickets early!

TIP #2: Don’t forget your Fringe Membership card. You’ll need it for every performance (unless you want to donate an additional $10 to the festival for a second membership).

TIP #3: Out of respect for the actors and other audience members, be sure to arrive in plenty of time to find parking and get settled well before the show begins.

TIP #4: On or around the first night of the festival, there’s the “Fringe-For-All” opening night event where about 40% of so of the festival’s performances each have a two-minute opportunity to present their shows. The event is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of the Fringe and to decide which shows you’d like to see in full version.


2023 Vancouver Fringe Festival

Scenes from the 2023 Fringe Festival


Other Information

To learn more about the Vancouver Fringe, see the official Vancouver Fringe Festival website.

For more information about theatre in the Lower Mainland, click Vancouver Theatre or the Shows & Events Calendar.

For ideas about other things to do while visiting a Fringe show, click Granville Island or check out Vancouver’s Calendar of Events.

And for a comprehensive list of major festivals and events throughout the year, see the Festivals & Events Calendar.