Fringe Festival unveils 2011 theme – Fringeopolis!

“All great works of art come from the Metropolis,” Edmonton Fringe Festival Executive Director Julian Mayne quoted American poet Ezra Pound before introducing this year’s Fringe Festival title at a press conference today – Fringeopolis.

The motif on the poster that was unveiled is a definite homage to the 1926 Fritz Lang futuristic dystopian movie Metropolis (not to mention the very name of the festival itself). The festival is also marking its 30th anniversary. Imagine: The Fringe is now old enough to be that guy who never moved out of his parent’s basement.

Fringeopolis is a return of an annual tradition of including the actual word “Fringe” in the title: A tradition started by Fringe founder Brian Paisley some 30 years ago (2007’s License to Fringe being the last time). In keeping with the theme, Fringe Theatre Adventures invites all earthlings to become citizens of Fringeopolis by signing up free here (I saw no sign of an immigration board to hamper the process). Citizens will enjoy a multitude of benefits, including a Citizen of Fringeopolis button; free transit with ETS during the festival; invitiation to a pre-festival Citizen Night; a 10% discount on all Fringeopolis merchandise; ticket pre-sale opportunities and insider info via Citizen Alert emails. Add a $20 donation and a citizen is automatically promoted to “Builder” status. It comes with all of the citizen perks, but also adds a free Fringeopolis poster and program.

Fringeopolis will host 108 plays in 11 venues this year. The Bring You Own Venue (BYOB) component of the festival will host 76 plays in 32 venues (up from 62 plays in 28 venues in 2010).

Last year – in addition to selling over 93,000 tickets (and breaking attendance records) – the Fringe sold out of its Frequent Fringer and Double Fringer passes in the first 24 hours of availablity. The festival promised the return of such Fringe favorites as Eric de Waal and Marty Chan. No doubt David Belke and Stewart Lemoine will be returning at their respective BYOB venues.

And like the movie Metropolis, the festival – running Aug 12-22 – needs teeming multitudes of minions to grease the machinery of the event. Interested parties are encouraged to apply online at the Fringe here, or call 780.448.9000 for details. In return, volunteers receive a bag of swag and a chance to make some really good memories for the future.

Fringeopolis – Become a Citizen from Fringeopolis on Vimeo.