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Ottawa Fringe Festival: Three Things You Need to Know!

June 22, 2023

From June 15-25, Ottawa’s Original Downtown will be hosting Ottawa Fringe Festival, one of the most exciting and boundary-breaking festivals that the city has to offer. If you have a taste for performance art untethered by almost all pre-conceived ideas of what constitutes live theatre, you can’t afford to miss this year’s edition of the festival!

From former flight attendants to paramedics to circus acts and everything in between, Ottawa Fringe Festival offers anyone and everyone the opportunity to share their experiences and connect with audiences in unique and innovative ways. Read on to discover more about how the Fringe Festival is ready to become the highlight of the summer for theatre lovers across Ottawa!

What is Fringe?

Ottawa Fringe Festival has been a staple of the local theatre community since its first inception in 1997. Since then, the festival has remained steadfast in its mission to allow performers to showcase their works and inspire artists and audiences to have the courage to make their artistic visions a reality.

In order to reflect these values and ensure greater parity in the levels of skill and experience at the festival, aspiring performers are chosen via a lottery that selects who will be on the bill. This ensures that a healthy mix of emerging and established performers share the stage and contribute to a truly unique viewing experience!

A performer gestures to the crowd at Ottawa Fringe Festival.
Ottawa Fringe Festival is an exhilarating showcase of performance art from local artists and those from abroad.

What is there to see at Fringe?

With these standards in place, it should come as no surprise that Fringe sports a wide variety of events and programming that are as diverse and forward-thinking as they are entertaining. Whether you’ve just finished drinking your Moscow Mule at Avant-Garde Bar or shopping for Spicy Crayfish-flavoured potato chips at Mergi Shop, you can rest assured that a trip to Fringe Festival will be a worthy addition to your quest to discover all things quirky and unusual in Ottawa’s Original Downtown!

Everything from murder mysteries to dark comedies will grace the many stages of Fringe Festival, with performers from all walks of life making appearances. And if that’s not enough, you can always enjoy additional FREE activities such as oversized board games, karaoke, a silent disco and much more!

A sword swallower performs at Ottawa Fringe Festival.
Sword swallowing is one of many types of live performances showcased at Fringe.

I need help when I’m at the festival!

Are you someone who requires extra assistance or accommodation when experiencing the thrills of Ottawa’s Original Downtown? Fringe Festival is ready to serve you! Over the years, the organizers of Fringe have gone to great lengths to make the festival as accessible as possible.

Neurodivergent audiences are free to enjoy Sensory-Friendly Performances that are designed with their needs in mind. Visually-impaired attendees can make use of Audio Described and Open Caption accommodations for may performances, and hearing-impaired audiences can attend performances with Assistive Listening and ASL Interpretation. No matter who you are, everyone who attends Fringe will be able to connect with the stories and experiences shared on stage!

Make sure you make your way down to the Arts Court on Daly Avenue this week to catch the performances at Ottawa Fringe Festival! Tickets start at $12 and can be purchased online or at the door; more information about admission can be found here. Longtime theatre fans and newcomers alike are sure to leave Fringe with a deep appreciation for the thriving theatre scene that can only be found in Ottawa’s Original Downtown! Be sure to also visit our blog to stay on top all the exciting events happening in the Rideau area!

A trio of performers in action at Ottawa Fringe Festival.
Everyone is made to feel as welcome as possible while attending Ottawa Fringe Festival!

Worried about where you are going to park? Click here for a handy tool to find all the parking options and rates in the downtown!

Check out our Events page for a complete list of events in Ottawa’s Original Downtown!