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'Find Your Fringe': Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival reveals its 2024 theme

Fringe Theatre Executive Director Megan Dart (left) and Artistic Director Murray Utas (right) announce the 2024 Fringe Festival theme on May 17, 2024. (Matt Marshall/CTV News Edmonton) Fringe Theatre Executive Director Megan Dart (left) and Artistic Director Murray Utas (right) announce the 2024 Fringe Festival theme on May 17, 2024. (Matt Marshall/CTV News Edmonton)
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New year, new theme: Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival will return in August for its 43rd edition of the summer festival, complete with a new theme.

EIFTF announced its 43rd annual festival theme on Friday – "Find Your Fringe." The theme is inspired by Fringe-goers who seek those special Fringe moments that make you laugh, drop your jaw in awe and who love the theatre experience.

When asked about this year's theme, Megan Dart, the Fringe Theatre executive director, told CTV News Edmonton what stands out in her time at the festival.

"My favorite thing is always finding that "laugh so hard you cry" moment where a show takes you by surprise – you were sitting in a sold out audience and you have tears streaming down your face and you realize that you just had this most exceptional experience," Dart said.

This year, EIFTF will spotlight more than 200 theatre productions across 38 venues, with performances by more than 1,600 local and international artists in the Old Strathcona neighborhood – all that with the delectable smell of green onion cakes in the air.

On March 18, the EIFTF launched a fundraiser campaign called "Sustain Fringe" to combat rising costs and a decrease in funding, asking its fans and supporters for monthly donations to help keep the festival afloat.

Since then, the Sustain Fringe campaign grew its monthly donors from 34 to 290, bringing in nearly $100,000 in donations. The festival hopes to raise $300,000 by the end of this year's festival.

Aside from donating monthly, Fringers can help reach the festival's goal by purchasing 50/50 tickets for a chance to win $10,000 – sponsoring the festival also helps with the cause.

EIFTF previously canceled the 2020 festival due to pandemic concerns, losing $3 million for the organization in the process.

Murray Utas, the artistic director of EIFTF, said that while Fringe continues to have a difficult time making up the shortfall of losing that year of the festival, this year's number do provide some hope of relief.

"There are artists that used to make a ton of appearances at our festival – we've just sort of noticed them starting to return and I feel like now we're seeing most of them on their way back ready to tell stories again," Murray said.

"I think that's a really positive sign. We're making our way through but stories always seem to find their way back."

The festival will return to the Old Strathcona neighbourhood from Aug. 15 - 25. Fringe-goers can purchase their 2024/25 Fringe Theatre Season pass here

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