Street Performer Festival videos just what the (fake) doctor ordered
EDMONTON -- COVID-19 may have forced the cancellation of the Edmonton International Street Performer’s Festival so the festival is posting videos of festivals past.
The Street Performers Festival is posting videos on its website with highlights from their event dating back to 1985. It’s a hair-raising trip down memory lane for one performer, Heather D. Swain.
“I’m glad I wear wigs because my hair looks just as good now as it looked then,” laughs Swain.
Swain has been making people laugh at the Edmonton International Street Performers festival for almost 30 years.
Swain is known for her array of comical characters that roam the site, including Miss Information, Dr. Auntie Dote and Poope le Mime in a Box, the world’s first talking mime.
However, her foray into funny was totally unexpected. She is a classically trained actor who accidentally entered the world of street performing after coming from Toronto to Edmonton to act in a play.
Swain stopped by the festival to check it out and was instantly hooked.
“I got drawn into the Street Performers Festival in 1992 and it changed my life,” she says. “I now make my living off of the characters I created at the Street Performers Festival and I have shown them around the world. I have performed in Trafalgar square, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.”
Swain says the appeal for her was the instant connection you make with the crowd.
“It is the most true, honest art I can think of where you absolutely know what the audience thinks about you instantaneously.”
She says watching decades old footage is a great reminder of the impact the festival has had on her, but also how her characters have impacted people.She still loves watching how happy the people in the crowds are.
“It’s crazy, but it does affect people’s lives,” she says. “I don’t change people’s lives but I affect them.”
Swain says even though you can’t be at the event in person, watching videos of the Street Performers Festivals from years gone by is something Dr. Auntie Dote would prescribe to keep you in good health.
“I suggest anyone who has ever been to the Edmonton Street Performers Festival and had a good time, click on that website. There’s going to be something that tickles your funny bone, something that makes you giggle for the day and maybe something that makes you totally laugh out loud and have those tears streaming down your face.”
New videos are posted daily on the festival’s website.