Archive for July, 2012

July 31, 2012

Look What You Made Me Do – Volume Two

Apparently the awesome visual artists who attended my workshop at Gallery 1313 took me seriously – another one of them has created a video with a friend to showcase her upcoming gallery exhibitions.   Her artist statement makes me happy:

I hope viewers and collectors will find the work life-affirming and joyful. My aim is to bring elation to those who view these paintings. The future of my painting will be – I believe – in reading the world, telling my story, and being inspired by the affinity between nature and my life.

You can see her work at

Nice job Jane – the rest of you – check out her video!

July 30, 2012

#Twitter #Mistakes in the #Arts, and Something To Keep In Mind

This from the website From A Younger Theatre. From their About section:

A Younger Theatre is a platform for young people to express their views on theatre and performance. The site is maintained, edited and published by under 26 year olds who all have a passion for theatre.  A Younger Theatre is a resource and platform for theatre and young people.

You’d better believe I’ve got them bookmarked. Anyway from them:

Theatre Thought: Ten common mistakes that arts organisations make when using Twitter


Also from another bookmark-worthy site – If you are not following Mission Paradox, you should be. I normally link to the post I like, but I want this one on my blog in its entirety because it’s something we all need to keep in mind.

Random thoughts on privilege, the arts and empathy

Self awareness is important.  When a leader of well respected, well resourced arts organization speaks about the “industry”, they have to be aware of the privilege they live in.

For every 1 person making a living in the “professional” arts there are 15 other people who would like to make a living but, for a variety of reasons, are not able to do so.

This matters.  It’s a source of real pain and concern for a lot of people.  It’s important to show awareness of that when discussing the field.

On the other hand, most people with privilege don’t really FEEL privileged.

I’ve talked to a ton of people who make a living in the arts.  When they described their lives and the challenges they have to navigate on a daily basis, I don’t envy them at all.

I wouldn’t want their six figure paycheck.  I wouldn’t want to have to deal with the things they have to deal with.

I find myself thinking about empathy more and more.  It’s so easy for us to jump into our perspective corners:

Bloated, ego filled administrators versus underpaid, long suffering artists.

Overwhelmed administrators versus spoiled, naive artists.

It can get ugly fast.

The key to avoiding that is developing an ability to see and respect the point of view of others . . . even if you really disagree with that view.

More empathy.  More compassion.  We need that in this industry.

July 29, 2012

Sunday Roundup – July 28

Next roundup – it will be AUGUST.

It has been an insanely busy week with work on HOMEbody and work on Proud, and proposals for new and returning clients and not much time for blogging. So there you go.

In Which we Talked

post about a fantastic workshop on Monday – which led to an unposted post, which went unpublished due to timing, which I’ll post below:

Where are People Talking?
Was at a party last night, great smart people, the wine flowed, the ideas flowed. I stepped out on to the balcony with a couple of friends to continue a great discussion about a current arts topic  near and dear to our hearts. It was great until the host came out and told us he’d prefer that we have that conversation in the living room, as that’s where it had started, and he’d planned for it to happen there.

Of course this didn’t happen in real life. Can you imagine?

But it’s what you’re telling me online when you get annoyed that conversations about your post are happening somewhere other than where you  started them, be in website vs Twitter feed, Facebook vs blog post.
We talked about this on Monday as part of that great conversation. Conversations happen where they happen and in fact may be inherently more valuable happening off your site than on. Accept them where they are, and monitor as lovingly as you would if it was on your blog. And when your editor or boss demands to know why the post comments are so low, show them the dozens of Facebook threads that popped up because of it, or the fact that your org now has a new hashtag created by commenters. But don’t tell people where to talk – or they possibly won’t talk at all. And that is the end of your party, all but the sucking.

This happened last week too.

And then noises started being made about boycotting Summerworks because Factory is one of the rental venues. And I said it once and I’ll say it again, I’ve never heard of anything quite so ridiculous in quite some time.

Emotions are understandably running high, ideas and thoughts and for and against are getting muddled together.  I’m fascinated by everything that’s happening from every position as this rolls out. More and more opinions and options and angles are coming to light.

This weekend I noticed that although stirring the pot while cooking keeps it from boiling over,  it’s the opposite in social media.

In which case – if you are going to stir the pot, be there for the inevitable boilover. And if you’re stirring – have a damn good reason for doing so.

July 24, 2012

In Which We Talked

I led a workshop yesterday on marketing/PR/social media, for a very specific group of arts administrators. Smart, savvy folks that I’ve either worked with or will be working with in the future. On one hand it was great not to go to a go-to Powerpoint presentation that starts with “what is Twitter?” – on the other hand – what was I going to talk about?

And then it occurred to me that one of the most lacking resource in our world (well, everyone’s, I suppose) is time. Time to get things done, time to sort things out, and something that gets sadly left behind is time to spend with your peers and just talk about what we’re doing – what’s working, what’s not, how did you do this, here’s how we did that. Sometimes it happens one on one, sometimes over a beer after an opening night,

And so we did. I asked everyone to write down three things about marketing/PR/social media that they had questions about, or wanted to talk about. And we spent five hours doing just that – not listening to a presentation, or holding questions til the end, but talking. Getting ideas, getting advice, making suggestions. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, and everyone seemed to get something out of it. For companies without dedicated marketing staff, or publicist for shows only, these type of conversations do get understandably left behind in favour of payroll, budgets or contracts.

We don’t have the luxury to do this nearly often enough. Even when we’re talking, it’s email or a scheduled meeting about one thing. If art communicates something, then that’s exactly what we did yesterday.

Big thanks to Sue from Modern Times for asking me to present to this fantastic group of folks, and to Rupal  and big thanks to the OAC for funding it.  And thanks to the participants for making time and really engaging. I think it was both time and money well spent. I’m looking forward to working with these folks again in many capacities – despite the shouts of laughter when I asked if anyone had caught a certain article in the Economist. Here you go.

July 22, 2012

Sunday Roundup – July 22

And here we are again on Sunday. Last week:

Some Final Fringe Numbers and Thoughts – Fringe kicked butt again this year.

Viva Voce -A little Latin for Word Of Mouth.

He Said, She Said, We All Said – where Facebook got interesting last week, and four open letters.

Can’t See What He-She-They Said for The Words – and we took the open letters and made pictures out of them.

Other than that…

This week I’m giving a marketing workshop attended a very smart group of women in the arts. Extremely excited about working with them all.

And I’ve signed on to give a marketing workshop in the fall for Work In Culture.

The Edward Bond Festival has wrapped, Dirty Butterfly has closed, and I’m absolutely thrilled that both were such great successes.

I’m  working on marketing and PR for HOMEbody with Shannon Litzenberger, and producing Proud with Michael Healey, meeting with previous clients for new contracts, and new clients to see how we can work together.

And I’d say life is busy and awesome and good.  Happy Sunday!


July 21, 2012

Can’t See What He-She-They Said for the Words

Lots of words the past few days, Facebook posts, comments, statuses (stati?) you name it. A lot is being said about Factory Theatre, Boards of Directors, Young Artists and Old Farts, silence, indie theatre, and who is or is not doing something or nothing and being vocal or not vocal enough about any or all of it.

Can you see what they’re saying?

Sometimes when there are too many words, too many paragraphs it’s easy to say you understand this point of view, or that point of view, or neither. And by the end you can sometimes wonder if you’re on the same page, or arguing about something that wasn’t the original topic. Add in the layout of Timeline, multiple responses on multiple pages and you might have to lie down trying to find what he said about what she said that was SO compelling and you can’t find it to repost. Which is why full text of the four main (so far) Open Letters is here.

So! Let’s see what folks were saying. Remember sometime in June I suggested you run your website through to see what you were saying to your audience – the bigger the word the more often you’d said it and therefore gave the impression that was what was important?

Coming back to wordle.

For the sake of ease, I have only used the “response to___ open letters” I have seen at the time of this post. All letters are black on white in “coolvetica” font. Wordle uses the number of times a word appears in a text to determine its relative size. I deliberately set it to remove common English words like of, and, the. Let’s see what the important parts of these letters were, according to wordle.

No, this is not particularly scientific, but you have to start somewhere and I’m a busy person. I just wanted to see what words and therefore possible themes overlapped in these letters and responses. Its’ not a judgement call either – I wanted to see something, and thought I’d share. Again, this is according to a web-based computer program – toy, really – and not passion, meaning, merit or tone.

David Ferry

Chris Coculuzzi:

Lisa Norton:

Aislinn Rose:

And because we are all indeed a community – here’s all four in one.

Just a different way of looking at something folks are reading, folks are engaged in. A different perspective is sometimes  needed to find commonalities in a seemingly divisive topic.

July 20, 2012

A Couple More She Saids

The discussion that prompted He Said, She Said, She Said is still going on, and additional thoughtful responses are being added:

From Aislinn Rose – An Open Letter to Some of the Old Farts

I might spend some time this weekend figuring out what all the issues have become. From one or two allegedly “apparent” isuues, many have arisen. Or rather are, and are coming to light. Posting Sunday most likely.

As an aside: Quit saying someone should do something. You’re someone. Do it.


July 19, 2012

He Said, He Said, She Said, We All Said

In many discussions, both on and offline, on Facebook and over the breakfast table, it takes a bit of time to get to the root of things. Or ask questions you think need asking and haven’t been, and usually it opens a whole new can of something.

So that happened. Yesterday David Ferry wrote an open letter on Facebook about who was standing up and vocalizing dismay about the way things were panning out at Factory Theatre these days.

And Chris Coculuzzi wrote an open letter response about why some were and some weren’t.

And Lisa Norton wrote a response to both of them.

UPDATED July 20 Response from Aislinn Rose – An Open Letter to Some of the Old Farts

An unoffical count shows 81 likes, 12 shares 174 comments from various pages and walls. So there’s a conversation that needs to be had here. If Facebook/social media is like the house party I liken it to, then this conversation was happening in the living room, kitchen, hallway and out on the balcony, all at the same time, not to mention the chats and private ones happening in the elevator.

The conversation, ostensibly about the firing of Ken Gass and the Board of Directors at Factory Theatre opened up a lot more anger, opinions and thoughts than you’d think.

Who gets money? Who doesn’t? Who has to do all of the work? Who doesn’t? Whose problem is it? It’s bigger picture! Who is passionately involved, who feels disaffected by it? What is establishment? Kids today! Old farts today! You shut me out, you didn’t involve me, I am busy, twas ever thus.

Did anything get solved during this? Doubtful. But wow, were a lot of questions and answers raised that I didn’t anticipate. David mentioned near the “end” – Imagine a town hall meeting where we all actually do that…talk WITH each other about all this. In my fantasy, ADs and admins would come and listen, so too the arts councils and yes the reps of boards. We need to take ownership. no surrender.

But my response to that is – Yup. I’d be interested to hear the answers to the question, “is there something here, one issue that we all agree on?”

I don’t know. Fine we can all agree there’s never enough money and never enough time.  But how do you agree on things you need to move forward on?  Many people used the word “family” and I agree, but think about the actuality of family. I mentioned it here a while back on the same topic.

Is it really a discussion if it’s online? Also a maybe. But at least when we do see each other next in person, there will be a shorthand, a ground work down so we can jump right in. And I hope that happens.

Stuff to think about. I know my mind’s been whirling a lot lately.

David Ferry – An open letter to the newer generations of Toronto theatre artists from one of the old farts.

I have been following with interest the events and actions surrounding the recent firing of Ken Gass at Factory Theatre.
I have seen several letters from some extraordinary artists that offer actions or pathways forward in response to the Board of Factory actions, and have contributed my own modest thoughts to the debate.
One of the things that alarms me is the relative absence of voices from the younger generation of theatre artists…ADs of project centric companies, authors, actors, dramaturgs, designers,producers.
Not to generalize too much, but I have seen very few signatures on the various letters seeking either extreme, moderate or conciliatory activity…in fact very little commentary at all from the majority of Toronto theatre artists under the age of, say, 35. Perhaps many signed the initial petition that garnered 3000+ signatures, but where are the voices NOW?
I am not suggesting that the younger voices need to agree with Mr. Healey, Mr Walker, Mr. Moodie, Ms Stolk or Ms Gibson MacDonald and their various suggestions for action..but I am suggesting that perhaps more than any other group, you have a vital stake in what is happening and you need to express your opinions.
I ask myself a few questions here:
– Why is there such relative silence from your generations of theatre artists?
– How have I and my contemporaries failed in setting an example for you, so that you do not feel compelled to speak up in such a time?
– Why do we as a community of artists have so little to say politically about our own institutions in comparison to similar communities from other cultures..USA, Britain, France, Germany as well as the non-Eurocentric communities of theatre artists in the world?
Others of my generation of Canadian theatre artists have suggested that you are simply waiting, like Prince Charles for the old guard to slip away so you can take over the institutions that have been built.
Some have suggested that you live in fear of rocking the boat and so not getting hired by whoever does take over theatres such as Factory.
Some say you are just rigid with apathy about the issues that have challenged Canadian theatre artists from the beginning of our short professional theatre history. We are after-all, for all practical purposes, just 70 years old as a theatre culture.
But I have worked with many of you, and I have sensed a fierce intelligence and passion inside you. So your silence I know is not simply due to the above.

Is it that you don’t feel these issues are YOUR issues?

Because, I believe they are. The real issues at hand here are the issues of artist voice and artists’ moral rights to have a say in how the theatres that live or die by our work as artists are run. The issue of Board control over artists and their institutions has been a challenge to our Theatre since the first professional regional theatres were born out of the ashes of amateur theatre and throughout the evolution of large regionals, the alternative movements of the 70s and early 80s and the new wave theatres of the 90s and beyond. The issue is far larger than the firing of one AD (one, I might add, that has had a major impact on many of your careers…it was not after all the board of Factory that gave you a break when you needed it was it?) The issue is one of ownership of voice through the determination of how our institutions are run. If you do not speak out on this issue (and again, I care not what side you may come from, I ask only that you speak) you are in danger of backing yourselves into a corner of irrelevance.
When Sara Kane’s play “Blasted” was first produced in England, it received some pretty vicious press. The major artists of various ages in England were quick to respond through a very vocal and activist series of letters to editors, op-ed articles and broadcast debates. Many of the senior “established” artists such as Carol Churchill, Harold Pinter and many more went to the barricades to fight for creative voice. This has happened in England, the US, France, Germany (as I mentioned earlier) again and again when artists and their institutions are attacked.

Why are we so complacent here?

Why are you being so silent?

The blogs and papers and theatre lobbies should be abuzz with thoughts, opinions, letters from YOU (DOB 1977 and beyond)..yet I sense in sad recognition that the issue is slipping so quickly to just another Facebook entry-du-jour.
Please do not let that happen. Please do not be silent. Theatres like Factory were built with the blood, sweat and tears (and physical/mental/spiritual currency) of your predecessors in our community. They were not built to be passed on to board membership after board membership for patriarchal stewardship. They were built to be passed on to you! And when I see with wonder the explosion of new babies in your circles, it bears remarking that what you inherit, you will too pass on to them.

But Goddamn it, you have to stand up to be counted first. You have to get off the fence. You have to speak. All silence is the silence of complicity in your own future being determined by others.

With respect, solidarity and hope.
David Ferry

Chris Coculuzzi- A Response to David Ferry

Dear Mr. Ferry,

I wanted to respond to your open letter because I think there are issues that you may be either unaware of or unwilling to identify. And just to let you know, I am an Indie artist over the age of 40, so this is not an angered response by a “youth” that you identify in your letter, but rather some critical feedback as an opportunity for sober reflection.
Commercial theatre in Canada is elitist. If you can’t recognize that, then you will have a difficult time understanding the “silence” of the younger generation. I can’t think of a better example of the 99% versus the 1% than Canadian Theatre. Canadian Actors’ Equity has a lot to do with that (but that is for a different discussion), but it also has to do with our limited options for commercial theatre. And although theatres like Tarragon, Factory, TPM and CanStage may have once been about “the little guy,” the firing of Mr. Gass has demonstrated how commercial and corporate those institutions have become.
The vast majority of artists today (including myself) have nothing to do with commercial theatre, because for the most part it is a closed system with the occasional opportunity for an actor, writer, director, dramaturg, or designer. It may be the world you inhabit, but for the rest of us—especially the young—we are not JUST an actor, a designer, a director, a producer, a writer…we are ALL of those things. We are entrepreneurs…mostly because we are forced to be. We are also graphic designers, publicists, box office managers, marketers, fundraisers, and janitors if need be. We do not have the luxury of being ONE thing. We are busy being indie producers and doing EVERYTHING. So that explains probably the biggest reason for the “silence”…they/we are too busy doing EVERYTHING to get outraged over the firing of one commercial AD.
So you are totally off the mark if you think that young artists are “waiting in the wings” to take over. The youth have no access to those institutions. The youth are creating their own opportunities. For over 15 years I have been renting theatres—many of which have closed their doors (Poor Alex, The Lab, Alchemy Theatre)—and ALL of them were cheaper than Factory, Tarragon, TPM, or CanStage. When those run-down and cheaper theatres close, like rats or cockroaches, we find other run-down spaces because we can’t afford your institutions, because we don’t receive any grants, and we don’t receive any large corporate sponsorships. We are busy pounding the pavement to see if a local restaurant will place an ad in our program.
The youth are not worried about “rocking the boat” so that they might get hired—for the 99% they never will get hired in those institutions, so they are busy creating their own opportunities. Far from being apathetic, they are busy busting their ass for little to no money—often putting their own money in their own productions—and contribute to Canadian theatre. Many of us also work full-time and have families.
So I suppose you are right—Mr. Gass’s issue is not their (my) issue. For the 99%, they are like Mr. Gass 40 years ago but not Mr. Gass (and Factory) today. And for the 99%, they will never have the opportunity to build their companies into a Factory—in the face of “austerity” measures those days are long gone.
And before you ask the youth to “stand up” and be counted…to break their “silence”…tell me again how many of the 1% stood up at the DORA awards to demonstrate their outrage? How many boycotted? How many protested?

What’s that…? Oh, right…SILENCE.

Chris Coculuzzi


Mister Ferry and (especially) Mister Cocoluzzi,

As a slightly younger fart than either of you, and one who does feel heavily invested in the recent happenings at Factory Theatre, allow me to throw in a few cents of my own.

David, I think you make a valid plea. And you acknowledge that young people in our community are smart and passionate, so their relative silence on this issue baffles you. But simply put, some of this is a numbers game. We’ve been around longer; we’ve had a chance to work at Factory over the years.

As for me, I worked front of house at Factory when I was starting out, and personally saw Ken Gass painting the stairs and mopping the floor at the end of the day; later I was lucky enough to act in a few shows there and see his dedication to the art and not just the peeling paint. A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of taking part in a workshop process Ken spearheaded, looking at Canadian plays with a focus on cross-cultural/colour-blind casting – a workshop that ultimately lead to the recent ethnically diverse production of the Rez Sisters – and heard Ken speak passionately about the need for more diversity in our theatres, and his desire to do better on that front. (And if anyone reading this wonders, as you naturally might, whether this is a kiss-ass move to stay in the favours of a director who hires me all the time, I can also tell you that I’ve auditioned for Ken tons of times and NOT been hired and may never be again for all I know. I’ve come out so vocally on this issue he’ll probably never hire me now for fear it’ll look like my brown-nosing worked.)

All that to say that you and I, David, have had a chance to get to know Ken, among many other of those Mister Coculuzzi describes as the old guard “elite” ADs in town. So naturally, we feel more immediately and directly connected to the issue. Would you or I have been so easily, instantly outraged about the firing of a stranger?

Mister Coculuzzi, you make the point that things have changed. Many Toronto theatre artists, young and old, are looking (by neccessity, or by choice) outside the mainstream theatres, and beyond one discipline, in order to cobble together a living. (You may not realize that Mister Ferry himself is among that number, as am I.) But along the way, those people, in their varied journeys, may make a stop at the Factory Theatre now and then. Some people just haven’t done so because they merely haven’t had the chance yet. If Ken’s fight is lost, and they later work there, they may find themselves working at a very different Factory than has existed in the past. They may find a place run by corporate interests (which I can assure you it hasn’t been before now); a place where the artists, from the top down, are beholden to a board of directors which doesn’t necessarily include any artists whatsoever; a place which perhaps can no longer lay claim to the name “Home of the Canadian Playwright”, and has become, as some have suggested, “Home of the Board of Directors”.

Or perhaps, Mister Coculuzzi, you’re right. Maybe these young people you speak of will never work at Factory. Obviously not all of them will. Many of them won’t want to. But I’ve firmly believed from the beginning that, my personal/professional bias aside, this issue is bigger than Ken Gass, and bigger than the Factory Theatre. And that even if you don’t care for Ken as an artist – hell, even if you hate the guy – this is a dangerous precedent that cannot afford to stand.

You want to talk 99%, Mister Coculuzzi? How about the fact that a Board of Directors comprised of nine people has dug in and ignored 3596 (and counting) signatures on a petition asking them to step down and reinstate Ken Gass? Almost 3600 voices of theatre artists, supporters and patrons: the very community which it is their mandate to serve. How about the fact that they shut out the one artist on the board, designer Shawn Kerwin, from the decision-making and firing, telling her she “wasn’t needed” at key board meetings? How about the fact that this was a power play over renovations, and that the board admits – even brags – that the theatre is in great artistic and financial shape (as if little gnomes ran around in the night making things run smoothly last season and it had nothing to do with the leadership of Ken Gass)? Or that the firing itself took place in the callous manner of the most sudden and disrespectful corporate layoff (“Clear out your desk by the end of the day”)?

You can know Ken or not, you can feel a connection to Factory or not, you can see yourself working there in future or not….but this decision – and the sudden disrespectful way it was carried out – is indefensible and wrong and, I believe, should matter to all of us. And no, this isn’t the only example of this attitude lately in this country (not just the disregard/lack of understanding of art and artists but the lack of respect): for one stark example among many, look to Alberta’s Keyano College, where reportedly, this past May, the entire arts department was laid off and walked out by security within fifteen minutes.

If you believe in the spirit of the Occupy movement, as it sounds you do, I urge you not to use it to divide the theatre community, but to help us stand strong together and make a statement that theatres are a home for artists, and that if there’s ONE place left in this country where we should have a little bit of power, it’s in our own institutions. Trust me, Ken Gass is not the one percent. He’s part of the big, fat, beautiful, artsy-fartsy ninety-nine. I stand with him.


Lisa Norton

*An addition: For what it’s worth, if anyone reading this hasn’t signed the petition and gets the urge to do so, here’s where you’ll find it:

Where does a family go to have this big a discussion?

July 18, 2012

Viva Voce!

There’s a bittersweetness to the phrases “word of mouth” and “buzz”. They’re wildly important in marketing a show, but where do they come from? It had to come from somewhere: was it an ad someone saw and then mentioned to a friend, or? We always used to love getting audience surveys back: “How did you hear about us?” Word of mouth wa the favourite frustrating response because it’s incredibly hard to track it, followed closely by “ad in right-wing newspaper” that we didn’t advertise in.

Good article here on generating word of mouth advertising.

The Toronto Fringe just closed this weekend, and it is an excellent example of an event tha relies heavily on word of mouth – “What are you seeing?” “What’s good?” “What do you recommend?”

These are questions asked of everyone – friends, colleagues, critics, strangers – and everyone has something to say.  From the article: “It’s one of the most credible forms of advertising because a person puts their reputation on the line every time they make a recommendation and that person has nothing to gain but the appreciation of those who are listening.”

Aside: folks, this was a bad year for the flyer “fling and walk”. Drives me INSANE. I am sitting right here, don’t fling flyers in front of me on the table and walk away. They are now safely shuffled into the hundred other flyers already ON the table and now I don’t particularly care about you or your show and I have no interest in seeing it. You’ve managed to do the opposite of engage me. If you’ve hired someone to do the fling…tell them part of distribution is talking to people about the show.


So when you know you’ve got “word of mouth” happening and the “buzz” is insane, how do you maintain it?

Give people even more to talk about. Find out who is word of mouthing about your show and get onside with them. Find your influencers, the folks who saw the show and loved it, loved you, love love you can feel the love – and give them even more to love.  People will talk for ages about a show they love – give them the tools to do so. I’m not saying fling a flyer at them, but telling them your advance tickets are nearly sold out gives them the impetus and a sense of urgency to tell other folks to get their tickets too.

Get a testimonial. Highlight their comment on the show Facebook page. Tweet that this is what folks are saying about your show – we all immediately post critical opinions, but when regular patrons are raving – share that with others.

Find the like-minded folks to your raving fans. Tell them about the show. Always ensure what you have for info is easily found – it’s one thing to hear the name of a show one evening, it’s another to remember it and where it’s playing when you’re looking it up the next day. Make sure your website, social media forums, you name it are up to date and ready to be found. Be your own Amazon, in a sense –  “if so and so liked this show, then I bet such and such will too.”

I talked myself hoarse about shows I liked every night at the Fringe Club. I hope your friends, fans, family and folks will be doing the same for your future productions.

July 17, 2012

Some Final Fringe Numbers and Thoughts

The Toronto Fringe Festival 2012 has ended. Some numbers to share with you out of sheer pride. I should start by telling you that there were 12 fewer companies in this year’s Fest. Why am I telling you this? Because:

This year we came within 1% of our all time ticket sales record;

Visual Fringe sales were up a stunning 401%;

$450,800 was returned to performing artists;

59,182 tickets were sold; and

More beer was consumed than should be possible.

As you know I am a firm believer in not re-inventing the wheel. Rob Kempson wrote a fabulous blog post on why the Fringe matters to him – favourite part:

We often talk about giving a voice to the voiceless in this community, and then put on plays by professional artists starring professional actors. And that is an important thing for professional artists to do. But giving a voice to the voiceless is truly what the Fringe does. It gives everyone a fair shot to say what they need to say in the way that they need to say it. Many of these shows will have future lives, but many more of them will not. And that’s part of the excitement. You have seven opportunities to catch this little piece of magic, put together by artists who rehearsed in their apartments after they had all come back from their day jobs. Fringe is full of passion for creation, excitement for the arts, and LEARNING. For everyone. Audiences who were hoping to get out of a Fringe experience without learning something will be hard-pressed to do so.

Read the whole post.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in any way shape or form – onward to next year and the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Fringe Festival!


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