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COVID-19 uncertainty forces cancellation of Fringe North 2020

Plan a return with affordable live theatre in August 2021
Grup, a popular Toronto clown, appeared at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion during the final day of the Sault’s third annual Fringe North International Theatre Festival, supported by The Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie & District, Aug. 18, 2019. Darren Taylor/SooToday
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of the 2020 Fringe North International Theatre Festival due to the ongoing uncertainty created by COVID-19 Pandemic.

The situation has been changing daily with the closures and cancellations of anything not essential. 

We are currently unable to provide a safe festival for our artists, staff, patrons, and volunteers and because of this, we can not proceed as planned. We are not able to predict when social distancing practices, physical isolation measures, and restrictions on public gatherings will be lifted.

Rehearsals have become impossible, venues have been closed for unknown lengths of time, and we are no longer equipped to plan the festival that we all love.

This decision was not made lightly. We understand the impact this will have on the artistic community here in Sault Ste Marie and the District of Algoma. Any artist that has already registered will be reimbursed for fees paid.

While we are unable to produce a Fringe North festival in 2020, we will use our financial and human resources to support local theatre creators. We’ll have more details on these initiatives in the coming weeks.

The Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) and the 250 member fringe festivals around the world are ahead of the curve in responding to COVID-19 and are either cancelling or postponing their festivals. Many fringes are also exploring digital options in lieu of live theatre.

Postponing is not an option for Fringe North as a later festival date would compete with our valued community partners who have had to postpone their events and fundraisers. A digital fringe remains an option although it is the artist/audience experience that make fringes exciting and unique.

We are looking forward to returning with affordable live theatre from around the world Aug 12-22, 2021, our Free Kids Fringe with buskers and clowns, and collaborating with the Arts Council of Algoma on its annual #upthearts free admission multi-festival.