Chinook Theatre – Fringe Theatre Adventures

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Chinook Theatre – Fringe Theatre Adventures

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Chinook Theatre/Fringe Theatre Adventures began in 1978 as Chinook Touring Theatre, a theatre for young audiences. Founded in Fort St. John, British Columbia by Brian Paisley and Ti Hallas, its mission was to 'open an archway to accessible theatre adventures by and for the community.' Paisley and Hallas moved the company to Edmonton in 1980, scheduling tours all over Alberta from its offices in the basement of the Princess Theatre on Whyte Avenue., before moving into a renovated firehall on 83rd Ave. in 1983. This site contained offices and a 175-seat theatre that was used for in-house productions and rented to other artists and theatre groups. The Chinook Theatre produced a number of original and adapted works but failed to develop a strong local audience or identity. In 1986, its name was changed to Chinook Theatre Society. While its attempts to develop a strong local presence with its own works were unsuccessful, the Fringe Festival certainly did. Using a $50 000 grant from Summerferst, Chinook created the Fringe Festival in 1982. Borrowing heavily upon the structure of the Edinburgh Fringe, Chinook set up theatre spaces and rented them out to performers. There was no pre-screening and quality was mixed, but the Fringe soon became an integral part of Edmonton's summer. The original Fringe had five venues, but quickly grew and peaked at 14 venues in 1993 and 1994. Total attendance figures passed the half-million by the early 1990s but many of the visitors were attracted more to the ambience of the Festival than the works themselves. In 1995, reflecting the popularity of the Fringe, Chinook changed its name once again, this time to Fringe Theatre Adventures Society.


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  • EAC

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