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Guest Blogger

Shirley Lowe

Shirley Lowe is passionate about telling the stories of Edmonton and how the city evolved and grew into the vibrant, dynamic place it is today. She calls herself “an engaged citizen,” dedicated to playing a spirited role in being part of what makes Edmonton thrive.

Named only the second-ever Historian Laureate, appointed by City Council to a two-year term; she succeeds the eminent Ken Tingley in the position. “I think it is really important that we tell the stories of how citizens built the city in the different eras and then use those lessons from the past to craft a better future.”

Over the years, Shirley has served as a volunteer and as president with the Edmonton and District Historical Society (EDHS), an appointed member of the Edmonton Historical Board, and chair of the City’s Historic Resources Review Panel. She soaks up inspiration from the leaders she has known, past and present, and her abiding belief that everybody can make a difference.

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From Fringe With Love - How to make the most of the Fringe Festival August 15-25

Tuesday August 06 , 2013

With a choice of 219 productions and more than 1,650 performances, how do you find the rabbit hole that takes you from the elephant ears and beer tents into the wacky, wonderful world of live theatre? The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival was the first Fringe Festival in North America and it is still its largest. Over 31 years, it has grown from a small festival designed to give theatre artists a summer project and to revitalize the half empty shopping area of Old Strathcona. Both of those targets have been met and exceeded. This year there are 53 theatre locations and none of them are in empty storefronts.

The festival always was and still is about the individual productions. Creative people bring their talents to the festival, testing new ideas and honing theatre skills. For the audience, each show is a different experience. The trick to a truly great Fringe is to pick enough shows that give you that “wow” factor.

How to Choose

Nothing beats the experience of “Fringing” over a period of years but there are some basic ways to narrow down the choices.

1. Buy a PROGRAM! No human being can attend 219 shows in 11 days. The program gives you descriptions of the shows, locations, times, a master schedule, how and where to buy tickets, rules and the auxiliary information.

2. Visit the web site. It has a lot of information about shows and ticketing. Scan the QR code that allows you to download an app that gives you maps, a scheduler, connections to social media and ticketing.

3. Use Filters that help narrow the choices:

  • Genres: Pick genres that you enjoy. If you don’t like musicals, don’t go. Love comedy? Take your pick. There is something for everyone.
  • Reviews from other cities: Check your program against reviews from Toronto, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and other earlier Fringes. If any of the four or five star shows have made it to Edmonton, put them on your list.
  • Local theatre luminaries: Edmonton has a vibrant theatre scene. If there are people you enjoy in the regular season, look for them in the program.
  • Reviews: Edmonton media take the Fringe seriously. Reviews come out daily. The problem is that the good shows get sold out. Act quickly.
  • Ask: Ask a friend(s), make conversation in the line-ups and beer tents. Some of the best discoveries are a result of other people’s experiences. Everyone in the line-up or beer tent has opinions and most people will share their own best and worst.
  • First Time Fringer Workshop: Chapters is hosting two workshops run by long time Fringe goers who walk you through the process. Its’ FREE! Sign up online at or call 780-448-9012.
    • Tuesday, August 13: 6PM to 7:30 Pm
    • Saturday, August 17: 10AM to 11:30 AM