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Winnipeg Fringe Festival

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fringe festival on verge of eclipsing attendance mark

Posted: 07/29/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 07/29/2013 7:38 AM | Updates

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The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival was poised to once again surpass the 100,000 attendance barrier Sunday evening.

And another attendance record could be smashed in the process.

After Saturday night's tickets sales were totalled, the 26th annual theatre festival had sold 95,136 tickets and had broken daily attendance records for six of the 11 days of the festival, fringe organizers said Sunday.

More than 10,000 people checked out the fringe's eclectic mix of comedies, dramas and monologues on Saturday. If Sunday's box-office figures come anywhere close to that, the festival's all-time attendance mark of 100,621, set last year, will be in jeopardy.

Fringe executive director Chuck McEwen said the festival tries to attract more first-time fringers, but says its longtime fans deserve the credit for the boffo box office.

"We've got a core group of fringers who are steadfast, they come out no matter what, if it's rainy or not," McEwen said Sunday.

"There's lots of room for growth. There are still tens of thousands of Winnipeggers who haven't attended the fringe," he said.

The 169 plays participating in this year's festival have racked up 179 sellouts. McEwen said the depth in this year's lineup has caught the eye of Winnipeg theatregoers.

"It's one of those years where there are 40, 50, 60 shows that are doing really well," he said.

One of the local shows, The Hound of Ulster, by Jessy Ardern and Ariel Levine and produced by the Struts and Frets Players, won the Harry S. Rintoul Memorial Award Sunday night. The award, sponsored by the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, goes to the best new Manitoban play held at the fringe.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 29, 2013 A6

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Updated on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 7:38 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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