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This article was published 27/7/2009 (4675 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg fringe sets
North American record
The 2009 Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival sold more tickets than any other North American fringe festival ever.
Not only did the 22nd edition, which ended Sunday, sell a record high 81,565 tickets, but it became the continent's box office champ by surpassing the 77,700 tickets sold at the 2006 Edmonton Fringe Festival, a total that the Alberta capital nearly matched last summer.
Winnipeg's factory-themed fringe festival saw a nearly 9,000-ticket jump from 72,699 last year, and $50,000 in additional ticket revenue to $530,000, all of which was returned to the performers.
Festival executive producer Chuck McEwen said factors ranged from ideal weather for most of the festival to top-quality shows. This year the fringe allowed theatre-goers to buy same-day advance tickets for the first time, another reason for the box office boost, he said.
Attendance at free outdoor shows at Old Market Square saw a significant drop, from roughly 88,000 people in 2008 to this year's approximately 70,000. Organizers blamed the decrease on the chilly weather that kicked off the 12-day festival.
"It's really because of the first two days," said McEwen. "Virtually we had no attendance for the Wednesday, Thursday, because it got down to 10 degrees, nine degrees."
This year's fringe had eight more productions than last year, most of which came with the addition of a kids' venue, McEwen said.
The new festival venue, Canwest Performing Arts Centre (Manitoba Theatre for Young People) at The Forks "was a huge success," he said, with crowds there rivalling those at the more-established MTC Warehouse.