Nanaimo Fringe Festival will break the walls down

Fascists, beavers, leprechauns, zombies and more highlight fringe lineup

Berlin Waltz, a techno-folk musical, is one of the shows making up this year’s Nanaimo Fringe Festival from Aug. 10-19. (Petrocker Photography)

The Nanaimo Fringe Festival will take fringe acts to the mainstream of the city’s entertainment scene over the next two weeks.

The city’s seventh annual fringe festival will be held at three different venues from Aug. 10-19, with 56 shows at the Port Theatre, Harbour City Theatre and Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

According to a festival press release, the shows were selected by lottery and will be presented uncensored.

“International and local theatre companies will be showcasing their new scripts, comedies and edgy material on our stages,” notes the release.

Shows include: 4 Storytellers… 7 Stories!, Words, Shawnologues, Jukebox Drive, Terror on the High Seas, ’Tween Earth and Sky, My Stroke of Luck, Mr. Flubbers’ Undead Legions, Berlin Waltz, and Beaver Dreams.

There is a free preview night Thursday (Aug. 10) at 8 p.m. at the Port Theatre lobby, in which fringe artists will perform five-minute teasers of their shows.

Anyone wishing to attend any fringe shows must purchase a $5 membership button. Tickets cost an additional $12 per show or $40 for a five-show pass and all ticket proceeds go to the acts. For ticket information, visit

For more about the festival, visit Here are the fringe performances coming to Nanaimo:

Berlin Waltz

Devon More Music “is putting the ‘cool’ back in the Cold War” with Berlin Waltz.

The folk-techno musical includes an original soundtrack, satire, slam poetry, street art, sock puppets and more, according to a press release.

A young woman on a bicycle retraces the route of the Berlin Wall, relives its history and considers its impacts, notes the release, “but this ain’t your average history lesson. Fascism is back, and walls are so hot right now, so come see how a rock-solid wall is constructed – then learn how to tear it down.”

Berlin Waltz will be at the conference centre Aug. 12, 8 p.m.; Aug. 13; 3:30 p.m.; Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 17, 5:45 p.m.; Aug. 18, 9:30 p.m.; and Aug. 19, 7:15 p.m.

Beaver Dreams (La Fièvre du Castor)

Maggie Winston remembers spending her summers at the family cottage on a lake in Laurentians in Quebec.

She also remembers her family having to deal with the year-round neighbours – a bunch of determined beavers.

“Over the years of having our cottage we’ve had this ongoing battle with the beavers to just maintain the level of the lake,” Winston said.

Her family’s constant struggle with the beavers at their Quebec cottage over the years has become the basis for an award-winning puppet show created by Winston called Beaver Dreams.

For an expanded preview of the show, click here.

Beaver Dreams shows at the conference centre Aug. 11, 9:15 p.m.; Aug. 13, 6:15 p.m.; Aug. 15, 7:15 p.m.; Aug. 16, 5:15 p.m.; Aug. 18, 5 p.m.; Aug. 19, 2:45 p.m.

’Tween Earth and Sky

Traditional Irish folklore will make its way to the stage at fringe. Mark Lyon presents ‘Tween Earth and Sky, billed as Irish tales of the supernatural.

The production dramatizes four traditional stories: a clever lad tries to outwit a leprechaun, tears are shed over a tragic romance, a man sells his soul to the devil, and a young rogue goes on a journey carrying a talking corpse.

According to a press release, ‘Tween Earth and Sky takes play-goers back to “a time when Ireland was so much a place of enchantment that a decent man could hardly poke his nose outside the door of his own cottage without chancing upon spirits and witches and all manner of fairy folk.”

‘Tween Earth and Sky shows at the Port Theatre lobby on Aug. 12, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 15, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 16, 6:45 p.m.; Aug. 17, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 18, 6:45 p.m.; Aug. 19, 4 p.m.

Terror on the High Seas

Les Kurkendaal, an actor and storyteller from L.A., has a terrifying tale to share – one about being trapped on a boat with his in-laws.

Terror on the High Seas is a one-man comedy show about a cruise to Alaska with a boyfriend and his family.

“Whether you are gay or straight, if you are in a committed relationship you eventually have to deal with your in-laws,” reads a press release. “What if you were trapped on a boat with [them] and there was no escape?”

The Nanaimo Fringe Festival will mark the Canadian debut of Kurkendaal’s show.

Terror on the High Seas shows at the conference centre Aug. 12, 4:15 p.m.; Aug. 13, 1:45 p.m.; Aug. 16, 9:15 p.m.; Aug. 17, 10 p.m.; Aug. 18, 6:45 p.m.; Aug. 19, 5:30 p.m.


Patricia Zogar was part of Nanaimo’s first fringe festival in 1997 and is making her return after 20 years. She presents Shawnologues, a tribute to the work of George Bernard Shaw.

“Because of their complexity, length and difficult staging, Shaw plays are rarely produced, but this format offers the opportunity to present some teasers and showcase this astute and profound writer,” Zogar said in a press release.

Shawnologues will be at the Harbour City Theatre on Aug. 1, 7:15 p.m.; Aug. 13, 2:30 p.m.; Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 17, 4:15 p.m.; Aug. 18, 6:30 p.m.; and Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m.

Jukebox Drive

Performers from Victoria known as Enigmatic Events will take their road-trip show on the road.

Jukebox Drive will see actors improvise stories as they take a road trip across the stage at fringe. A press release notes that performers will use road-trip music as inspiration, “improvising to tell a tale about a journey, and looking at how people can change while on the road.”

The show is produced and directed by Chris Rudram and Emily Bamlet and stars Amy Culliford, Bill Nance, Jonah McKeen and Natasha Guerra.

Jukebox Drive will be at the Harbour City Theatre on Aug. 17, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 18, 8:15 p.m. and Aug. 19, 5:45 p.m.

4 Storytellers… 7 Stories!

Nanaimo’s Around Town Tellers have seven stories to share. Six are meant to keep audiences laughing, with the other an inspiring true story about a Jewish woman evading the holocaust during the Second World War.

4 Storytellers… 7 Stories! will be at the conference centre Aug. 11, 7:15 p.m.; Aug. 12, 6 p.m.; Aug. 13, 8 p.m.; Aug. 15, 9 p.m.; and Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m.

My Stroke of Luck

Diane Barnes presents My Stroke of Luck. A doctor diagnoses strokes, which as it turns out, don’t happen only to other people. According to the fringe festival program, Barnes tells the story of a medical catastrophe and recovery and impacts on a worried teenage son.

The show is “a spellbinding and funny look at love, family and seemingly insurmountable odds.”

My Stroke of Luck will be at the Port Theatre lobby on Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 12, 7:15 p.m.; Aug. 16, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 17, 6:30 p.m.; Aug. 18, 8:30 p.m.; and Aug. 19, 7 p.m.

Mr. Flubbers’ Undead Legions

Two zombies and their fish, Mr. Flubbers, deal with the challenges of moving into a new apartment.

Mr. Flubbers’ Undead Legions shows at the Harbour City Theatre on Aug. 11, 7:45 p.m.; Aug. 13, 5:15 p.m.; Aug. 15, 7 p.m.; Aug. 16, 9:15 p.m.; Aug. 18, 10:30 p.m.; Aug. 19, 12:45 p.m.


William Anderson and Evil Boy Theatre wonder, according to the event program, “what does a writer do when the words won’t stop?”

Words shows at the Harbour City Theatre Aug. 11, 5:45 p.m.; Aug. 12, 5:15 p.m., Aug. 13, 7:15 p.m.; Aug. 15, 9 p.m.; Aug. 17, 6:30 p.m.; Aug. 19, 2:45 p.m.

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