There’s a quality in Pip Bradford that reminds me of Tigger; pouncing with enthusiasm, energy and joy. “I love Fringe with a passion you would not believe,” she says. “It’s the community; it’s a way of engaging artists.”
Already involved in the Fringe as a ‘25th anniversary planning committee intern’ (“The longest title ever existed,” says Bradford), she took a leave from her position of mainspace theatre technician at Tarragon Theatre for the role of Youth Outreach Coordinator at Fringe Toronto. Despite working as a technician for a theatre renowned for its production values across Canada, Bradford was looking to evolve as a person, and to utilize her people skills.
“There are only so many ways I can hang a lamp,” she says.
The Toronto Fringe’s Youth and Artist Outreach offers programs that strengthen the theatre sector and equip up-and-coming theatre makers with the tools they need to succeed in their creative endeavors. Bradford explains there are three levels of youth outreach at Fringe festival:
10 youth from the Paprika Young Artists Festival are mentored in a production showcase at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Bradford is perhaps most excited about The 100. In this new initiative, 100 youth are given free, all-access VIP pass to the Toronto Fringe Festival. Bradford calls The 100 “The rootin’est tootin’est band of young theatre entrepreneurs in Toronto.” The 17-25-year-olds are taken out of the rehearsal hall and into the real world. They’re given an opportunity to look at the business of doing theatre, and listen to theatre professionals, including Ashley Ballantyne of Canadian Stage, on areas such as guerrilla marketing, and online promotions. The 100 recently took what they’ve learned to create a flash mob event. Dressed as elderly (and slightly stuffy) theatre goers, the 100 took to the streets of Toronto protesting how cheap Fringe theatre is.
Inspired by DaPoPo Theatre’s monthly Café DaPoPo in Halifax, Bradford has also arranged for The 100 to perform daily at the Fringe Club, where they are literally offering a menu of theatrical delights. Patrons can order up a sonnet, a monologue, a dance or a song from the talented 100 participants. “My dream was to spend all day, every day at the Fringe Club,” says Bradford. “I need bigger dreams!” she laughs.
And like the other talented women I’ve talked to for Arts 9-5 Fringe Edition, this isn’t her first Fringe experience. Bradford worked on a show for Fringe in Halifax “Reflections on Giving Birth to a Squid” at Fringe Halifax, which also toured across Canada. For Bradford, part of the magic of Fringe is the opportunity to see amazing plays without the ‘bells and whistles.’ Bradford explains instead a couple of actors are likely to find themselves on a bare stage with LED flashing finger lights. “It’s about the inventiveness of the space and the shows,” she says.
As well as being a passionate supporter of the next wave of theatre makers, and one fine theatre technician, Pip Bradford is also the new millennium’s answer to Emily Post. On her blog, Tips From Pip, she posts well-mannered and practical etiquette. I couldn’t leave without asking her for a Tip From Pip when it comes to Fringe.
“Be early,” Pip says without hesitation. “For everything.”
In your life how are you “on the Fringe?”
“I’m not a person interested in filling a box. It never occurred to me I couldn’t be a theatre technician and a Youth Outreach Coordinator.”
Visit www. For Tips From Pip: http://tipsfrompip.tumblr.com/