Tanya Nicole

Pounding pavement

Fringe Festival organizers amplify fringe artists—Aug 12–14

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Island Fringe Festival organizers shifted their focus to a new production, Pounding the Pavement: Celebrating and amplifying artists from the fringe, taking place August 12–14 in Charlottetown.

Pounding the Pavement will feature performances by Claire Byrne, Homemaker, Jay Gallant, Joce Reyome, Julie Bull, Reequal Smith, Sadie McCarney, Tanya Nicolle and more. Performances will be 10–20 minute vignettes that explore people’s journeys of discovery to having their voices heard—presented as dramatic readings of original poetry and plays, songs, dance and stand-up comedy.

Grace Kimpinski, director of the Island Fringe Festival says that Pounding the Pavement is happening to emphasize the value of diversity and work to eliminate barriers to those on the Island who are underrepresented, including Indigenous artists, artists of colour, LGBTQ artists and people with disabilities. “Devoting an entire production to amplifying diverse voices is something amazing. Island Fringe is just the producer, the power comes from the artists who are sharing their perspectives with us, and believe me, this will be a powerful show,” Kimpinski says.

Julie Bull, an Inuk from NunatuKavut living on PEI, will perform spoken-word art. Bull explains that for her, “writing is medicine. Laughter is medicine. Sharing stories and space is medicine. Though writing can often be an individual pursuit, the collective impacts reverberate when the words go from the page to the stage. Nakummek (thank you) for holding this space for artists from the fringe to share our stories.”

Jay Gallant says, “I’ve written my first play and Pounding the Pavement is a great opportunity to try out some of the dialogue in front of an audience. The play focuses on Sam—an Islander struggling to come to terms with being trans as an adult—and mirrors my own experience as a trans person. Since the event focuses on marginalized voices, I felt like it was the perfect place to try it out and get some feedback.”

Tanya Nicolle explains, “It feels good to be a part of a safe space performance where a diverse group of artists can share their work. Comedy is a male-dominated industry, so safe spaces don’t exist as often as one would like. While society is becoming more tolerant of accepting mental illness as a health issue, the idea of it being an actual disability is often silently pushed aside. I appreciate any platform where I can share jokes about my experience of living with a mental health condition.”

Rory Starkman, a long-time Fringer who is assisting behind-the-scenes has a lot to say about this show, “I am so grateful that Pounding the Pavement is happening. The Island Fringe Festival is usually one of the highlights of my summer, but now that the focus is on amplifying marginalized voices it has become even more powerful. Right now the energy is palpable. What with the global pandemic and more people waking up to the realities of violence and harm caused by systems like white supremacy, cisnormativity, heteronormativity and patriarchy, and their complicity in those systems. I think Pounding the Pavement is just the first step to genuinely beginning to interrogate and dismantle these systems, but most importantly I hope this show makes the audience think, and shift, and learn, and change.”

Pounding the Pavement takes place August 12–14 in the outdoor amphitheatre at Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. Shows start at 8 pm. Tickets available at the Confederation Centre box office.

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