Welcome: From Board Chair April Hubbard

Welcome back Halifax Fringe Family!
Welcome back Halifax Fringe Family!

2022 is a year full of transition and possibilities! We are finally able to return to full capacity in our venues with masking in place to protect vulnerable audience members like me. Equally meaningful, our artists again have a chance to be paid for the work they put into their performances.

We are also welcoming a new Executive Director as we send Lee-Anne off on her next adventure. Lee-Anne has given so much of herself and her life to the Halifax Fringe. We will miss her wealth of experience, talent for grant writing, patience, and welcoming smile at future Fringes. But there is also excitement for the possibilities that come with the arrival of Sara Graham. She has proven herself as a committed arts worker during these tough pandemic years while always prioritizing access and community care. Fringe has made steps toward improving the care of our artists, volunteers, and staff under Lee-Anne’s leadership and I know Sara will take us even further down this path while encouraging us to balance work with rest.

The search for our new ED allowed me to measure our progress as an organization. I noticed positive changes; more than 70% of our applicants were female, non-binary, or gender non-conforming, and well over half identified as having a Disability, chronic illness, or diagnosis that affects how they interact in the world. This tells me that the work we are doing to create safe space for these underrepresented communities is paying off. At the same time, the process highlighted areas where we have more learning to do and changes that need to be made; none of our applicants identified as Black or as a person of color, with a single applicant disclosing that they discovered their Indigenous ancestry later in life.  To me, this says that we as an organization are not doing enough to show IBPOC community members that we care about their needs and are a safe space to work. I recognize that this needs to start at the highest level and be modeled throughout the Halifax Fringe, every day, in every choice we make.

As we enter this next phase under the leadership of Sara Graham and me, there is lots of work ahead. Our first focus is to build our board and consult with community members to better understand what needs to happen. I commit to listening to anyone whose voice is not being heard. We recognize that the status quo in the arts does not work for so many of us, and I promise that I will do everything in my power to create a home at the Halifax Fringe for everyone!

April Hubbard (she/her)
Chair of the Halifax Fringe Festival
Artist & Disability Advocate