I am excited to welcome you to the Halifax Fringe Festival to gather and to begin healing after a difficult year! This festival takes place in Mi’kma’ki, the traditional, unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw people, the caretakers of this beautiful land. I ask that each of us reflect on the role we play in these colonial, capitalist, racist and ableist systems designed to measure validity and erase identities.
For years I was told that my body was unacceptable on Nova Scotian stages because of my Disabilities. This taught me to recognize who is missing from our arts organizations, behind the scenes, in our audiences and on stage. I take great pride in my team’s dedication to ensuring that Fringe is a space where everyone is celebrated for who they are.
Since we were last able to gather, I have thought a lot about the opportunities Fringe presents. It was created as a space to assemble as outsiders by giving voice to those who are overlooked and stigmatized by our society. Most importantly, Fringe is a place where we are invited to make bold statements and transform the world around us. I have watched many Fringe shows that made me laugh, some that made me cry, and countless that left me thinking. At its core, it’s a celebration of the power of storytelling, where we are invited to experience our world through the lens of another person’s experience.
As we come together for this 31st Halifax Fringe Festival, my wish in these uncertain times is that you find comfort in these shared moments and allow yourself to be open to healing and to possibilities. After many months of isolation, let’s use our united voices to demand change through art. Let’s build a new arts community; one that no longer succeeds on principles of exclusion and silencing but is instead based in mutual aid and creating space for all of us! Now is the time for reinvention!
April Hubbard (she/her)
Mad, Disabled Artist
& Chair of the Halifax Fringe Festival