Welcome: From Executive Director Lee-Anne Poole

Welcome to the 2022 Halifax Fringe!
Welcome to the 2022 Halifax Fringe!

As we come together to celebrate being able to come together again, I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. And to acknowledge that those of us who are settlers benefit from their land: as settlers in K’jipuktuk, as well as fringe theatre as a movement originating from Edinburgh 70+ years ago. 

This is my 7th (and final) festival as ED. I had lots of ideas and goals for The Fringe Festival. Some happened, and I’m so proud. Unfortunately, some didn’t happen, and it’s time for me to move on. I think the Fringe Festival is best when it’s constantly pushed with new energy, challenges, and ideas – I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves with new leadership. I’m looking forward to seeing how Sara’s new energy and ideas challenge and grow the festival—feeling the warmth and excitement around announcing Sara as our Incoming Executive Director has been inspiring. 

I’m not leaving for another job. Instead, I’m hoping to refocus on my own work. I used to write all the time and make my art. I miss that part of myself. Some people are good at running arts organizations and making art. I’m not. At some point, I felt like I wasn’t an artist anymore, which made me sad. 

I want to thank previous Executive Director Ken Pinto and Thom Fitzgerald. Ken founded The Atlantic Fringe Festival Society in 1990 and ran it for the first 20 years. No small accomplishment! I’m so grateful for the years of dedication he put into this festival – it’s a gift to the theatre community and Halifax. Then in 2011, Thom Fitzgerald grew the festival in a bold and exciting way. He made lasting impacts by creating programs like The Artis Pass (making free entry for all festival artists possible) and the Play It Forward Program. Play It Forward encourages patrons to leave change (or any donation) at the box office, and anyone can come to the box office and request a free Play It Forward ticket. No questions asked. The artists still get their admission fee, and we keep the work as accessible as possible. You can ask at the box office for a Play It Forward ticket or email boxoffice@halifafringe.ca to request one. 

Finally – I want to thank everyone for continuing to mask in our venues. Halifax Fringe prioritizes accessibility and community care. We require masks indoors to keep each other safe. Together we can make our festival a safer space for everyone, including our immunocompromised patrons, artists, volunteers, and staff. If you forget yours, free masks will be available at each venue. Thank you for your care and support! 

Much love,

Lee-Anne (she/her)
Outgoing Executive Director
(2016 – 2022)