New Brunswick entertainer Scott Thomas performs with his son inside the BMO Studio Theatre in Saint John, N.B. in this submitted photo from 2021. (Submitted: Fundy Fringe Festival)

Once a year, the streets of Saint John fill with music, drama and magic at the Fundy Fringe Festival. The search for this year’s performers began as the Fringe organizers started planning for its 10th anniversary. 

The Fringe is typically a week-long festival that presents and supports a variety of local artists and performers. 

To prepare for their upcoming festival this summer, the organizers put out a call for submissions from performers of all mediums. 

“If you’re a magician or a storyteller or a theatre performer, dancer, musician, whatever it is, we’d love to have you at the Fringe,” said Drew Murdock, director of the Fundy Fringe Festival.

The Fundy Fringe Festival, formerly the Theatre on the Edge Festival, is a part of the larger collection of “Fringe Festivals” held across North America with the goal of creating an affordable space where everyone can experience unique live performances. 

Murdock said one of his favourite parts of the festival is being able to support local artists and give them the opportunity to perform in venues and on stages they may not have otherwise. 

“We always reserve half of our performers to the local talent. One of my favourite things is that we really get to celebrate local talent in Saint John, New Brunswick,” he said.

Drew Murdock, seen in this submitted portrait, is the director of the Fundy Fringe Festival in Saint John, N.B. (Submitted: Fundy Fringe Festival)

Though most festivals have a complicated selection process for their performers, including board members, votes and submissions, the Fundy Fringe Festival is different. 

Everyone is welcome to apply. Participants are selected through a hat draw, which keeps the process non-juried.

“If your name comes out [of the hat], you’re in the festival,” said Murdock. 

The lineup for the festival always includes a large variety of styles of performance as a result of this process. Murdock said after 10 years of the festival, they had “just about everything” on their stage. 

“I don’t know if there’s anything we haven’t had at the Fringe, but we’re always open to new projects,” he said. “You’re a performance artist, we accept you here.”

The draw announcing this year’s lineup will be on March 28.

Without knowing the lineup, Murdock said it’s hard to say what people can expect from the festival this year, but he is more concerned about being able to have the festival live and in-person.

“I’m hoping that by the summer our COVID protocols will be back in a place where we can just celebrate all together and have a fun time at the Fringe,” he said. “We’re hoping that the 10 year anniversary can be something special or maybe our biggest best festival yet.”