Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch with Intrepid Theatre executive director Heather Lindsay. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Victoria Fringe Festival operators applaud increase in grant funding

B.C. boosts arts council funding $15 million over three years

Victoria’s Intrepid Theatre executive director Heather Lindsay is breathing a little easier this week following the creation of a three-year funding announcement from the B.C. Arts Council.

The latest round of Arts Council grants (there are three grant periods throughout the year) is a total of $1.5 million, distributed to 191 people and organizations.

The decision to create a three-year grant commitment came from a round of community consultations by the B.C. Arts Council. For theatre companies such as Intrepid, which has doubled in size the last 10 years, the B.C. Arts Council funding is vital, Lindsay said.

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“Without it, there would be no Fringe,” she said, adding tickets to Fringe shows could cost as much as $75 each, instead of under $10.

Intrepid runs the annual Victoria Fringe Festival at which time their employee numbers swell from five full-time members to an additional 47 seasonal and part-time employees.

“This is really crucial for strengthening the foundation of companies who present [festivals] annually,” Lindsay said. “We all applaud them for it.”

Intrepid delivers three festivals annually to about 35,000 people and this allows Lindsay to shape the festivals more artistically.

“I can think ahead about the artists we’re presenting in our festivals,” Lindsay said. “I can bring in artists from around Canada and the world, and we can invest back into our local artists. It allows me time to travel and think ahead.”

This year’s funding for Intrepid is $63,000 but Lindsay doesn’t yet know how much it will increase next year.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare announced in Oak Bay on Monday that the B.C. Arts Council grants are growing $15 million over the next three years ($5 million per year). It will bring the annual budget to $34 million in 2019-20.

Among the Arts Council increases is a jump from 77 community festival grants last year to 102 this year.

Beare acknowledged recently deceased former mayor Nils Jensen as a champion for the arts.

“Mayor Jensen understood the central role that arts play in the social and economic vitality of communities,” Beare said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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Intrepid Theatre executive director Heather Lindsay at the B.C. Arts Council announcement in Oak Bay on Monday, April 29. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Intrepid Theatre executive director Heather Lindsay at the B.C. Arts Council announcement in Oak Bay on Monday, April 29. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Intrepid Theatre executive director Heather Lindsay at the B.C. Arts Council announcement in Oak Bay on Monday, April 29. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

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