Efron readies for Fringe future
> BY JANET SMITH
Laura Efron is preparing for her first, full-on experience as the new executive director of the Vancouver Fringe Festival—and she’s stocking up.
“I have been getting tips: to bring in a couple different pairs of shoes, a couple different changes of clothes, coats for different weather, and food supplies,” she tells the Straight over the phone on a brief break from the frenzy.
The long-time Vancouver arts administrator knows a bit about what she’s in for. After all, she got her start here as a volunteer at the Fringe in 1997—a gig she credits with leading to her nine-year stint at the Arts Club Theatre Company in multiple roles, and various cultural jobs since.
However, she says she’s gaining a new perspective on the theatre extravaganza that takes over Granville Island and other sites across the city for 11 days.
“It’s just a lot of moving pieces and it’s interesting to see the details from the inside, and which shows get put into which venues,” she says.
Efron has taken the reins at the Fringe at a time when it’s wrapping up its last three-year strategic plan and preparing to plot out its next phase. Efron wants to get through the full cycle of planning and carrying out this Fringe—in December she will have been at the fest for a full year—before she starts to make her mark on it, though.
“I am definitely shaping a vision over time,” she explains, and offers some hints at her areas of interest. “One thing I’ve learned working at the Fringe is we have quite a demand from people wanting to take part that can’t. We see 250 to 300 applications, but 100 shows. How can we engage all these people in our community?”
She also wants to move the fest strongly toward more diversity,