Planning is underway for this year’s iteration of Shuswap Theatre’s Theatre on the Edge Festival. (Lachlan Labere - Salmon Arm Observer)

Riskier fare sought for Shuswap Theatre festival

Preparations underway for 2020 Theatre on the Edge

By Barb Brouwer


Artists who enjoy living on the edge are invited to apply to Shuswap Theatre’s off-the-wall summer experience.

The sixth year of the Theatre on the Edge Festival (TOTE) takes place July 17 to 19, and this year’s artistic director Ann Skelhorne and executive producer Marcus Smith have a few goals in mind to take the event well into the future.

Skelhorne and Smith, longtime theatre members who have performed on-stage and behind the scenes, say their jobs are pretty much interchangeable and that they are working with a great team of volunteers.

“Marcus and I have been technicians in the booth since day one and now we’re taking on the administration side and learning how the whole festival is put together,” Skelhorne says.

Skelhorne and Smith are hoping to attract performers both locally and from farther afield, including those who might be on a fringe circuit travelling through Salmon Arm.

“We’re looking for diversity and inclusion and we want to do stuff that’s a little bit riskier, maybe offending a few people but expanding their view of art,” Skelhorne says. “There’s always a socio-political aspect to theatre, sometimes psycho-emotional and the mainstream community doesn’t often get to explore these outlying topics.”

They intend to follow the familiar TOTE format of seven shows over three days in the theatre and to present a great lineup of music in the outside Edge Club Beer Garden for patrons to enjoy between shows.

As well as satisfying loyal audiences, Skelhorne and Smith are hoping to attract new fans of all ages and interests.

Read more: Theatre on the Edge returns to Salmon Arm

Read more: Bold, brave and intriguing theatre lined up for Edge festival

And they hope to take the TOTE festival out from behind the theatre and into the community.

“We’re looking at community partnerships with the Arts Centre, downtown association, Shuswap Tourism the City of Salmon Arm and any other group that’s interested,” she says. “If we moved into town, we could engage the whole community a little bit more.”

TOTE organizers are also hoping to attract more volunteers and are working on providing the best possible experience.

“We want our volunteers to come and have a good time and help us grow,” Skelhorne says. “We are open to all artists and to every kind of performing art you can think of.”

And, according to the website – “artists of colour, Indigenous artists, and/or artists from LGBTQ+ communities are heartily encouraged to apply.”

To apply to perform on stage or make music in the beer garden go online to, click on Season/Events/Tickets and select Theatre on the Edge from the drop-down box.

Theatre productions must be between 30 to 60 minutes in length. If you are interested in applying but the application process creates a barrier, call 250-832-9283 or email

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