Day 16 – A day of gratitude.

And just like that, it all comes to an end. The last shows are going up as I write this, the beer tent and patio are serving up the last of their amber liquid until 10:30, and crews and staff will start tearing down the 2015 edition of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre festival tonight and continue for the rest of the week.

My last day is actually tomorrow when we dismantle Venue 1 and Venue 2 during the day, but at 6pm tomorrow, I will officially hang up my lanyard and take a couple of months off before my last show with Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in September and October.

It’s a mixture of celebration and trepidation that I feel right now, knowing that I’m leaving these concrete halls in a few months, but it is definitely time to move over and let the younger artists and craftspeople step in. The festival is in good hands with this vibrant group coming up, and I look forward to seeing where they take the Fringe and the rest of the year’s theatre and cultural events.

Right after I write this, I’m heading into the last of my Fringe shows and the last time I will press GO on any lighting or audio gear in this building. I started the Winnipeg Fringe with my first show, The George Ryga Centre’s production of Portrait of a Lady on July 1 1999, and end with Grindstone Theatre’s The 11 O’Clock Number. I have thoroughly enjoyed those shows along with the 85 other companies and their 680 performances through the years.

I’ve seen artists grow, audiences cheer and cry, and witnessed some of the greatest moments of my entire theatrical career at this festival, and I thank each and every individual that has been involved in anyway. I have been truly blessed to be in your company.

And with that, I will cross off the final lines on the schedule in Venue 2 and remember all of the good times as we strike the chairs to the loading dock, share some food and drink at the staff party, and load out the papier-mâché llama.

I will miss you my friends.

Fare thee well festival of dreams…