undercurrents: Ottawa’s favourite indie theatre festival, returning live and in person!

Ottawa Fringe is thrilled to announce that tickets are now on sale for undercurrents: theatre below the mainstream, running April 20-30th, 2022. Not only that, but we are back to live and in person performances!

This year, Ottawa Fringe invites you to enjoy the beautiful beginnings of spring with us, featuring eight incredible shows from across the country. “With Spring comes new beginnings, so we’re excited that our 2022 undercurrents festival is running this Spring – a new beginning for in-person theatre festivals and for a new Fringe team! We look forward to coming out of hibernation and to seeing you all in Arts Court this April,” says Executive Director Alain Richer.

Kicking off the festival is Cart Before the Horse Theatre with Yarns, an ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration between Francophone/Belgian musician, Martin Dawagne and Anglophone/Canadian actor, Magan Carty. The result is a weird hybrid between a Rock concert and contemporary theatre play; a one-man symphony of multi-layered live looping and distortion, interspersed with spoken prose. Yarns will be performed in Arts Court Theatre April 20-23.

“Aristotle’s Dick” was their only hit song, and now a younger, hipper band wants to steal it. Veteran Canadian punk band, The Persistent Stain, struggles to play yet one more gig in another nowhere town. Catch The Persistent Stain by Geoff McBride & Margo MacDonald,a comedy which also hits hard, asks tough questions, and touches on soft spots April 21-23 in SAW.

On Sunday, April 24th, Scantily Glad Theatre brings a screening of Something in the Water to Arts Court Theatre. It will then be available on-demand until the end of the festival. When Grumms transforms into a squid monster, they must hide their secret identity and disguise as a “normal human woman”. Inspired by performer/creator S.E. Grummett’s experience coming out as transgender, Something in the Water weaves a touching story that anyone can relate to.

Kicking off our second week of undercurrents is My Good Friend Jay created, directed, and performed by Montana Adams, winner of the 2019 University of Ottawa Emerging Artist Award. As told by Montana Adams, Akwesasne is a Mohawk reserve that lies stuck between the borders of Ontario, Quebec and New York State. For settlers it’s a geographical nightmare, for Akwesasronnon it is an inconvenient reality. My Good Friend Jay will be at Arts Court Theatre
April 27-30.

Lucy van Oldenbarneveld/Roller Queens Collective is coming to Arts Court Theatre April 28-30 with Me, Vivien Leigh and the Roller Rink, performed by Lucy van Oldenbarneveld and directed by Skeleton Key Theatre’s Artistic Director, Kate Smith. Broadcaster and storyteller Lucy van Oldenbarneveld recounts her adolescence growing up in Hamilton, Ontario, attempting to escape gritty, working class Steeltown through the perceived glamour and romance of the novel and film “Gone with the Wind.”

Last up in our mainstage selection is Tita Jokes, brought to you by the Tita Collective. Tita Jokes is a musical comedy revue by Tita Collective that centres the Filipin* people in our lives, specifically the female elders we lovingly call Tita. A love letter to our community, the show explores our struggles, heartaches and resiliency, and how we cope through humour, storytelling and song. Don’t miss Tita Jokes in the Arts Court Theatre April 29 and 30.

Also at undercurrents this year is the Discovery Series featuring our under development residents! Both of these works will be in the Atelier April 21-23.

Grocery Store is a timely absurdist comedy about the bleak realities of being employed as an “essential worker” for a multi-million dollar corporation during the Coronavirus pandemic and how it has impacted different social groups. The play follows a cashier trying to make ends meet while pursuing higher education in a university town.

Camp BFF4E is an epic musical journey with Alli Harris through a variety of characters you meet at summer camp. The overachieving camp-obsessed child, the begrudging councillor, and the girl you meet and are now immediate best friends with, Camp BFF4E is a ridiculous ride
through a wild week at summer camp.

New Play Tuesday (NPT) is back this year on Tuesday, April 26 at 7:00pm. More details on NPT and other ancillary programming is to be announced, stay tuned!


Advance tickets are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at undercurrentsfestival.ca. undercurrents tickets are sold at a “Pick Your Price” model of $5, $10, $20, $50, or $75. Tickets purchased at $50 or $75 are eligible for a $25 tax receipt. We have been working towards addressing access points to ensure everyone feels welcome in our spaces. Accessible pricing means you decide what price you pay for your experience with us at undercurrents – no questions asked.


A full festival schedule can be found here.