Shelley Marshall On The Fringe
Written by Shelley Marshall
- 1. not part of the mainstream; unconventional, peripheral, or extreme.
I remember the moment exactly: I logged on to my computer and there in my Inbox was a “Congratulations”.
“What’s this about?” I thought. I had no idea the lottery list for the Toronto Fringe had been released and there amongst the alphabetical winners was “Shelley Marshall”.
I could have traveled to Toronto from my country home the night before to be there for the live announcement but the chances of this small town woman about to hit 40 getting selected into the Fringe was as slim as my waist in 1985!
After the rush of joy, tears, and a spin in my office chair, I called every living soul’s phone number I knew – some TWICE!
I learned of the Fringe Festivals while on a mental ward. I had been committed after a failed suicide attempt and a dear friend brought me up a trilogy of one-women shows written by Sandra Shamas. I ate it up. I especially ate up the preface that revealed she wrote her first one-woman show on the plane to Edmonton where Sandra would perform it the next day.
I thought to myself, I could do that! I often say I am going to do things and I think of a million things I want to do but I always fall back on my couch with a longing and a not knowing how to do it.
I filled out the forms for the Toronto Fringe, closed my eyes and imagined sharing my story. The story of how I went from a broken woman, standing on a chair in my garage begging for freedom from the demons of my past.
That play was called “Phoney”, a thirty minute piece that changed my life. It did not win any awards or get pick of the fringe. It had low attendance some nights and no big producers came out to see it and take it to Broadway. But what it did do was life changing.
It taught me to dig deeper, to really go to the place inside that has worked out its shit and now has the fermented wine of goodness and authenticity. That Fringe showed me that I could finally complete something I set out to do; it connected me with other artists who, like me, crave to express their art and soul.
Fast forward 7 years later and I am basking in the honour and excitement of being nominated for the Canadian Comedy Award for “Best One Person Show” for Hold Mommy’s Cigarette the revised and honed version of my first Fringe show. I thought winning, “Best Theatre Production in Hamilton”, Now Magazine was my happy ending to this adventure but life is beautiful and if you share your spirit, create your work to express the best – and maybe the worst parts of you , you’ll truly feel alive and that will bring others alive!
I am honoured to be hosting the Opening Night Gala for this year’s Hamilton Fringe Festival, my home where my story takes place. Please come and join in supporting and celebrating these beautiful souls who will be telling their stories, sharing their visions and living their dreams.
Shelley Marshall “Best New Discovery” Now Magazine has evolved into a brand of comedy all her own. Her accolades include this year’s “Best One Person Show” for The Canadian Comedy Awards and a “Best Female Stand Up“ nomination 2009. She has been the televised host of the Hamilton Music Awards 3 years and hosted the Morning Show on Y108 earlier this year. Shelley’s first ever Television movie The Award Winning “The Auction” recently aired on CBC. Shelley’s appearances on “The Ron James Show” currently airing on the CBC. Not only is Shelley known for her unique style of comedy, she is a well respected producer and star of the “highly recommended” “The Full Bawdy Comedy Show”. Shelley has taken her keen sense of comedy and brought together a Comedy Review that has sold out Venues to adorning fans everywhere. The Toronto Star describes her performance as “one of the most side splitting costume changes to ever grace a stage”. Shelley has a vulnerability and charm that evoke an infectious laughter that keeps audiences coming back for more. Her current smash sell out hit “Hold Mommy’s Cigarette” is preparing for a Canadian Tour holdmommyscigarette.com Shelley Marshall on Facebook, Shelley Marshall on Twitter
Coming Up! July 20 11 AM – 2PM