Fringe Festival performer apologizes after starting to remove audience member’s shirt

The issue of consent is in the spotlight at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival after an incident at a late night show on Wednesday.

During Late Night Cabaret, a performer brought a man up on stage and, as part of the scene, began removing his shirt.

The performer quickly realized the man did not consent, immediately stopped the show, and apologized.

The man called police, who determined charges would not be laid.

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“Consent was not achieved in that moment and everyone in the scenario recognizes that,” Fringe executive director Adam Mitchell said.

“The performer did have another performance scheduled for Late Night Cabaret. We have removed that performance.”

Mitchell said the festival is working with the patron, the group he was with, and the performer to better understand what happened and to offer support.

“We’ll be asking the artist to pursue some additional training to ensure that they understand the basis of our Safer Spaces policy,” he added.

READ MORE: Play pulled from Edmonton Fringe Festival after man convicted of possessing child porn found to be involved

In a statement, Fringe performer Mike Delamont said he regrets completely putting the audience member in a position they weren’t comfortable with.

“I immediately recognized I did not request clear consent and that this individual may not be comfortable with participating,” Delamont said. “I stopped the scene and he left the stage.

“I offer my sincerest apologies for any harm I have caused.”

The Fringe Festival’s Safer Space policy is posted on its website. It also provides a method of reporting an incident online.