Brian Paisley co-produced “El Fringe” (Latin America’s first Fringe Festival) in Ajijic in 1988
Brian Paisley, professor of drama at Red Deer College in Canada, visited Ajijic in early 1988 to help Ken Smedley produce El Fringe, Latin America’s first Fringe Festival. Paisley’s colleagues at Red Deer College included Larry Reece, the son-in-law of noted Canadian playwright George Ryga, who had visited Lake Chapala several years earlier and was a good friend of Smedley’s.
Paisley was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is well known in Western Canada for his numerous contributions to the development of Canadian theatre, most notably as the founder in 1982 of the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, the first Fringe festival in North America.
While visiting the Lake Chapala area, in addition to co-producing El Fringe, Paisley spent some time with Phyllis and Georg Rauch, and was so impressed by an early version of Georg Rauch’s war-time memoirs that he arranged to have them turned into a play, which received its world premiere at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. The memoirs were reissued in February 2015 by mainstream publisher Farrar Straus Giroux, as Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army.
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Tony Burton’s books include “Lake Chapala: A Postcard History” (2022), “Foreign Footprints in Ajijic” (2022), “If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s historic buildings and their former occupants” (2020), (available in translation as “Si Las Paredes Hablaran”), “Mexican Kaleidoscope” (2016), and “Lake Chapala Through the Ages” (2008).