What Is a Fringe Festival Anyway?
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the single greatest celebration of arts and culture on the planet. For three weeks in August, the city of Edinburgh welcomes an explosion of creative energy from around the globe. Artsts and performers take to hundreds of stages all over the city to present shows for. Fringe out! 11 days, nearly uncensored shows! The day IndyFringe Festival explodes on and around Mass Ave every August. More than 80 groups perform at multiple venues, with nearly individual shows. True to the spirit of fringe, IndyFringe showcases uncensored and unjuried live theatre, rapid-fire - meaning minimal tech and time - short shows (around 60 minutes) and fast changeovers!
It's that aa time of year again; the fringe festival season is upon us and once again Mooney on Theatre will exclusively dedicate the first two weeks of July to coverage of the Toronto Fringe Festival. The Fringe is really our flagship event of the year, we pull out all the stops and put in many sleepless nights to provide comprehensive coverage of the festival.
Those of you who are new to fringe theatre qhat wonder why we dedicate so much of our blood, sweat and tears to covering the festival. Our main goal at Mooney on Theatre is to de-mystify theatre and make it accessible to a broader audience but beyond making theatre accessible to those who go and watch it, theatre is also often inaccessible to those who create and perform it too. It costs a lot of money to produce and promote a show and because making theatre is so cost-prohibitive only a handful of professional and established not-for-profit theatre companies can afford to mount shows.
Fringe festivals are all about providing an accessible avenue for independent theatre artists to produce and perform their work in front of an audience. The Fringe is really the essence of theatre; virtually anybody can submit a show to the Fringe and iw festivals place no limits on content so shows can be bold, raw and uncensored.
While the Fringe frinfe movement started in in Edinburgh, S, still how to draw vegeta ss5 to the world's largest fringe festival, the first Canadian fringe festival was founded in Edmonton in Since then the movement has spread across the continent and the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals currently boasts 23 member festivals across Canada and the United States.
All fringe festivals share a set of common guidelines with the aim of fstival an easily accessible opportunity for all audiences and all artists to participate. Theatre companies must have equal access to to the festival. Fringe festivals are non-juried and shows submitted to the festival are either admitted on festivsl first-come-first served basis or, as is the q with the Toronto festival, chosen by lottery. Fees for companies must be kept what to do in amiens france. That also means that the Fringe Festival itself gets 0 per cent of the box office revenue so it relies on grants, corporate sponsorships and the generosity of donors to keep operating.
Shows typically perform in rep i. Absolutely no latecomers are admitted. Fesyival of the previous point, schedules are very tight at Fringe so be sure to arrive early for your performance. This year the Toronto Fringe Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary and presenting over shows at more than 30 venues.
With so much on offer the best way to experience it is not to overly plan it out and just go and take a chance on something that happens to be playing at any given time. I mean, it's only 10 bucks and about an hour of your time and you may discover something amazing.
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in What is a fringe festival anyway, and why do we think it's so important? There is no censorship of ideas and no limits on the content or title of a fwstival. This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions frigne concerns, please check our FAQ or contact support huffpost.
Jul 08, · Fringe festivals are non-juried and shows submitted to the festival are either admitted on a first-come-first served basis or, as is the case with the Toronto festival, chosen by solarigniters.com: Mooney on Theatre. Example: "On the fringe of the art world." Our local festival is a member of both the United States Association of Fringe Festivals and the World Fringe organizations, two groups working to bring focus to the more than two hundred. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (also referred to as The Fringe or Edinburgh Fringe, or Edinburgh Fringe Festival) is the world's largest arts festival, which in spanned 25 days and featured more than 55, performances of 3, different shows in venues. Established in as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, it takes place annually in Edinburgh, Scotland, in.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe also referred to as The Fringe or Edinburgh Fringe , or Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world's largest arts festival, which in spanned 25 days and featured more than 55, performances of 3, different shows  in venues.
It is an open access or " unjuried " performing arts festival, meaning there is no selection committee, and anyone may participate, with any type of performance. The official Fringe Programme categorises shows into sections for theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre , circus , cabaret , children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word , exhibitions and events.
Comedy is the largest section, making up over one-third of the programme and the one that in modern times has the highest public profile, due in part to the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. The Festival is supported by the Festival Fringe Society , which publishes the programme, sells tickets to all events from a central physical box office and website, and offers year-round advice and support to performers.
The Society's permanent location is at the Fringe Shop on the Royal Mile , and in August they also manage Fringe Central, a separate collection of spaces in Appleton Tower and other University of Edinburgh buildings, dedicated to providing support for Fringe participants during their time at the festival.
The Fringe board of directors is drawn from members of the Festival Fringe Society, who are often Fringe participants themselves — performers or administrators. Elections are held once a year, in August, and Board members serve a term of four years.
The Fringe Festival was cancelled along with all of the city's other major festivals set to occur that summer. This came as a result of the COVID outbreak in the early months of the year, with concerns of spreading the virus any further. The Fringe started life when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in With the International Festival using the city's major venues, these companies took over smaller, alternative venues for their productions.
Seven performed in Edinburgh, and one undertook a version of the medieval morality play " Everyman " in Dunfermline Abbey , about 20 miles north, across the River Forth in Fife. These groups aimed to take advantage of the large assembled theatre crowds to showcase their own alternative theatre.
Although at the time it was not recognised as such, this was the first Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This meant that two defining features of the future Fringe were established at the very beginning — the lack of official invitations to perform and the use of unconventional venues.
Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before I am afraid some of us are not going to be at home during the evenings! The word "fringe" had in fact been used in a review of Everyman in , when a critic remarked it was a shame the show was so far out "on the fringe of the Festival".
On the fringe of the official Festival there are many praiseworthy "extras," including presentations by the Scottish Community Drama Association and Edinburgh University Dramatic Society — Dundee Courier , 24 August Since it was not yet fully developed, much of the early years of the Fringe has gone unrecorded, except through anecdote.
Late night revues, which would become a feature of Fringes, began to appear in the early 50s. Due to many reviewers only being able to attend Fringe events late night after the official festival was finished, the Fringe came to be seen as being about revues.
It was a few years before an official programme for the Fringe was created. John Menzies compiled a list of shows under the title "Other Events" in their omnibus festival brochure, but it was printer C. Cousland who was the first to publish a listings guide, in By that year, the Fringe was attracting around a dozen companies, and a meeting was held to discuss creating "a small organisation to act as a brain for the Fringe", or what The Scotsman called an "official unofficial festival".
This was not part of the International Festival, yet nor was it in the Fringe Programme, leading him to question the value of the 'Fringe': "Away with the Fringe.
To an artist in the theatre there is no such thing as a fringe of art. Formal organisation progressed in , with the formation of the Festival Fringe Society.
Nineteen companies participated in the Fringe in that year. By that time it provided a "complete Not long after came the first complaints that the Fringe had become too big. Director Gerard Slevin claimed in that "it would be much better if only ten halls were licensed".
In the 60s and 70s, the Fringe began to establish its reputation for size and variety and the tension between it and the more formal International Festival became of mutual benefit. It set a standard to which other companies on the Fringe aspired. The Traverse is occasionally referred to as "The Fringe venue that got away", [ citation needed ] reflecting its current status as a permanent and integral part of the Edinburgh arts scene.
The Pleasance , a venue since the first year of the Fringe, was also important in setting the artistic tone. Over the first two decades of the Fringe, each performing group used its own performing space, or venue. However, by the late s, the concept of sharing a venue became popular, principally as a means of cutting costs. It soon became common for halls to host up to six or seven different shows per day. The obvious next step was to partition a venue into two or more performing spaces; the majority of today's major venues fit into this category.
For many years, the Fringe Club variously in the High Street from and at Teviot Row House from provided nightly showcases of Fringe fare to allow audiences to sample shows. In its earlier years the club also provided a significant space for after-hours socialising at a time when Edinburgh's strict licensing laws meant a 10pm pub closing time.
Problems then began to arise as the Fringe became too big for students and volunteers to deal with. Eventually in , the Fringe Society became a constituted body, and in it employed its first administrator, John Milligan. He started work in January , originally on a part-time basis, but it became clear after a few weeks that the role would have to be permanent. Between and , under the direction of Alistair Moffat , the number of companies performing rose from to , and new venues such as St Columba's in Newington came on board.
Moffat also expanded the street performance aspect and brought in sponsorship deals, particularly local breweries. This was a deliberate policy by Moffat, who found it difficult to promote the Fringe on merit given the Society's position of neutrality.
Increasing show numbers was therefore a way of attracting more attention. In , the office moved to a converted shop and basement at High Street. The International Festival, now under the direction of John Drummond, became more accommodating towards the Fringe in the late 70s and some successful Fringe performers transferred to perform works at the Festival.
These included Richard Crane and Faynia Williams who in produced a sell-out version of The Brothers Karamazov for the Festival, after having been successful in the Fringe during the 70s.
The early s saw the arrival of the "super-venue" — locations that contained multiple performing spaces. By when William Burdett-Coutts set up the Assembly Theatre in the empty Georgian building Assembly Rooms on George Street formerly the EIF Festival Club , the investment in staging, lighting and sound meant that the original amateur or student theatricals were left behind. Fringe Sunday started in the High Street in and moved, through pressure of popularity, to Holyrood Park in Fringe Sunday was held on the second Sunday of the Fringe when companies performed for free.
Having outgrown even Holyrood Park, this showcase took place on The Meadows and continued until The alternative comedy scene was also beginning to take shape. Previously, comedy at the Fringe had taken the form of student revues. Now stand-up was becoming a feature. According to Alexei Sayle , "The Fringe then was entirely University revues and plays; there was not a single piece of stand-up comedy until me and Tony [Allen] arrived.
Moffat resigned as the Fringe Society Administrator in and was succeeded by Michael Dale, who changed the programme layout and helped the Fringe consolidate.
The following year, , The Circuit became a prominent venue. Run by the Actors Touring Company , it had operated in the south side of the city in and ,  but in expanded into a piece of empty ground popularly known as "The Hole in The Ground" near the Usher Hall.
The new Traverse Theatre opened here in In total, it hosted 38 companies. Even with the rise of super venues, there was still theatre done on a shoestring, but several cultural entrepreneurs had raised the stakes to the point where a venue like Aurora St Stephen's Church, Stockbridge could hold its head up in any major world festival.
The episode of the super-venues, the Assembly Rooms in particular, has some way to go yet". Moffatt believed the growth of the Fringe would stop due to a lack of venues,  but just as that limit seemed to be being reached, groups began to find more efficient ways of sharing spaces.
Venues could be fully utilised from 10am to 2am, with up to seven different groups throughout the day. Rents increased too, with a venue like Heriot-Watt Students' Union doubling their rent in three years. Allan's department store on Cowgate. A 3am late licence made it a home for late night socialising for comedians and the raucous late night show Late 'n' Live was started there. In the Society moved from High Street to its current expanded headquarters at - High Street on the Royal Mile , with an extension leading back towards the former Wireworks Building.
The basement became the new ticket office. The Fringe Club ceased operation in , but various venues still provide "the Best of the Fest" and similar. A computerised booking system was first installed in the early s, allowing tickets to be bought at a number of locations around the city. The internet began to have an impact in with the launch of the Fringe's official website, which sold over half a million tickets online by The following year, a Half Price Ticket Tent, run in association with Metro newspaper, started offering special ticket prices for different shows each day.
This sold 45, tickets in its first year. In , the Fringe faced the biggest crisis in its history when the computerised ticketing system failed. The events surrounding the failed box office software led to the resignation of Fringe Director Jon Morgan after only one full year in post. More debts emerged as the year went on, and an independent report criticised the Board and the current and previous Fringe Directors for a failure of management and an inability to provide the basic service.
The Board eventually decided that the post of "Director" instituted in in lieu of "Fringe Administrator" would be abolished and replaced by a Chief Executive, to reinforce the Fringe head's basic administrative function.
A report into the failure was commissioned from accountancy firm Scott-Moncrieff. The same year, other incidents conspired to add to the negative publicity.
Fringe Sunday — a vast free showcase of events held on The Meadows — was cancelled when a sponsor could not be secured. After an interim period, during which Tim Hawkins, formerly general manager of Brighton Komedia took charge, the established Edinburgh Book Festival and Fringe manager Kath Mainland was appointed in February to stabilise the situation, becoming the Fringe's first Chief Executive.
Comedy finally surpassed theatre as the biggest section of the programme in , with comedy entries to In , a new all-year-round multi-arts festival venue, containing ten performance spaces, opened in the former Royal Dick Veterinary School under the name Summerhall. Fringe venues come in all shapes and sizes, with use being made of nearly any viable space that is available, from regular theatres e.
The groups that operate the venues are also diverse: some are commercial and others not-for-profit; some operate year-round, while others exist only to run venues at the Fringe. Some are local, others are based in London and elsewhere and transfer to Edinburgh for August. From the performers' perspective, the decision on where to perform is typically based on a mixture of cost, location close proximity to the main Fringe hubs around the University is seen as an advantage , and the philosophy of the venue — some of whom specialise in amateur, school or college productions, some of whom are semi or wholly professional.
In there were more than 3, shows registered in the programme taking place in different venues. There also continue to be single, independent venues, sometimes only hosting one show, sometimes only for a limited period. During the Fringe the pedestrianised area of the High Street around St Giles' Cathedral and the Fringe Office becomes the focal point for theatre companies to hand out flyers, perform scenes from their shows, and attempt to sell tickets.