What is Fringe?

The origin of the Fringe began in Edinburgh Scotland when a group of artists decided to create their own performing arts festival. From its humble beginnings in 1947, the original Edinburgh Festival Fringe is now a massive annual event attracting visitors and artists from all over the world. This idea took off!

Shows are sometimes unpredictable, which makes Fringe unique, but also you will see productions that are familiar held in either traditional or non-traditional venues that makes going to a Fringe an enjoyable occasion. Expect the unexpected! For example, shows have been held in hotel rooms, bus stops, car parks, vans, in fact what ever venue an artist can work on, theyʻll give it a go and take on that challenge.

Being bold fosters a healthy attitude to create amazing work that can fall into any category. Which brings up the question - what is fringe? Here is a fine interpretation from our friends at the United States Association of Fringe Festivals - "generally speaking, Fringes are..."

  • Focused on the performing arts: Theater, dance, puppetry, spoken word and the like make up the Fringe core, but festivals often may include film and visual arts elements. Fringes don't have a focus on a single discipline or genre, but are a performing-arts smörgåsbord
  • Uncensored: No one gets too fussy about swears or nudity but squeaky-clean content isn't marginal or discouraged, either
  • Easy to participate in: Ticket prices are low for audiences and production fees are low for artists. Show selection varies from festival to festival but is generally quite open to participation by the gamut of amateurs to professionals
  • Festivals: They last from just a few days to a few weeks and involve lots of people at multiple venues
  • Original: Fringes feature a huge array of original material—sometimes by design, but usually because that’s what Fringes naturally do well
  • Rapid-fire: Typically, tech is minimal and time is a factor at our festivals. Shows are often kept brief (Fringes most frequently have shows right around 60 minutes in length) and technical requirements kept simple (minor sets, streamlined cues, nothing elaborate)

Being part of this Fringe history is a blessing. And the “Fringe” concept can be seen in various cities with each host adding their unique touch. No two Fringe Festivals are alike, but they do all have the “fringe spirit”, of having a go and creating something new for their audiences.

Please visit World Fringe Network to learn more about other festivals in the Fringe family.

To find Fringes closer to home, please visit the United States Association of Fringe Festivals.

Fringe 2015 Acts