Seven years ago, I brought my play Friends Like These to FringeNYC, the New York International Fringe Festival. In 2012, Theatre Unleashed co-produced my second play, Super Sidekick: The Musical with ArtEffects Theatre Company at FringeNYC.
Here’s a secret: Theatre Unleashed was planning on applying again for this year, with one of our biggest hit shows. But that didn’t happen, because there was no festival this year. The team behind the festival pulled the plug on 2017 so they could take a year to go back, assess, revamp and revise their approach.
Now, after months of radio silence, they posted a three-part video update on their Facebook page, and I couldn’t be more excited about what they had to say.
First off, they’re moving the festival from August to October.
Second, it sounds like they’re condensing the festival to exist primarily in one Manhattan block (or even possibly a single venue) with a festival-long street closure and permits to enjoy alcohol outside, and a sponsored lounge and social space. They’re also planning on carving out a real home for national and international artists in this space. As a national artist coming from the opposite coast, this sounds spectacular to me.
Third, they’re making FringeNYC the annual convergence of indie performers, with panels, workshops, etc, giving it a conference-like aspect as well. While I’ve attended workshops at other Fringes before, this seems to have a much more formal feel to it, so I’m intrigued to see how this plays out.
Finally, at the same time they’re condensing FringeNYC into one city block, they’re simultaneously expanding it to the Five Boroughs, by taking the “Bring Your Own Venue” model and turning it on it’s head. Now, they’re encouraging venues throughout the Boroughs to “Bring Their Own Artists,” and curate their own Fringe content during the length of the festival. That’s pretty exciting and reminds me very much of the Hollywood Fringe model (a model I’m intimately familiar with, considering I ran a venue this year).
So, I’m suddenly really excited about bringing a show to Fringe in New York next year! Congrats FringeNYC!
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