Fringe Festival Survival Guide
The Capital Fringe Festival runs from July 7 -24. For those who haven’t experienced the magic of Fringe before, it’s an unjuried, self-producing, open-access festival for all types of performers. What this means is that any artist, whether new or established, has an opportunity to reach an audience.
The performances (theater, dance, music, puppetry) take place primarily in venues around Mount Vernon Square.
Last year, I was a photographer for Capital Fringe. Here are my tips for getting the most out of this unusual festival.
- Tickets - While single ticket prices are just $17, there are a variety of packages available on the Fringe site for even greater savings. Get your tickets early through the web site to make sure you get into the shows that you’re interested in.
- Dress Comfortably - This isn’t the Kennedy Center. Wear whatever you want. Many Fringe venues are in older buildings which can be a little stuffy - dress comfortably.
- Don’t Be Late! - One great thing about Fringe is the chance to see performances in intimate spaces. However, since the venues are small, Fringe has a strict policy about late admission - it’s not allowed. Make sure you get to the theater on time, lest you be shut out, as happened to this City Paper critic.
- Visit the Bar - The Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar is a magical space located on gritty stretch of New York Avenue. Featuring delights such as prosecco on tap, as well as DC Brau, it’s where actors and audience-members mingle before and after shows.
- Find a Chill Spot - I mean this literally. July is always hot in DC and you may need a place to cool off between shows. I recommend the hip lobby of the nearby Renaissance Hotel (9th and K St NW). There’s plenty of space to spread out and recharge, as well as a Starbucks, a bar, restrooms, wifi and water.
- Nudity - If you want to see naked people on stage, you can. The Fringe Festival catalogue even helpfully indicates which performances feature nudity. Just be careful what you wish for.
- Expect the Unexpected - It’s DIY theater. There are some very polished shows but also plenty of new performers. Things will go wrong. But this is part of the charm of Fringe.
The Capital Fringe Festival isn’t Shakespeare (though one of my favorite shows from last year was Romeo and Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending). Instead, it’s about karate, game shows, dancing CIA agents, clown cabaret, glitter-covered strippers, paintings coming to life and Alice Roosevelt Longworth.
How could you miss it?
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