St Lou Fringe is the only performing arts festival of its kind in the Metropolitan Area. It takes place August 19-25, 2016, but is designed to have a lasting impact on the St. Louis community. One that reverberates through the streets of this city and in the hearts of artists and audiences for much longer than the set festival dates.
St Lou Fringe brings together a diverse array of more than 100 local and national, live, original, affordable shows, performances, and arts-curious audiences from all over the Midwest region.
For those 10 days in August, the blocks stretching north of Delmar and surrounding the iconic Fox Theatre and will come to life as a veritable arts hotspot. Performances involving drama, dance, comedy, music, slam/spoken word, performance art, vaudeville and circus art fill the often overlooked nooks and crannies of Grand Center between major institutions. Any given night will play host to between six and eight very unique shows; patrons will choose whether to see acrobats, a pop musical, a dance performance for the hearing impaired, an original play, or any combination of the above.
St Lou Fringe creates a space of wonder and whimsy, where audiences can pursue their interests and artists can share their passions, all within 30 minutes of the St. Louis County limits and at a very low cost (all individual tickets range between $1-15, plus a $5 badge required to get into the festival).
2016 will see the premiere of microtheater (short performances for an audience of no more than 13 patrons in an intimate, immersive setting), spin rooms (post show talk backs and workshops), and an incubator program (a specialized collaborative showcase setting with more support for emergent artists). Over half of the festival performances will focus on stories of individuals underrepresented in the mainstream performing arts based on ethnicity, gender identity, language, dialect, age, physical ability, BMI or other barriers. Past favorite programs like Fringe Family and the Artica sculpture garden will again enliven Strauss Park.
Five years ago, when Executive Director Em Piro made the decision to bring the Fringe Festival model to life on the streets of St. Louis, she had a vision of providing a support structure to connect independent performing arts with accessible, affordable showcase settings for audiences.
Inspired by the international network of Fringe Festivals, St Lou Fringe has evolved into a full five-month season… Fringe is now a program for – and by – the creative doers who define the St Louis cultural identity. In an effort to bolster cultural activity in St Louis, Fringe offers support for collegiate organizations – artistic, civic, or otherwise – to fulfill programming that they may not be able to manifest on their own. These projects stem from commitment to the importance of community driven work, aligned vision for shared long-term goals, and tangible steps towards a more cohesive and collective St Louis. The result is often surprising, always engaging, and exponentially impactful supported by the power of the strong alliances facilitated by Fringe.
Since 2011, St Lou Fringe has been named “Best Theatre Festival” and “Best Theatre Surprise” by the Riverfront Times, one of “Nine Intriguing US Fringe Festivals” by CNN, and one of “Fifty Essential Summer Festivals” by the New York Times. The 2016 Fringe Season runs April through August. For more information: www.stlfringe.com.
Written by Bronwyn Ritchie from St. Lou Fringe.