Kinda weird. Like you.

The Cincinnati Fringe Festival, produced by Know Theatre of Cincinnati, celebrates it’s 12th Anniversary (Dodeca Fringe!) this year May 26 – June 6, 2015. The Festival is a collaborative organization striving to provide opportunities and exposure to artists who are willing to take a risk. Our artists push the boundaries of the “norm” and continually experiment with style and content. During the festival local, regional, national and international artists invade downtown Cincinnati for 12 days of artistic celebration in both traditional and non-traditional spaces. These artists represent a variety of media including theatre, dance, music, poetry, visual art, film and beyond.

A Fringe History

As with other Fringe Festivals worldwide, our roots trace to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, which began in 1947 when eight groups who, not invited to perform in the larger Edinburgh International Festival, staged their own “fringe” performances. Undaunted and determined, these companies created makeshift theatres on the outskirts – or “fringe” – of the established festival. Soon the Fringe Festival gained a large and loyal following, outstripping the mainstream festival.

The Fringe Festival concept migrated to Canada in the 1980s and today that country boasts Fringe Festivals from coast to coast – including the Edmonton Festival, the largest in North America, which annually draws more than half a million people. In the early 1990s, the fringe concept was embraced in the United States, and today Fringe Festivals are annual events in more than two dozen cities in the United States.

The Cincinnati Fringe Festival is a member of the United States Association of Fringe Festivals and the World Fringe Network.

History of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival

In 2003, the artistic community at large realized a need for such an event in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, entering its 10th season, along with Cincinnati Fringe Festival co-founders Jason Bruffy and Jeff Syroney, answered the need and stepped up to the challenge. Under the umbrella of the CSF Studio Series and with the direction of a dedicated committee, the Cincinnati Fringe Festival was born.

For the next few years, Cincinnati’s Fringe was produced by a group of local artists and administrators, called Cincinnati Experimental Arts, including the co-Founders Jeff Syroney and Jason Bruffy, who had just become the Artistic Director of Know Theatre of Cincinnati. In June of 2006, Know Theatre of Cincinnati announced the 2007 Cincinnati Fringe Festival as part of it’s regular season programming and the two organizations officially merged, combining resources, programming, and staff to continue to build upon the success of both organizations and Cincinnati’s arts community.

What happens at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival?

The Cincinnati Fringe Festival is produced by Know Theatre of Cincinnati in Cincinati’s beautiful neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine. Over the course of 12 days, there are over 200 performances of 40+ productions in about a dozen venues within walking distance of Know Theatre, which serves as Festival Headquarters. In addition to the Performance Fringe, the Festival also includes FringeNext, FringeDevelopment, and the Fringe Bar Series. Each year the Visual Fringe creates a new mural for Know Theatre’s exterior walls with the help of our friends at www.higherlevelart.com.

A typical day at the Fringe will have anywhere from 8-20 performances at 10-12 venues. Patrons use our Fringe Guide (the official Fringe Festival publication) to plan out what shows they will see. At the end of each day’s productions, the Festival continues at Know Theatre’s Underground where everyone involved in the festival gathers to watch the Fringe Nightly News. This is followed by a variety of activities such as Fringe Olympics, Fringe-a-oke, Fringe Prom, and other activites unique to each year, called the Bar Series.

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