If you like the performing arts — in particular a variety of original and potentially offbeat performances — then know that the first-ever Fort Worth Fringe Festival is imminent.
This inaugural fest features 17 performances by a range of talent, from Dark Circles Contemporary Dance and illusionist Grant Price to a solo performance of Chekhov’s The Darling by Lisa Dalton and a one-woman accordion-guitar- bass-drums-keyboard-kazoo entertainer called the Ginny Mac Explosion.
For the uninitiated, “fringe” is a style of experimental theater, either in style or subject matter. Fringe festivals have a respected place in the worldwide theater community: The first one happened in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1947, and dozens can be found around the world, from Sydney to Stockholm.
“I’ve been to [the Edinburgh festival], and I looked around Fort Worth and saw we have art festivals, opera festivals, but we don’t have a fringe festival,” says Linda M. Lee, executive director of Texas Nonprofit Theatres, which is co-creating the event with the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.
“I wanted to bring together the artists from the various disciplines, as well as different levels of the disciplines. We’ve got community theater, semi-professional, as well as musicians of all levels involved in the festival.”
The festival kicks off on Friday, March 18, at 2 pm, and the final show is Saturday, March 19, at 7:30 pm. (See the full schedule here.) There are also workshops, meetings, and social gatherings. The majority of activities take place at the William E. Scott Theatre and the Hardy & Betty Sanders Theatre, at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center on Gendy Street.
Expect a variety of uncensored performances, from multiple shorter acts grouped together into blocks of performances, to longer events. Most of the performers hail from Texas, but the festival will be far from provincial.
“We have a little bit of everything,” Lee says. “A group out of Houston called Denisov Antrepriza Company does shows in Russian and uses English subtitles. This brings the flavor of an international fringe festival to our stages.”
The response to this all-new event has been overwhelmingly positive, Lee says, from the performers themselves to the community at large.
“This is the pilot year, but we fully intend for it to become an annual event and to grow,” she says. “I found like-minded people in the Forth Worth Community Arts Center and discovered they had also been talking about needing a fringe festival for Fort Worth.
“Theater is a great way to bring people together in community to think, to see things, to talk about them, and to meet face-to-face. This will be another interesting cultural event for the city.”
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