One month to prepare, then one month to apply


Organizers of the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival will open the 2018 show-submission process one month from today, on April 1, 2018 at 9 a.m. (EST). Through April 30 at 11:59 p.m. (EST), artists and producers from all over the world may submit production proposals directly to the 2018 Fringe’s 20+ venues via Based on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe model, the vast majority of the Fringe’s 500+ shows are selected by the venues themselves in this way. Only a few headliner shows and the outdoor entertainment are curated by the Fringe itself.


“In addition to making the arts accessible to audiences, our other key mission is to make audiences accessible to artists, providing them with a platform to share their ideas and develop their skills,” explains Festival Producer Erica Fee, adding that this philosophy holds true for the more than 200 fringe festivals around the world that now take place on every continent except Antarctica.


The 2017 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival (September 14-23) was “our most successful Fringe yet,” reports the non-profit board of directors that organizes the fast-growing, multi-genre performing arts festival. Attendance at more than 500 performances and events – 175 of them free of charge – was estimated at more than 78,000. In addition, more than 85 ticketed, submitted performances at almost every Fringe venue sold out.


“(Last) year was the best Fringe ever for SOTA,” reports Adele Fico, Arts Center Director for Rochester City School District's School of the Arts (SOTA), Fringe’s largest venue with 40 productions on four stages. “I think the shows we picked appealed to a variety of audiences and I loved seeing young, old, kids, babies and teenagers in the building – all at the same time! I saw many familiar faces too – repeat customers from previous Fringes who literally spent the day with us.”


Due to popular demand, the 2018 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival will expand to 11 days (Wednesday, Sept. 12 – Saturday, Sept. 22).


Rochester Fringe Festival connects and empowers artists, audiences, venues, educational institutions, and the community to celebrate, explore, and inspire creativity via an annual, multi-genre performing arts festival. The not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation was pioneered by several of Rochester’s esteemed cultural institutions including Geva Theatre Center, the George Eastman House and Garth Fagan Dance; up-and-coming arts groups like PUSH Physical Theatre and Method Machine; and higher-education partners such as the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology. From its five-day debut in 2012 to its 10-days in 2017 that attracted more than 78,000 attendees, the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival has become one of the fastest-growing and most-attended fringe festivals in the U.S. More than a third of the Fringe’s 500 performances in 25+ downtown Rochester venues are free, and were attended by 49,000 people last year. Renowned among the world’s 200+ fringe festivals for its large-scale, outdoor, free-to-the-public performances – including the U.S. premieres of France’s Plasticiens Volants and Canada’s Circus Orange – Rochester’s Fringe was also the first fringe festival in North America to feature a Spiegeltent, which is now an annual attraction. From comedy to theatre, from music to dance, from visual art and film to spoken word, and from children’s entertainment to multi-disciplinary collaborations, the festival’s diversity also extends to venues that span the gamut from parked cars to grand theatres. Fringe’s overarching mission is to make arts readily accessible to audiences, as well as to provide a platform for artists to share their ideas and develop their skills, while stimulating downtown Rochester both culturally and economically.


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