Lorraine Treanor, our Director of Marketing, had these thoughts about our first Fringe.
Hats off to the organizers of Capital Fringe for proving that Washington has a huge hunger for Fringe. As a producer (of Mamas, DOn’t Let Your Cowboys Grow Up to Be Actors) I attended the first Fringe meeting last summer where we heard the hopes and dreams of organizers Julianne Brienza and Damian Sinclair. One hundred productions. Inside and outside new and customary venues all around Penn Quarter. In July.
But – Washington is a conservative town! Would audiences stay aware in droves? Would artists putting not only their creative spirits on the line but some hard earned cash as well, see it all crash and burn? Everyone took their chances and with one collective roll of the dice, by January we had a festival lineup of 97 productions.
As we all know by now, the Capital Fringe Festival was a huge success. Show after show sold out. Fringe frenzy set in – people lined up at the Festival box office, saw their favorite shows had sold out and laid their money down for other shows – seeing 2 or 3 shows in one day, even those late night shows.
As a member of DCTR, I recorded the pre-show podcasts. I saw performers, many working on their own without the net of a theatre company, develop original and, by all accounts, audience-pleasing material. Because the festival was self-produced, every performer got a taste of what marketing means; creating websites and audio promos, sending out press releases, and squeezing in time to create, print and hand out postcards in between rehearsals.
Every actor hopes to make a living in theater. Most do not. But once festival receipts are tallied and checks remitted, many actors and producers just might be receiving one of their best paychecks of the year.
I loved how a fringe community formed over those 11 days; in the easy atmosphere of the Warehouse Bar, strangers became friends whether they had walked in as performers, audience members reviewers or crew.
Looking ahead, I hope that Fringe II will make a bigger visual impact around town – street banners, bus ads, and maybe even pull off the opening day parade that had to be set aside this year. Daytime street and lunch time events are being talked about. It will be bigger. It will be better. It’s in the works even as you read this.