Hollywood Fringe Festival

Hollywood Fringe Festival
Photo: hollywoodfringe.org
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, launched in 1947 by several theater companies that were turned down by the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival, inspired several dozen fringe theater festivals around the globe. One of these festivals is the Hollywood Fringe Festival, often shortened to the Hollywood Fringe.

The term “fringe theater” refers to theater produced outside of conventional theater institutions; it is often small-scale and non-traditional/experimental in subject matter or style. The main difference between fringe theater festivals and conventional theater festival lies in the method of selecting participants. Conventional festivals typically have more or less strict selection criteria and a jury, whereas fringe festivals are open-access and choose their participants on the “first come, first served” basis or by lottery based on venue availability.

Just as its name suggests, the Hollywood Fringe Festival is held in the famous Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Hollywood is primarily associated with the film industry, but it does have theaters that are concentrated in Hollywood Theatre Row, a 1.4-mile stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard. Every year, Hollywood’s theater district serves as the core home of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

The Hollywood Fringe Festival was launched by Ben Hill. Upon moving to Los Angeles from Iowa City in 2007, Hill noticed a lack of community in the local theater scene. He felt that a fringe festival would be a great way to bring LA’s theater community closer together and showcase independent theater companies with a unique vision. The inaugural Hollywood Fringe Festival wash held in the summer of 2010 and featured 130 shows.

The festival has been held every summer since its inception, except for 2020 when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a community-driven, open-access event that aims to celebrate freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community. There is no jury deciding who can and can’t participate, and no censorship.

The fully equipped theaters of Hollywood Theatre Row are the main indoor venues of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, but other, less conventional venues are available as well: local parks, clubs, restaurants, and even churches. All venues are located within walking distance, and each comes with its own set of capabilities.

It should be noted that the Hollywood Fringe is a self-produced festival, meaning that participants are responsible for producing, promoting, and staging their own work. While the festival staff does provide some promotion, guidance and assistance to participants, participants are expected to book venues within the Fringe Zone themselves and then register their projects with the Fringe and pay a registration fee to secure a spot in the festival.

Every year, the Hollywood Fringe Festival hosts several hundred multi-performance shows, one-time performances, and educational events such as workshops, drawing over 25,000 spectators. 100% of the box office revenue (for paid/ticketed shows) goes back to artists and venues.

Hollywood Fringe

Photo: facebook.com/hollywoodfringe




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