Oh, the joys of Fringe.
Fringe gives the participants a chance to get their work out there, to have it produced and publicized on a larger scale (which, let me tell you, is easier said than done). Fringe enables audiences to get a lot of culture, from a variety of sources, in a quick, intense burst, without straining the bank account.
And for those of us who work on the business side of the theatre industry, it gives us the opportunity to hear new voices, voices that may not have been on our radars before.
We all know the success story of Urinetown – which humbly began in the NY Fringe Festival and eventually ended up with 9 Tony nominations and 3 wins on Broadway – there’s that glint of promise that permeates the very spirit of Fringe – anyone can be Cinderella, and that’s just thrilling.
Plus, from an agent’s perspective, getting to know new, exciting work and writers is always a plus - even if only, initially, just to continue to follow someone’s progress or to track their upcoming work.
Sure, most big theatres produce new plays and have fantastic programs for emerging playwrights, but the writer of the must-see new show at the Goodman probably already has representation – the writer of the must-see show of the Fringe very possibly doesn’t. Makes for some very useful, practical scouting.
And beyond that it makes for some fun. There’s just such a great sense of community and straight up fun around fringe, you can feel it in the air. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a participant, an audience member, a scouting agent or producer – no matter who you are it makes for one heck of a good time.