Fringe Festival: DIY art for these shaky times
A scene from the show, "A Day In the Life of Miss Hiccup," at the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington DC
July 27th, 2012
10:32 AM ET

Fringe Festival: DIY art for these shaky times

By Libby Lewis, CNN

(CNN) – After World War II, Edinburgh, Scotland created a theater festival for the war-weary – and they invited the biggest names in theater.

But they didn't invite the locals who wanted to put on their shows, too. So the locals put them on anyway, in alleyways, in bars, in churches, anywhere they could.

And so the Fringe Festival phenomenon was born. Over the past decade, Fringe has spread in the States. From Boulder to Orlando, New York, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis, and other cities.

Fringe is art for these shaky economic times. It's free-wheeling, low-tech, and especially, unjuried. The Fringe philosophy says: if you have a play to put on, Fringe will give you a stage and the basics. Let the market decide whether you're any good!

What makes a performance piece a good fit for Fringe?

"The focus is really on the STORY," says Julianne Brienza, who runs Washington, D.C.'s Capital Fringe Festival:

[3:40] "Because that's the only thing the audience is going to be able to follow. You can't trick 'em with special effects, because YOU don't have the money – and WE don't have the money to help you do that."

Like we said: art for these times. Fringe is in Boulder and Orlando, San Francisco and Kansas City – and it's cropping up in other places. Washington D.C.'s Fringe runs through July 29. New York's International Fringe Festival begins August 10. Click here for the full calendar.

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