What do puppetry, honky-tonk, Western pioneers and spoons have in common? In addition to being generally awesome (try eating a bowl of ice cream with a fork), each plays a part in this year’s FringePVD. Otherwise known as the Providence Fringe Festival, the third annual installment of the theater arts extravaganza opens July 26 and offers something for everyone.
Founded by the Wilbury Theatre Group’s artistic director Josh Short, FringePVD gives artists the opportunity to create and share original works. The festival is unjuried and open to all who apply, with participants chosen by lottery. FringePVD provides the artists with performance venues, technical and promotional assistance, and the full proceeds from ticket sales. Such support paves the way for a rich diversity of creative expression.
While the benefits to artists at FringePVD abound, the treats for audience members do, too. Expect the chance to see over 50 performers at a mix of traditional and unexpected venues like AS220, the Dean Hotel and the Steel Yard. Anticipate cutting-edge new works by luminaries of the local arts scene, as well as visual and performing artists from the national stage. The festival lasts just five days, with most shows running under an hour and ticket prices ranging from $5-$10 (cash only). Challenge yourself to catch as much of it as you can.
“A first time attendee should know that it’s impossible to see everything,” reveals festival director Kate Kataja. “So I encourage everyone who’s interested to visit the Fringe website and check out the artists. Go see what piques your curiosity, and find a couple of things that make you go, ‘Huh?’ Sometimes those are the very best experiences.”
If intrigued by the aforementioned puppetry, head to Dan Ruppel’s Herakles. Enjoy country-style crooning and love stories in Meg Sullivan’s multi-media solo act, Veja Doolittle: Back in Town. Cheer pioneers from the 1840s as they attempt to navigate a video game in Ruts! The Oregon Trail Experience. And, if you’re still thinking about spoons, make sure to watch mentalist Rory Raven bend a few with the power of his mind.
Other highlights from this year’s line-up include Julia Bartoletti’s Bard the Band, exploring relationships in the Shakespeare’s canon, and Sylvia Ann Soares’ Silvy Tory Stories, depicting male and female Africans in 17th–18th century Rhode Island. To encourage budding talent, the free, kid-friendly “Family Fringe” on July 30 involves an afternoon of theater games, performances and workshops, too.
Like the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and similar events held worldwide, FringePVD helps to bring experimental, contemporary work in a variety of genres from the edge to the foreground. It’s inclusive, accessible, affordable, exciting – and growing every year. Happy third birthday, FringePVD, and here’s to many more.