The Seattle Fringe Festival is returning after a nine-year hiatus. It’s coming to Capitol Hill the weekend of September 19th-23rd. The 21 shows will be occupying five different spaces on the Hill: Annex Theatre, Odd Duck, the NW Film Forum, and the Odd Fellows building. The shows will each run an hour, and each show will be ten bucks. No announcements about festival passes as of yet, but it’s not too early to get involved. Their Kickstarter is a good place to start. And you have one week to make your pitch to perform.
Kickstarter may not save the world, but it’s certainly been a boon for the Seattle Fringe Festival according to committee member Grant Knutson. “We launched last Monday, reached 30% of our goal that evening and 60% of our goal in 48 hours. I’m excited to see what we can reach in our first week,” he said via email. Check out The Seattle Fringe Festival Kickstarter here.
Beyond fundraising there are other ways to get involved. For instance, you could perform. You have until May 7th to apply. May 13th they will pick the performers, and on May 14th there will be a lottery to pick the 21 performances for the festival. This will be an event open to the public, but no details on where it will be held yet. Knutson also suggests you think about volunteering. “We’ll be needing help in several volunteer areas. We haven’t announced any of those opportunities yet, but when we do, they’ll be available on our Facebook page and website.”
The Fringe Festival’s resurrection comes as part of a resurgence of the Capitol Hill theater community and as a result of the Seattle Theatre: What’s Next? meeting. That cabal of Seattle’s theater people took a long hard look at what’s needed and possible, and this is one of the results. It’s a smaller affair than it has been in previous years, but perhaps that means that success can be measured with less risk. With its density Capitol Hill offers theater spaces close enough together that people will be able to easily walk from one performance to the next.
Knutson’s current project is at the Annex (Image: Annex Theater)
In addition to Knutson, who has worked at Annex, Macha Monkey, Seattle Children’s Theatre, the steering committee consists of Meghan Darling, Pamala Mijatov, (both at Annex) Beth Raas-Bergquist, (Ghost Light Theatricals) and Sean Ryan (On the Boards and NW Film Forum) — all have well-earned places in the Seattle theater scene, which bodes well for the festival.
Given its history, it shows some degree of confidence that they are using the same name for the festival. The non-profit filed for bankruptcy in 2004, and outside fundraising was necessary to help compensate the performers and stagehands left high and dry. That being said, it’s good news for both the Hill and Seattle at large that fringe theater is asserting itself this fall. Seattle was once much more well-regarded as a vibrant theater town. Giving theatergoers, local performers and acts from far and wide a chance for an intense weekend of strange and perhaps wonderful theater is a step in the right direction.