About Us

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What Is The Chicago Fringe Festival?

We are a group of Chicago-based individual artists and producers who have come together with the common goal of making an annual Chicago Fringe Festival a reality. We are all volunteers.

We are one of many cities in the the U.S. and around the world that are part of the Fringe Festival movement. To learn more about Fringe, please visit the United States combined website for Fringes: www.fringefestivals.us

The Chicago Fringe Festival Inc. is an Illinois non for profit organization. We were incorporated in July of 2009.

To contact us, you may email us here or call (872) 210-2315.

Our Mission

Chicago Fringe produces an annual performing arts festival devoted to celebrating an inclusive community of adventurous artists, volunteers and patrons.

Partners

League of Chicago Theatres      US Association of Fringe Festivals   

Accolades

Chicago Hotels
Chicago Fringe Festival received the Editor’s Choice Award
from ChicagoTraveler.com, a local travel and tourism site serving Chicago.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Fringe Festival anyway?

A: A Fringe Festival can be loosely defined as a performance festival that seeks the un-tried and the weird. A movement that started in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Fringes now appear across the U.S. and all over the world. Our closest Fringes are Elgin Fringe, Minnesota Fringe, Kansas City Fringe and Indianapolis Fringe.

Q: When and where will Chicago Fringe be?

A: Chicago Fringe historically takes place Labor Day weekend and the following weekend in the Jefferson Park neighborhood.

Q: How many shows will be in the festival?

A: We currently accept 50 performance groups to the Fest each year.

Q: How much are tickets? Where do the sales go?

A: Tickets will be $10 to each performance, with some package rates available. Performers get 100% of their box office revenue, meaning they could make back their investment many times over.

Q: I hate to be a jerk, but why do we even need a Fringe? Isn’t Chicago just a big Fringe year round? Further aren’t we a saturated market that doesn’t need this?

A: We’re glad you asked. We believe that Chicago does need a Fringe and we have engineered our festival to meet the needs of our city. This festival will, above all, create a place where Chicago performance artists can interact with performers from across town and the world in a fun immersive environment. It will encourage performers and patrons alike to travel beyond their comfort zones and go someplace new. It will allow patrons to show up and in one day get to see 5 or 6 groups all within walking distance – groups that they may not have traveled to see individually throughout the year. It will allow groups struggling to get seen to catch a buzz. It will further put Chicago on the map as a, if not the, major theatrical center of the United States.

Q: How are performance groups selected?

A: By lottery.

Q: Lottery? Whaaaaat?

A: Having a lottery selection process is important to us for a few reasons. It allows us to hold true to the Fringe tradition that has been established by other Fringe Festivals – the vast majority of which are un-juried. We believe in having a place in Chicago for amateurs and professionals to be thrown into the mix together. By not having an artistic director, we open the door for truly anything to come in during those two weeks in September. Risky? Perhaps. Exciting? Definitely. The onus is on the audience to participate with and evaluate the art. It is an absolute democracy. Over time, we hope to develop a robust audience review system (a system that was started with the inaugural festival in 2010).

Q: I have more questions. Bah humbug.

A: Please contact us at info@chicagofringe.org. We are ALWAYS open to discussion, and absolutely feed on dissent.