What Is Fringe?

What Is A Fringe Festival?

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Past Chicago Fringe events and shows. From top: the 2014 CFF performance lottery, Twisted Beats & Circus Feats by Circadelix, Our Fair City by HartLife NFP, Méfiez-Vous de la Vache by Sea Beast Puppet Company, and Hip Hop Is Alive by DaVida Chanel Productions.

Generally generally speaking, Fringes are festivals that are:

  • Focused on the performing arts: Theater, dance, puppetry, stand-up comedy, spoken word– whatever it is, you’re likely to find it at a fringe fest. Fringes don’t have a focus on a single discipline or genre, we are a performing-arts smörgåsbord!
  • Uncensored: Free speech! No one gets too fussy at a Fringe about swearing or nudity, but squeaky-clean content isn’t marginal or discouraged, either. Check our show listings for description of what content they include.
  • Easy to participate in: Ticket prices are low for audiences and production fees are low for artists. The artists in the festival run the gamut from amateurs to professionals.
  • Festivals: Fringes last from just a few days or a few weeks and involve lots of people at multiple venues. They are a nexus of intense creative energy, which can only be sustained briefly before exploding back out into the world.
  • Original: Fringes feature a huge array of original material, sometimes by design, but usually because that’s what Fringes naturally do well.
  • Rapid-fire: Typically, tech is minimal and time is a factor at a Fringe. Shows are brief (usually around 60 minutes in length) and technical requirements kept simple (minor sets, streamlined cues, nothing elaborate).

When and where is the Chicago Fringe Festival?

We’re glad you asked! You can find all that information right here…

How Fringe Ticketing Works

So do I buy tickets like for a regular theatre show?

Not quite. In addition to purchasing tickets for the individual shows entry to all ticketed shows at the Chicago Fringe Festival requires a one-time $5 button per patron.

That seems confusing. Why do you do it that way?

All of the profits from ticket sales go directly to the artists. When you buy a ticket, you are supporting the artist you are seeing. Your additional purchase of the festival button helps fund the festival itself and all that we do to make this a great two weeks for you and the artists.

Where can I get buttons and tickets?

Online or in-person. Let us direct your attention to this handy page here for more information.