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Theater on the Fringe: FRINGEPVD goes virtual!

The time for a summer of theater is here, and it can all be accessed through whatever screen you feel the most comfortable with or even through an exclusive performance on your front porch — but stay tuned for more information on that with the 2020 Providence Fringe Festival. 

What is the Fringe? Founded by The Wilbury Theatre Group, Providence Fringe (aka FRINGEPVD) began in 2014 to help produce emerging and established artists on stage through their own works. In the past there have been beautiful pieces of theater, clowns and magic, and you could see it all in a whirlwind two weeks of performances. This year’s Fringe is once again brought to you by the Wilbury Theatre Group in collaboration with the WaterFire Arts Center, but it’s looking a little different than in the past. 

Typically, in a non-pandemic world, there would be multiple venues across the city where artists would perform, with their productions rotating so you could see as many as possible. Due to COVID-19, FRINGEPVD has been incredibly resourceful and brought all their performers completely online. The artists who had already agreed to perform in this year’s FRINGEPVD were kept on. According to Olive Godlee, the marketing manager for FRINGEPVD, “We had a lot of changes to our lineup this year, but once we committed to putting on a virtual festival, we reached out to the artists who had already applied to see who would be interested in adapting their show for streaming in order to participate. We now have 21 great shows by performers who were up for the challenge!” Artists typically submit their ideas for a production at the beginning of the year and they are chosen through a lottery to perform. 

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This year’s fringe will run from July 19 through August 1, and performances will be streamed on both the Fringe’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/FringePVD) and the Wilbury’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/WilburyTheatreGroup), and you can find out about each performance on the FRINGEPVD website at FRINGEPVD.org. The cost? There are two options. All initial performances that are livestreamed will be free, with the option to tip the artists (please tip the artists) or you can buy a Fringe All-Access Subscription for $20, which gives you access to all of the shows after they have aired. That means if you do happen to miss something you were dying to see, it’s not a big deal. All proceeds from these passes also go to the artists, which is the greatest thing about FRINGEPVD besides its wonderful performances. This artist-based and artist-centric festival always supports its artists, even in the time of a global pandemic. 

If your heart has been aching to see some kind of in-person theater, or you maybe have had one too many Zoom calls, FRINGEPVD is offering a brilliant, and quirky, additional option. This year, Front Porch Performances, sponsored by TROOP, feature dinner and drinks for two and a socially distanced live performance, all from your front porch (or yard, what have you). There are only three of these performances left, and to get them you must bid through the FRINGEPVD website. Olive says, “We’re super excited to be able to put on these small scale and socially distanced live shows, especially because they will directly support artists in a time when performers and gig-workers have been hit hard economically.”

Plus, the annual Family Fringe Day will be digital this year and will provide entertainment for everyone you’re stuck inside with, with performances on Saturday, July 25, streamed from 3pm to 6pm. It’s brought to you by Providence Community Libraries and will be streamed on their Facebook at Facebook.com/ProvComLib. 

So please, if you’re like most of us and feeling heartbroken about not seeing theater or arts performances of any kind, get your screen out and watch some FRINGEPVD. Not only are you helping yourself, but you’re helping our community of artists continue to thrive. 

For more information, go to fringepvd.org/index.html

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