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How to Navigate the Fringe Festival

Date: Aug 10, 2011


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The fifteenth annual FringeNYC festival runs from August 12-28, and as always, it’s a smorgasbord of theatre, dance, comedy, and performance art. With so many shows to choose from, the festival can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips on how to become a Fringe expert.

Finding a Show

The Fringe’s website offers several ways to find your ideal production. The show listings page  provides an alphabetical rundown of everything being presented this year, complete with brief descriptions, performance times, and venues.

On the left of the show listings page, you’ll find the Slice-O-Matic. This handy tool lets you search for shows by artist, start time, location, cultural background, and genre. Do you want to see a clowning piece that plays on Saturday afternoons in the West Village? Are you looking for an LGBT comedy or a Middle Eastern drama that starts after 9 PM?  The Slice-O-Matic can help.

Another crucial resource is word of mouth. Fringe audiences are famously enthusiastic, so if you’re in line to see a show, then ask the people around you what they’ve seen and what they’re dying to see next.

Buying a Ticket

Tickets to all Fringe performances are $15. You can buy them online by going to the show listings page  and clicking on the performance time you want.

If you’re feeling adventurous, then you can <b>walk up</b> to the box office before a performance begins and purchase your tickets at the door. You might get turned away from a sold-out production, but you might stumble into something exciting. (Tickets can also be purchased at Fringe Central. See below.)

TDF Members can buy advance tickets to many FringeNYC shows for just $9. Check our online offers on the member page to book your seats.


Experiencing the Community

Fringe Central (45 Bleecker Street at Lafayette) is the festival’s nerve center, and if you go there, you can meet artists, purchase tickets, grab a snack at the cafe, and soak up the energy of people making things happen.

On two weekends---Aug 20-21 and August 27-28---from 3:00-5:00 PM, the Fringe will present free teasers of current shows. Just got to East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, and you'll find artists performing on the street. If you like what you see, then be sure to buy tickets for their full productions.

If you’re looking for a late night party, you can try FringeCLUB, which hosts a variety show on Friday and Saturday nights and a mingle-friendly “artists' lounge” on Thursdays.


Exploring the Rest

To explore the rest of FringeNYC, including events for families and kids, just visit the Festival’s website 



Mark Blankenship is TDF's online content editor