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Sixth Annual Charm City Fringe Festival: What It Is, How It Works

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What is Fringe?

This weekend marks the beginning of the Sixth Annual Charm City Fringe Festival, a celebration of new and emerging independent theatre that will continue through November 12th. There is always great theater happening here in Charm City, but for the next 12 days… clear your dance card, there’s an additional 25 shows available to see.

The Fringe is an opportunity to see new and exciting performances you may not be able to catch anywhere else, all presented in the Bromo Arts District, with all venues within walking distance of each other. In fact, part of the fun of the Fringe is how walkable it is.

When you finish watching one performance, you can take a short stroll and watch the next must-see on your list. Alternately, you can just park yourself at one venue and see all the shows on offer each evening. Have a break between shows? Head to Fringe Headquarters at Le Mondo, the awesome artist-owned-and-operated “multi-use community hub and experimental performance complex in Baltimore.” They’ve got a bar and tons of fringey goodness. Or check out the local businesses giving food and drink discounts to Fringe participants – identifiable by the 2017 Fringe Button, which you must have to get into Fringe shows.

How to Fringe

In order to attend Fringe shows, you must purchase a $5 Fringe Button. One button will last you for the whole festival; just be sure to have it on you whenever you are heading to a show. You additionally will need to buy tickets to the shows you want to see, which run only $10 a piece. Or you can buy multi-show ticket passes, which get you discounts: a three show pass is $27, a five show pass is $42 and an All Access pass is $98 and gets you a guaranteed seat at any of the 25 shows in the festival, plus admission to Fringe After Dark after party shows, rehearsals, tech, and more. Plus, unlike the other multi-show passes, with the All Access Pass, your Fringe Button is included. It’s a sweet deal if you plan to see a lot of shows. And, new for 2017, there is a Date Night pass – two tickets to two shows plus two fringe buttons for $40.

The reason you need to get a button AND a ticket to see a show, by the way, is that most-to-all of the money you pay for the show ticket goes directly to the performers. The five bucks from the button sales is what goes to the Fringe itself, to help with administrative expenses. Needless to say, the Fringe is by-and-large a volunteer endeavor.

The Fringe is also a juried affair. At the Closing Party on November 12, awards will be bestowed on performers and shows who have particularly wowed the panel of judges.

For a full listing of shows on offer, check outthe DCMTA Quick Guide to 2017 Charm City Fringe Shows. To purchase tickets, go straight to the source at the Fringe Box Office.

Fringe After Dark

There is also a series of festival after parties for your fringetastic enjoyment. The festival button is not required to attend Fringe After Dark events (but donations are welcome). These include opening and closing parties, spoken word and slam poetry, a Broadway Live party with Baltimore’s own CJay Philip, a Broadway veteran, installations, music, film, dance parties and more.

Co-founders Zach Michel and Michael Brush have created something special with the Charm City Fringe Festival. It’s not only a great place for audiences to see new and cutting-edge theater, it’s also a launching point for some of the artists who participate. So go check out some (or all) of the offerings at the Charm City Fringe Festival. It supports the community, helps emerging actors get seen (and paid!) and who knows? You might just see a show that’s going to become the Next Big Thing.

Running Times: Shows vary from approximately 45 to 75 minutes. Parties and Fringe After Dark events run longer.

The Charm City Fringe Festival plays through November 12, with performances and events at the venues listed below. For buttons and tickets, purchase them at the door or online.

322 LOFT, 322 North Howard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
322 STAGE, 322 North Howard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
322 STUDIO, 322 North Howard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
DCAC LOUNGE, 401 North Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21201
DCAC TOP, 401 North Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21201
LE MONDO, 406 N Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21201
MAP UNDERGROUND, 218 West Saratoga St, Baltimore, MD 21201
DRUID HILL PARK, Beechwood Drive and Greenspring Avenue

Fringe At-A-Glance Schedule courtesy of the Charm City Fringe Festival.

DCMTA’s Fringe Coverage is sponsored by Lexington Market.

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