Get Ready, DC: The 2018 Capital Fringe Festival Opens This Weekend

Capital Fringe Festival CEO Julianne Brienza shares what to expect from this year's Capital Fringe Festival.

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Get ready Washington, DC: July is hot and about to get even hotter. The always spicy Capital Fringe Festival opens this weekend, delivering 80-some experimental, mostly self-produced shows to the nation’s capital over the next three weeks.

The big story from this year’s Capital Fringe Festival is the new location in Southwest DC and the myriad of entertainment options offered by this locale. Home to Arena Stage and the city’s hottest new waterfront area The Wharf, Southwest DC offers waterfront walks, multiple shopping and dining options, a farmers market and more. Combine that with Fringe’s smörgåsbord of affordable theatrical events in a walkable radius and you’re July will nearly plan itself. 

Because what could be more Fringe-y than enjoying a breakfast cocktail at a rooftop bar or attending a free outdoor yoga class before heading to a show about gambling and dancing performed in a church?

I spoke to Capital Fringe CEO and Co-Founder Julianne Brienza this week to learn more about this year’s Capital Fringe Festival.

What can viewers expect from this year’s Capital Fringe Festival?

Capital Fringe Festival CEO/Co-Founder Julianne Brienza. Photo courtesy of Capital Fringe.
Capital Fringe Festival CEO/Co-Founder Julianne Brienza. Photo courtesy of Capital Fringe.

As in past years, viewers should expect shows that will challenge their point of view and allow them to experience things they may not normally choose to see. We think theater is about the freedom of expression that is part of the fabric of a democratic society. We hope that people will take the plunge with Fringe and see something outside their comfort zone!

Tell me about the new location in Southwest, DC?

Our show venues at the Southwest waterfront this year are as geographically close as they have ever been. It should be very easy for patrons to make a split-second decision and walk over from one show to see another that you heard someone saying great things about.

Southwest is near the water, easily walkable and accessible by public transportation. And there will be loads of shops and restaurants offering discounts to Fringe-goers with their Fringe buttons.

How did you find enough space to put on 80 shows in three weeks in one of Washington, DC’s trendiest neighborhoods?

It was a big undertaking and we’ve been working on this particular festival since April of 2017. First, Arena Stage generously agreed to allow us to use their Kogod Cradle for our new Fringe Curated series. Then we searched for other venues. This year’s festival will feature five venues with a total of 11 stages and only one of them (The Kogod Cradle at Arena) was a theater when we started! The rest we built ourselves! Platforms, chairs, electricity in the buildings, all of it.

You are trying something new this year: In addition to the 70+ self-produced shows taking place during the festival, you are offering a “Fringe Curated Series” for which theater companies submitted applications and were awarded funding from Fringe.

Just as the city has been evolving over the last 10 years, so has its artistic base. Through our Fringe Curated Series, we have commissioned works from five theater companies with the goal of 1) having fun and 2) providing paid work for local artists. 95% of the participants are professionals from the DC/MD/VA area.

What can viewers do between shows?

The Southwest community is so vibrant and we will just fold into that. There is a Saturday Farmers Market, free yoga classes, and free, live entertainment from Tuesday to Thursday on the Market SW Stage.

CityBar, the official bar of the 2018 Capital Fringe Festival, will be offering drinks, events, and great views from its rooftop bar.

What about your favorite shows this year?

You will have to come to the Fringe Sneak Peak at Pearl Street Warehouse on Sunday to see some! Over 20 shows will perform four-minute clips from their shows.

For a full listing of 2018 Capital Fringe performances, click here.

When: July 7-29, 2018

Where: Five locations in Southwest DC: Arena Stage’s Kogod Cradle, Blind Whino, Christ United Methodist Church, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Westminster Church and (additional “find your own venue” shows perform at Caos on F downtown and DCAC in Adams Morgan).

How: Metro stops Waterfront Station (Green) or L’Enfant Plaza Station (Orange, Silver, Blue, Yellow, Green). Additional transportation details can be found here.

Cost: Tickets are $17 per show. Tickets can be purchased online or at the on-site box office at Market SW. Multiple show ticket packs are available at a discount. A Fringe button must be purchased and worn to all shows. Button wearers will receive discounts at multiple area shops and restaurants. Additional ticket/button details can be found here.

Box OfficeMarket SW (401 M Street, SW)

Official Bar: CityBar (400 E Street, SW)

Additional CityBar Fun:
“Learn to Fringe Happy Hours” Tuesday through Thursday, 4:00 to 7:00 PM
“Rooftop Jams” DJ on rooftop Friday through Sunday, 9:00 PM to close

Special Event: Fringe Festival Preview. Enjoy 20 rapid-fire excerpts from 20 Fringe productions while enjoying food and drink at Pearl Street Warehouse. Sunday, July 8
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM