- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 25, 2019

The last full weekend of the 14th annual Capital Fringe Festival is jam-packed with poetry, drama, multimedia installations and comedy, and promises to fill the streets near the Wharf with local art.

The 21-day festival has featured 89 productions and 500 performances across 13 stages. This year 70% of the participants reside in the DMV, with 47% living in the District, said Julianne Brienza, the Fringe Festival’s founding director.

“It is a good thing for the community and it’s always good to bring a little more light and creativity into our neighborhood,” said Brian Hamilton, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church who hosts one of the festival’s venues.

For the second time, the main location of the festival is the Southwest Waterfront, featuring public benches and cooling shade. Access is available via the Waterfront and L’Enfant Plaza Metro stations, Metrobuses and the DC circulator. The location also allows festival goers to see multiple shows within a short distance.

Single tickets are $20 each, and multi-day pass packages are available for groups.

According to festival producer Lee Cromwell, the event has sold more than 13,000 single tickets and 3,000 group passes. Following last year’s 10% boost in ticket sales, the festival added two new venues and hopes to continue the success.

“We are the largest theater performing festival in the D.C. metro area. A majority of our artists are local and ticket revenue goes back to the artists,” Mr. Cromwell said.

Ms. Brienza explained that since its inception, Fringe has presented 14 major festivals featuring more than 48,000 participating artists and served 375,000 of the District’s community. That has generated about $2.27 million in revenue for participating artists.

This year’s theme — “Selfies from the artists” — is featured on storefronts across the Southwest neighborhood. The theme was created to celebrate the many people who come together to make the festival happen, Mr. Cromwell said.

“This includes performers, producers, authors, technicians and directors,” he said. “You see actors on stage but you don’t see all the people who design the lights or write the script.”

The theme also ties in with the Festival’s new website design, which allows audience members to upload their own selfie to be featured on the site.

This weekend, festival attendees will have more than 70 performances to choose from among several performance genres.

“It’s a really good entry point to try something new,” Mr. Cromwell said. “This is a great way to take that risk, we call our audience ‘adventurous.’ There is such a range to choose from there is bound to be something you like.”

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