Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Guest Review: Philly Fringe Festival

By Guest Reviewer: H.R. Britton
Guest Festival Ranking: How many bow ties would you give this fringe? 4 out of 5

Mr. Fringey’s Description: Lenny Bruce meets Martha Stewart.

The Sunny-side: (Give 3 reasons this fringe is the bomb)

1. Provided you find and arrange a venue, you're always guaranteed to be part of the festival. You can plan on it, as opposed to other festivals which either judge you, or pick you out of a hat.

2. You can set your own schedule.

3. Philly is a friendly city, and the audiences are enthusiastic.

The Flip-side: (Give 3 reasons this fringe sucks or what makes it difficult)

1. It can be a hassle to have to find and arrange the venue.

2. You're responsible for providing your own light & sound people, as well as your own
box office person.

3. As I'm a solo performer, I find it a bit of a hassle to go to the Fringe Central to collect the 'will call' tickets before the show.

Ease of Filling Seats:
What's the best way to fill your seats here marketing-wise?
I've tried a number of things. I take a small ad out in the program guide. I put cards out in nearby coffeehouses and bookshops. Sometimes I stand out on the street and give out cards and talk to people. I've never been disappointed with the size of my houses

Is there a fringe central?
Yes. There's a ticketing center, and there's also a late night hangout for the artists.

Is there a showcase for out of town performers?
There's not a specific "out of town" showcase. However, leading up to the Festival there are events where fringers can get to know one another and perform excerpts from their work. There's one called "The Binge" and there's a "
late night cabaret," which may be unofficial, and of course, at the night-time artist hangout there are performances too.

Potential to Make Money:

Do you get 100% of door? If not, how much.
Tickets at the door: 100%. Tickets through the fringe
Box office have about 8 or 10% deducted

Do performers see other shows for free?
As I remember it, you get to see shows for $5

Do you get paid each night?
At the door ticket proceeds go directly to the theater company, since they're administering their own box office.

If not how? Were you paid on time if the money was sent to you?

The proceeds from the tickets sold online and at the Fringe Ticket Central come later, maybe a month or so.

Navigation of the City

What city do you fly into and how did you get to your destination?
You can fly, bus or train into
Philadelphia. There's pretty good public transportation to the airport, and the train station is right downtown. NYC and Newark are also relatively nearby airports.

Can you walk to all the venues? If not how did you get around?
You can walk to a lot of the venues, especially the ones in the
Old City. Otherwise, there's a bus and subway, and you can plot a trip on the Transit Authority's website.

Did you use fringe fest lodging? No

If so, how was the lodging? If not, who did you stay with? One time I stayed at the youth hostel on Bank Street, which is okay. One time I stayed with a friend.

How big of a money sock do you need here, based on food prices, and other expenses? (Choose one: A tiny sock, a men's tube sock, a full blown stocking) men's tube sock

Fringe Specs:
Age in Fringe Years: 13 going on 43.
Festival Dates: September 4 - 19
Application Deadline:
April 3, 2010.
And: They also have a Facebook application
Applying: $80 on-line at
Festival Cost: Mandatory Fees: $80 application fee, Marketing Fee: $100 for 50-word description; $200 for 50-word description and photo. 10% fee for box office ticket sales. General Liability Insurance $95-$177, Sandwich Board rental fee $40.

Ticket Prices: You set your own in whole dollar amounts

About Mr. Fringy's Guest Reviewer: HR Britton

Mr. Fringey’s tag:
The man in the overcoat with the anxiously comic stories and monologues.

Check himout at:

What categories does your show fall under?
Solo show, storytelling, travelogue, religious rant.

How long have you been fringing?
last 4 years, plus one in 2001

How many fringes do you do each year?
1 to 3

What has been your favorite fringe?

Hard to say, obviously. I really liked the close knit and supportive feeling of San Francisco's fringe. I think Philly is fun and accessible.

What has been your biggest money making fringe?
Probably Philly.

What fringe did you make your most important contact?

At what fringe? FringeNYC. I got a great review of "Jesus Rant" in BackStage, also, through that show I got a paid gig at another solo festival.

In one word, why do you fringe?

What's the name of the show (s) you are fringing this year?
"Jesus Rant" (in
Ottawa) "Melting in
Madras" (Frigid New York, Philly)

Do you use your own tech person at your shows? If so, how much do you pay them?
At Philly and
New York. For the run, I paid one helper about 150, give or take.

Any fringes to avoid?

Photos by: Ignacio Carballo
Cards by: Amy Mees

No comments: