The Fringe is coming! The Fringe is coming! This is a great time of year to be in Indianapolis, if you love the theatre. The 6th annual Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival runs from August 20 – 29 along the Mass Ave corridor in downtown Indianapolis, with 280 shows in six venues.
Fringe theatre has typically been called modern theatre, post-modern theatre, or theatre of the weird. You’ll get one-man shows, one-woman shows, comedy troupes, dramas, musical acts, and magic acts. These are people who don’t just love theatre, they love modern theatre. They don’t want do Bye Bye Birdie or Our Town to please the crowds, they express themselves through the art form and genre they love. And if you want to come along for the ride, you’re more than welcome.
The Fringe Festival is an exciting time along Mass Ave. The street teems with life, with people from all over Central Indiana who want to see a single show, or several shows. Shows start at 6:00 on weekdays, and run all day on Saturday and Sunday, well into the night. There’s an outdoor tent with musical acts, and plenty of street performers (called buskers) who are there just to be a part of the atmosphere. (Find the list of Indy Fringe shows here.)
As an added bonus, several members of Smaller Indiana, an online social network, will be reviewing most of the Fringe shows, as will Nuvo, Indy’s alternative weekly. So if you’re not sure whether to go to a show, check out one of those two sites and see what the reviewers have to say.
Look, I realize that in most of my travel posts, I say “you owe it to yourself to visit _______.” And I always mean it. We have some beautiful and enjoyable destinations in the Hoosier state. But this is the one time, the only time, I have to insist on your presence. Fringe is a true festival of the mind and the senses. People who come for the first time are immediately hooked, and they want to come back year after year. Even if you’re a fan of traditional theatre, and don’t think you’ll like modern theatre, give me one day — heck, give me one play — and I promise you’ll love it, and you’ll be sorry you missed the preceding five years.
The Indy Fringe Festival Venues:
- ComedySportz – 721 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Marian Underground – 317 North New Jersey St., Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Theatre on the Square – Main Stage AND Stage II – 627 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204
- The Phoenix Theatre – 749 North Park St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
- IndyFringe Theatre – 719 E St Clair St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Indy Fringe Festival Tickets:
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adults: $10
- Students (w/ valid ID): $7
- Children (under 12): $5
- Fiver pass (5 shows): $40 (a $10 savings)
You also need a backer button, which is a $5 one-time-only purchase. You buy the button, and then you buy the ticket to the show. That’s because every dollar from ticket sales goes back to the performers. We’re one of the only Fringe Festivals to support its actors this way. (You can buy your Indy Fringe tickets online.)
Volunteer at the Indy Fringe Festival for Free Passes
You can also see free shows just by working as a volunteer for the festival. You’ll usually work at the front of the house, sometimes make announcements, and then for every 5 – 6 hours you work, you earn two passes to see other shows. Get your spouse, significant other, or a friend to volunteer with you, and you earned two shows. They do ask that you work three shifts during the festival, and would love it if people could work two in a row.
There are three volunteer training sessions, and you can choose from one:
- Saturday, July 31 – 10:30 AM
- Sunday, August 1 – 1:00 PM
- Tuesday, August 10 – 6:00 PM – this is orientation and a BBQ so that volunteers can get to know each other