When the COVID-19 public health crisis manifested, the Know Theatre team knew that the Cincinnati Fringe Festival – our beloved, silly, joyful two-week celebration of weird art and of community – couldn’t proceed as planned. Fortunately, there’s a lot of space between “can’t proceed as planned” and “giving up on it,” and that space is where we dug in and built a new home.
We’ve spent the last few months designing and building an all-digital, fully-online 17th Annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival. We’ve consulted with our artists and community partners, learned from other theatres’ experiments, and done a lot of innovating. In April, we rolled out a Primary Lineup of twenty shows, featuring everything from world premieres to revisits of favorite Fringe shows from years past. The Primary Lineup is available through either single-ticket purchases or as part of the All-Access Pass, and all the shows will be available to stream on-demand for the entire run of the festival, May 29 – June 13. See the full Primary Lineup at cincyfringe.com/digital-line-up.
Setting up the Primary Lineup was the taste of victory we needed; we couldn’t just stop there. With Fringe kickoff just days away, we are so excited to announce everything else that is coming to Cincy Fringe this season.
In addition to the Primary Lineup, Cincy Fringe presents additional livestreamed Special Events. The ticketed events are available as single tickets or through the All-Access Pass. We’ve also got some more special events in the works, featuring exciting guest artists; we’re putting finishing touches on the plans now, but keep an ear out for exciting news about new special events during the festival!
Virtual Fringe CUSS from Travis McElroy and the Cincinnati Underground Secret Society. Livestreaming June 5, 9 PM. Can you keep a secret, Cincy? Travis McElroy and the Cincinnati Underground Secret Society bring local guests together to chat all things art, Fringe, and life!
Desperately Seeking the Exit: Online Live, from Peter Michael Marino. Livestreaming May 31, 7 PM. In 2007, American actor/writer Peter Michael Marino wrote a musical based on the Madonna film “Desperately Seeking Susan,” featuring the hit songs of Blondie. It opened on London’s West End…and closed a month later. Whoops! Attend the internationally acclaimed tale – LIVE on your device.
trueFRINGE 2020, from True Theatre. Livestreaming June 11, 7 PM. “trueFRINGE 2020” is True Theatre’s 10th consecutive appearance at Cincy Fringe. The show features artists tied to the Festival, sharing their true stories about their lives as artists (it’s not as easy as they make it look!). See their shows then hear their stories at this one-night-only Fringe tradition!
ComedySportz LIVE!, from ComedySportz Cincinnati. Livestreaming May 31, 11 AM. Two teams of trained ComedySportz improvisers go head to head in a family friendly match akin to Whose Line Is It Anyway, but for the whole family and this time the points DO matter!
OTRimprov Open Jam, from OTRimprov. Livestreaming June 1, 9 PM. Join our own local improv team for a round-up of consistently interesting and frequently funny scenes, and get a chance to get in on the inventive action! This is a free event.
Every Fringe, we bring you a lineup of free events that parents and kids can enjoy together! Here’s what we have streaming for families this year. (And if you’re craving even more Family-Friendly content, ComedySportz LIVE! is a ticketed Special Event that is great for families.)
Storytime with Sparkle! May 30 and June 6, 11 AM. This family-friendly show has been described as a hybrid of Mr. Rogers and Pee-Wee’s Playhouse with a Muppet garnish. Sparkle Leigh is the lovechild of Roger and Jessica Rabbit, and is often mistaken for a drag queen. Let’s read a book, not each other!
DRAGON UP! May 30, 1 PM. Oro the Dragon and Meetra the Meerkat Knight embark on a quest and learn about cooperation, conflict resolution, and how to talk about your feelings in this social-emotional learning fairy tale.
Alice in Neverland. June 6, 1 PM. Peter Pan has gone missing! Families at home will use their critical-thinking skills alongside Alice (of Wonderland fame) to crack the case.
KNOW Your Body. May 30, 12 PM and June 7, 11 AM. Join us for a movement and physical education class! We’ll learn some fun new ways to stretch our bodies, and then healthcare professionals will answer real questions from real kids about how bodies work.
Every year, Visual Fringe highlights a variety of visual mediums, and this year is no different – but now, audiences can find the gallery online! This free exhibit will be available on the Cincinnati Fringe Festival website during the run of the festival, under the “Visual Fringe” tab at the top of the homepage.
We’ve got nineteen scheduled talkbacks, hosted and produced by theatre artist and educator Kate Coley. In these free, live conversations with Fringe artists, audiences can get a glimpse behind the curtain into how artist-produced, “kinda weird” theatre is made, and will have a chance to ask their own questions. These conversations will be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube; the full schedule is available in the Fringe Guide.
One of the most memorable parts of every Cincy Fringe is the silly, creative, and oft-raucous after-hours fun at the Know Theatre Underground, and we weren’t going to miss out on that just because we can’t be together! We’ll be livestreaming nightly Hard-Hitting Channel Fringe Action News Updates, just like you’ve seen in the Underground in years past, and we’re also bringing you some of the same wacky events in digital format. Join us for activities like Fringe Olympics, where audiences compete for gold and glory (well, maybe just glory) from the comfort of home, and Mix Your Own Craft Cocktail, when local mixologists will talk you through creating custom cocktails from what you’ve got around the house! The full schedule is available in the Fringe Guide. And just like usual during Fringe, these events are totally free.
“Kinda Weird” Fringe Curbside Pickup
For those who like to raise a toast to the spirit of Fringe: we’ve got you covered. In partnership with our friends at Karrikan Spirits Co, Revel Urban Winery, and Grainworks Brewing Company, we’re giving you a new way to pick up your beverage care packages while supporting Cincy Fringe! From May 25th to June 5th, order from Grainworks Brewing Company, Karrikin Spirits, or Revel Urban Winery, select “Kinda Weird Fringe Curbside Pickup” as your delivery option, and between 12 PM and 2 PM on Saturday May 30th or Saturday June 6th, you can conveniently pick up all of your orders at the Know Theatre on Jackson Street! A small percentage of your purchase will be donated to Know Theatre, so make sure to grab your beer, wine, and liquor to support the arts.
Get tickets to all Fringe programming by visiting us at cincyfringe.com, or follow Cincinnati Fringe Festival on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for updates.
WHAT: The 17th Annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival
WHERE: A fully digital, all-online arts experience
WHEN: May 29 – June 13, 2020
TICKETS: Beginning at $11; some events free
Available at cincyfringe.com