Fringe Festival returns with 200 plays

Didi Panache and Lady Winifred of “The Lady Winifred & Didi Show” (Photo by JesusNYC)

Didi Panache and Lady Winifred of “The Lady Winifred & Didi Show” (Photo by JesusNYC)

By Sabina Mollot

On Friday, August 14, the summer theater tradition that is the Fringe Festival will return, with over 200 plays running at 16 venues throughout the East Village and the Lower East Side. This is the 19th year for the event, which will last 16 days (through August 30) with each ticket costing $18.

Elena K. Holy, the festival’s producing artistic director, who has been with the project since the beginning, said the plays that get selected are the ones that seem the most different.

“We look for innovation, vibrancy and diversity,” she said. The plays are also intentionally held each year during August when it’s normally a slow time of year for theater, and quipped Holy, when it’s an easier time “to sneak out of the office.”

Fringe has several divisions, including “Fringe Jr.,” the shows directed towards children, which are all being held at the 14th Street Y. There’s also “Fringe Al Fresco,” which are plays to take place at outdoor venues like parks and community gardens. Outdoor options this year include “The Merchant of Venice” in Tompkins Square Park by Hip to Hip Theatre Company and “Ferry Play,” a downloadable, self-scheduled play meant to be heard on the Staten Island Ferry, directed by Peter Cooper Village resident Erin Mee.

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