TAMPA, Fla.—If you are looking to step outside your comfort zone and see new and off-the-wall performances, the Tampa International Fringe Festival is a great place to start.
The performing arts festival runs from May 2-11 and takes place in various venues in and around Ybor. Although the festival gains its roots from the theater, there is so much more to it than that.
“Fringe is absolutely for everybody!” says Tampa Fringe Fest producer, Trish Parry. “I want it to be clear, so clear, that if you don’t like theater, that’s okay. There is plenty of stuff that is not theater. We have a stand-up show we’re doing in a brewery. We have a paint party—a Bob Ross costume paint party we’re doing. We do have two kid shows this year.”
The festival features 26 shows that display a wide variety of talents, giving a creative outlet for stand-up acts, plays, storytelling, musicals, one-man shows, burlesque and so much more. Talent comes from all over the world to showcase their performances. About half of the shows this year are from Tampa’s own backyard, but some performers traveled from as far as Australia to be here.
“I really enjoy the incredible group of artists that just descend upon Ybor for a week,” says Ryan Bernier, director and writer of Fringe show N.Y. Sewer Gator. “It’s really inspiring as a local to see other artists and sort of how they’re making their art all around the world.”
This is Tampa Fringe Fest’s third year running, providing opportunities for playwrights, comedians and artists to present their experimental performances in a platform like no other. Each show is an hour or less and will have five chances to perform at different times and venues during the festival’s run time.
“What’s great about Fringe is that when you go to these shows, largely these shows are created by the individuals, and they’re people like you and me,” says Parry. “So, you’ll relate to them and be touched in a way that you wouldn’t by watching a TV show about some characters that you’re never gonna meet.”
Tampa Fringe Fest is designed for you to mix and match shows and work them around your own schedule. “I read today a great comparison; it’s like the Netflix of theater and binge watching is encouraged,” said Jordan Bertke, director and writer of Fringe show Double Blind Date.
This year, the festival has introduced two kids shows into the lineup, adding some family-friendly options to the mix. The full show list can be found here, and there is even a handy day-to-day schedule to help you plan out your Tampa Fringe experience!
Artists set the price of their tickets anywhere from $5-$13, and 100% of that goes directly in the artists’ pockets. There is also a $3 festival fee to help keep Tampa Fringe running. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online. You can also stop buy the Fringe Central Info Booth at Gaspar’s Grotto if you have any questions while exploring Ybor.
If you’re planning on seeing more than one show, discounts for three- and five-ticket packs are also available. Additional ticket information can be found here.