Artist Resource Center
The Artist Resource Center is your field guide to all things Philadelphia Fringe Festival. In this section, you will find important documents, files, and in depth guides on all aspects of self-producing your show. If you have questions or need support that you cannot find here, the FringeArts team is here to help. Contact the Fringe Festival Manager, April@FringeArts.com, for help.
If you are looking for more basic info, pop on over to the Artists information page for a quick overview of festival participation.
Artists and Producers should always download and carefully review the Fringe Festival Artist Agreement & Policies before deciding to participate in the festival.
Deadlines & Registration
2023 Deadlines & Fees
To receive the highest quality festival experience, it is strongly encouraged to register your show as early as possible!
Registration for the 2023 Philadelphia Fringe Festival opens March 15, 2023 on Eventotron.com. All applications are automatically approved and artists must submit and finalize full show information according to the following deadlines:
Early Submission Deadline
May 1, 2023
$20 Application Fee
Performances/Events with all information finalized by May 15 receive early access to apply for Festival Preview and Festival Campus performance opportunities.
Print Guide Deadline
June 15, 2023
$20 Application Fee
Performances/Events with all information finalized by the June 15 deadline will be included in the Fringe Festival Guide & receive free print signage to be displayed at their performances venue.
June 16- August 1, 2023
$20 Application Fee + $55 Late Fee
Performances/Events with information finalized after June 15 will not be included in the print guide or receive print signage but will be listed online with tickets available through the Fringe Festival Box Office.
Attendance Numbers & Survey Deadline (Post-Festival)
October 5, 2023
Artists must track attendance during the run of their show and submit by this date. Artists must submit a post-festival participation survey by this date.
How to Register
Registration for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival is held at Eventotron.com.
Registration for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival occurs on Eventotron.com. The information submitted is then used to create your show’s web page, print guide listing, and tickets.
To register, simply create an account on Eventotron, find the 2023 Philadelphia Fringe Festival under the Festivals tab, and click Apply.
Artists must register and finalize all information before June 15, 2023 in order to be included in the printed Fringe Festival Guide. Artists may register early for additional benefits, while those registered after June 15 will be included in the festival, without receiving full festival benefits. To receive the highest quality festival experience, it is strongly encouraged to register your show as early as possible!
Shows are not considered “finalized” until completing and submitting all show information.
Artist Policies & Agreement
All artists must review and agree to the 2023 Fringe Festival Artist Policies & Agreement before participating in the festival. If you intend to participate, please download and keep this document for reference.
Finding a Venue
Artists are responsible for finding and securing their own venues, but FringeArts is here to help!
We recommend the following strategies to help your venue search:
- Take a look at the Past Festival Venues page for maps from previous years
- Check out Resource Sharing Committee Venue Database
- Use the Eventotron Venue Finder
- Use resources such as Peerspace to research venues
- Look through previous Philadelphia Fringe Festival guides
- Join Philly artist and performer Facebook groups
- CONTACT US! You can always reach out to FringeArts to ask for suggestions. Contact the Fringe Festival Manager April@FringeArts.com
Many self-producers like to present art in non-traditional places. Audiences like this too, so don’t be afraid to seek out-of-the-ordinary spaces. We do not require that all artists present in accessible spaces, but we do require some accessibility information about the venue to ensure audiences have all the right information.
What to Consider
In searching for the perfect venue, an artist’s decision should be guided by a few general considerations. It is important to consider every aspect of the production so as to avoid complications later on.
- Accessibility! Is the venue and the performance space wheelchair accessible?
- In which neighborhood should the show be located?
- How many seats are desired/needed at each performance?
- What are the technical needs of the production?
- What are the staging needs?
- Does the venue have seating, lighting, a PA system, etc.?
- Is it an old building? Is it wired for large electrical loads like lighting and sound equipment?
- Will the neighbors be able to hear the production? Is there a noise curfew?
- Does the venue have electricity, bathrooms, and enough electrical outlets?
- Does the venue have air conditioning?
- Does the venue agreement include rehearsal time?
Artist’s should keep in mind that they are representing the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the artist community when they are presenting their work. It is imperative that they engage with their venue’s community with the utmost respect. Here are some things to keep in mind to that end:
- If a venue is a nontraditional space or location, be aware of the way that the show might impact the residents in that neighborhood. Be sensitive to late-night noise, trash, light pollution, and disruptions to traffic. The space may not be soundproofed and the neighbors may not be used to the level of noise and foot traffic a performance brings.
- If the show takes place in an outdoor location for a large audience, artists must solicit a permit and/or permission from the local neighborhood.
- The neighborhood around the venue is a great potential audience, so the impression artists make when loading in and presenting a show is key. By being conscientious of their presence and footprint in their neighborhoods, artists can build relationships with neighbors that expand their show’s reach.
Submitting Venue Details
Once an artist has found and signed a venue agreement, they are responsible for submitting venue information in Eventotron, the registration and information collection platform. Some venues may already be listed on Eventotron, if an artist cannot find their venue, they can add the information in manually.
FringeArts requires that artists submit the following information about their venue:
- Name of Venue
- Is venue a private residence?
Artists should not list a venue in Eventotron as their Fringe Festival venue until they have a signed contract with the venue.
To protect the artist, the venue, and the Festival regarding any claims for injury or property damage sustained by an audience member or other “third party,” FringeArts require that all participants in the Festival obtain general liability insurance covering themselves and FringeArts. Artists must upload a Certificate of Insurance as proof of coverage on Eventotron.com. This insurance must name FringeArts as “additional insured” on the policy.
Liability Insurance Requirements:
- $1,000,000 per incident and $2,000,000 in the aggregate
- Must name FringeArts as “additional insured” on the policy, not as the venue.
- Must list the venue on the policy
- Policy must be in force the entire time the show is running
Artists may secure insurance from any insurance provider as long as the policy fits the above requirements. FringeArts has secured an insurance partner that has a quick and easy policy available designed specifically for Fringe Festival Artists.
Artists looking for Festival insurance may use the FringeArts & Eventsured Partnership Policy
- Remember that budgeting includes both revenue and expenses, not just costs
- Conservative budgeting relies on overestimating expenses and underestimating income, so that there is a built in cushion
- Goal is to have at least a net zero (break-even) budget
Important Budget Terms & Definitions
- Earned Income – Ticket sales, concession sales, tips, etc.
- Contributed Income – Donations, sponsorships, grants, fundraised income. Donations may be individual or corporate donations.
- Tip: Though not considered “income”, you may look for In-Kind Donations to offset expenses.
- Gross Income- Total amount earned
- Net Income – Profit after expenses
- Actuals – The actual recorded revenues and expenditures at a given point
- Estimated revenue should be calculated BEFORE you begin spending money. Knowing your potential revenue will help you budget for expenses. Do not calculate your expenses and then try to recoup, revenue calculation and expense budgeting should happen in tandem.
- Budget for both Earned Income (ticket sales, VIP experiences, concessions, etc) and Contributed Income (donations, grants)
Calculating Ticket Sale Revenue
Remember that participants in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival keep 90% of ticket income sold through the Festival Box Office and 100% of their walk up sales. When calculating your total revenue, remember to consider if you expect to sell more in advance or at the door.
Ticket sales = (average ticket price) x (expected capacity) x (# of performances)
- Price – Consider full price, discounts, and comps. Do not calculate potential ticket income on full price tickets alone.
- Capacity – Consider how many of the available seats do you expect to sell. Do you expect sell out shows, or a percentage of the house? Be conservative with your estimate.
- Performances – Only calculate the CONFIRMED performance instances. Do you already have a venue booked and dates scheduled? How many performances can you realistically present?
Expenses to Consider
Revenue calculation and Expense budgeting should happen in tandem. Knowing your potential expenses will help with fundraising efforts and determine your necessary earned income. When calculating expenses, be sure to overestimate potential expenses.
- Production – Read your contracts! Venue rental, production labor (may be included with venue), Sound/Lighting equipment (included with venue?), artist fees, sets, etc.
- Marketing – Though FringeArts does market on your behalf, consider your own marketing costs. Printing, distribution, design of assets, online ads, etc. (Can you get your printing done in-kind?)
- Administrative – Don’t forget administrative costs (local travel, insurance, permits)
- Contingency – Always a good idea to add contingency (unexpected expenses always come up and this can minimize surprises to your bottom line. Rule of thumb is 10% of exp)
- Record your actuals as you go, to track how your spending and sales compared to what you thought you would spend and earn.
- Keep track of receipts! Good practice is to use the same card/account for all expenses on one project.
- After the production, record your final actuals vs budget, especially if you need to report to funders, or if you’ll do this show again!
Budget Template - Build Your Own Budget!
Feel Free to use this Fringe Festival Show Budget Template designed by the FringeArts Finance Department.
If you have finance and budgeting questions, contact Finanace@FringeArts.com
FringeArts provides a set of marketing services to all shows in the festival, but artists should be prepared to engage in their own marketing efforts as well. Creating your unique marketing plan can really improve your shows reach.
Fringe Festival Marketing Services - Included with Registration
There are several complementary marketing services that FringeArts offers to every show in the festival. The earlier a show is completely registered and finalizes their show information, the more services they can take advantage of.
All shows registered in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival receive:
- An event page on PhillyFringe.org
- tickets managed through the Fringe Festival Box Office
- Engagement with FringeArts on social media (often prompted by artist tagging FringeArts)
Shows that register by the Print Guide Deadline (June 15) also receive:
- A listing in Philadelphia Fringe Festival Print Guide
- Signage to be displayed at their venue
Shows that register by the Early Registration Deadline (May 1) receive:
- Option to be included in early festival announcements
- Early access to potential preview opportunities
Creating a Social Media Plan
Social media is a powerful tool for audience engagement that can create a buzz around a Fringe Festival show. Artists should develop their own social media strategy to promote their show
A social media schedule can look like:
- Facebook – 1 post per day (Create a Facebook Event with link to your PhillyFringe.org event page and invite your contacts)
- Twitter – 3 posts per day
- Instagram – 1 post per day/ 3 or more stories per day
FringeArts is committed to re-tweeting, liking, and favoriting any relevant posts in which we are tagged, so be sure to include @FringeArts in your post to reach our 9,600+ followers on Twitter, 15,000+ on Facebook, and 14,000+ on Instagram.
In order to engage with FringeArts, the Fringe Festival, and optimize social media presence artists should:
- Tag FringeArts in all stories, posts, & tweets
- Use hashtags like #FringeFestival2023 #PhillyFringe2023
- Follow accounts of other artists in the festival & repost their posts
- Join Facebook groups related to the show
Unless a particular show is touring for a long time, or has a very large audience base, it is NOT recommended to create new social media accounts for a specific piece. Leverage the network you already have. Creating a following on a new Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account is a full time effort, and will not yield the same results as sharing and posting to your existing followers.
Writing a Good Show Description
Titles are part of the artistic process. The first allegiance should be to the piece itself. Overall, short, evocative titles tend to work best in the Festival Guide.
Audiences turn to the Print Guide and Website during Festival-time, and the description is often the main tool they use to make ticket-buying decisions. So the primary goal in writing a description is to be clear, informative, and interesting.
For the Print Guide, each listing can be 300 characters max, including space. Use it wisely. The Guide listing will already include the genre, title, times, locations, and ticket price. Focus should be on the main elements that will accurately represent the work and set it apart from the rest. Audiences feel empowered to see a show when they have a better sense of what they can expect, even if it’s the unexpected.
The PhillyFringe.org event page has room for a longer description, up to 2000 characters. Artists often find that very long show descriptions are overwhelming to audiences, and can push important show information further down the page. Making sure a show description paints a tantalizing and full picture without giving away too much is important.
If the piece is largely conceptual, it is helpful to find one concrete idea that an audience can hook onto. The larger themes are what audiences would take away, but it’s unlikely they will be able to digest them in the midst of 200 other show descriptions.
It also doesn’t hurt to mention any awards, brief press quotes, or notable performances, if applicable.
Creating a Good Show Image
While registering your show, you will be asked to upload one square 1080 x 1080 pixel image for the print and web listings.
A great promotional image is the single most important investment to promote a Fringe Festival show. If it’s in the budget, hire a professional photographer. Some photographers offer discounts for artists. If it’s not in the budget, find a friend with a nice camera and ask for their help in exchange for billing in the program. Work with a photographer to come up with eye-catching images. Elements may include a dynamic composition and unusual angles. Promotional images are staged, in locations that evoke the energy of the performance. There should be costume elements, but do not require full staging. These are great for promoting a piece that may not be fully developed.
When creating posters, postcards, and your own promotional materials, the same image you have sent to the festival should be used.
- Create/Photograph your own image! (or work with a local artist/designer)
- Use the same image in all of your promotions to increase recognition
- Make sure the image matches the tone of the show
- NO TEXT on the guide image, unless the show has a simple logo. There will be descriptive text in the rest of your listings!
- No Headshots
- No stolen images
- No company logos, guide image should be specific to the show, not the producer
- No ticket prices, times, or dates on the image. That on your web page and print listing, and you can add to any posters/postcard later.
- Don’t overcomplicate it! The image will be used in small print, social media, and online. Complicated, busy images will not look great in all formats. Make sure it is clear and iconic!
Artists should launch email invite campaigns to their shows
Personal Emails – Craft a personal invite to the performance and ask your contacts to share to their networks; always link to the show web page.
Mailing List Emails – If an artist has a mailing list of past attendees, bulk invite those audience members to upcoming events. ALWAYS BCC!
Local Newsletters – Philadelphia is home to two special email lists to which artists can post. We suggest signing up for these news letters and send information about performances. Please note that these lists are not moderated by FringeArts.
- Theatre Philadelphia – https://groups.google.com/u/1/g/theatrephiladelphia
- Philadelphia Dance – https://philadelphiadance.org/listserv/
FringeArts does not print or distribute individual posters or postcards for each show in the festival. It is always good to have some kind of print promotional material for a show. What kind of print promotional material this may be depends on the budget. Professionally printed postcards and posters are ideal, but a hand printed flier is a cheaper option. Artists have found success sharing printing materials with each other, such as two-sided postcards.
Artists should ask to leave postcards and fliers in local businesses (bars, coffee shops, grocery stores, other theaters, gyms) especially in the immediate area around the venue. Artists should bring marketing materials to the Festival Campus at 140 Christopher Columbus Blvd for FringeArts to display. Hanging posters and flyers on public property is illegal and will result in fines, so make sure not to poster on any telephone polls, walls, or fences!
A few Local Printers:
Festival Logo Files & Language
When promoting your Philadelphia Fringe Festival show, it is important to include the Philadelphia Fringe Festivals Logo. Artists can download the logo files HERE.
How to use the logo:
- position the logo in a clear space, with not too busy a background
- make sure it’s legible by choosing a color that doesn’t conflict with your artwork, and avoid low contrasting text
- only use the logo for promotional and marketing materials for shows registered in that years festival
- use the white logo on dark backgrounds and slate logo on light backgrounds
- stretch or squeeze the logo
- rotate or crop the logo
- add any extra text to the logo
- use the logo for promotion of performances taking place outside of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival
- use previous iterations of the logo
- use the FringeArts company logo
Artists self-producing Independent Fringe Festival shows are not authorized to use the FringeArts logo or claim that the performance is presented by FringeArts in their promotional efforts. FringeArts manages the festival platform and artist services but does not produce or present the independently participating shows within the festival.
When in doubt, use the language below.
Full Festival Description:
This performance/event is part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, a city-wide celebration of innovation and creativity in contemporary performance. Each September, the Festival explodes into every nook and cranny of Philadelphia with more than 1,000 artistically daring performances.
The 2023 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, presented by FringeArts, runs September 7-24.
Short Festival Language:
Part of the 2023 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
This performance is part of the 2023 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
This performance is presented by [Artist/Company/Producer Name] as part of the 2023 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
If you don’t have your own, feel free to download and use this Press Release Template.
DO NOT mass email press releases or BCC several contacts. Each one should be sent individually to a specific contact with a personalized introduction.
Box Office & Ticketing
Setting Dates, Times & Ticket Prices
Participating artists may present their show on as many dates and times they like as long as they are within the Festival Dates.
When choosing dates and time for performances artists should consider the following:
- How many performances can occur based on budget, capacity, staff, etc.?
- How many performances can reasonably be filled based on venue capacity and audience potential?
- How many dates of the festival would the artist like to have off to enjoy other events?
- What might be peak times for other competing events?
- What times/dates will the intended audience be available?
- What times/dates will the neighborhood be busy? Should those times be avoided or capitalized on?
Date/Time Setting Tips
- Don’t overextend yourself! The Fringe Festival is 3 weeks long, this does not mean that performances have to run for the full length of the festival!
- Talk to other artists! Based on the type of performance, artists may want to know what their fellow artists are up to to avoid conflicting dates and splitting audiences.
- Mix weekends & Weekdays! Audiences have different schedules, artists may want to consider offering a mix of weekend and weekday performances.
- Be consistent! It is always good practice to have all or most performances at the same time. For example Sept 12, 13, 14 & 17 at 8pm. When schedules become complicated, for example Sep 12 at 7:15pm , Sept 13 at 8pm, Sept 17 at 7:30pm audiences can get confused and mix up their times. Simple information is always best.
Artists determine their own ticket price for their Fringe Festival shows and events. Keep in mind that audiences see multiple performances throughout the fest, so affordability is often a big factor in deciding what to see. Tickets under $20 tend to perform better than those with higher prices, but always consider your personal festival goals and budget when setting your price.
Pay What You Can
Pay What You Can options are becoming more and more popular for Fringe Festival performances. This means that there is an option to pay to attend a performance, but the ticket buyer chooses how much they wish to pay. The Philadelphia Fringe Festival has two Pay What You Can options for artists interested in offering this range.
- PWYC $0 – $20 for artists who do not mind having a free option
- PWYC $5 – $20
Managing Front of House Staff & Volunteers
Depending on the venue and production, a Fringe Festival presentation may require front of house staff and volunteer support to run smoothly. Artists should consider their need for these front of house positions in addition to their production staff.
Box Office/Check In – Responsible for checking in patrons and selling walk up tickets. Box Office staff should stay outside of the venue while the show is happening to watch for late arrivals and walk ups.
House Manager – The house manager will be responsible for managing box office and volunteers, as well as communicating with production staff to get the show started.
Ushers – Depending on the size of the venue, the production may require 1-2 ushers per show. These ushers report to the house manager and are responsible for seating and assisting patrons.
Check In & Door Sales
While the Festival Box Office manages online pre-sales, artists will be responsible for managing check in and walk up sales to their performances. It is highly recommended that the artist secures one or two volunteers to manage the check in and sales experience.
Check In – Final Ticket Reports and Door Lists from FringeArts will be sent to artists 2 hours before showtime. Artists should then print this document, or forward to whoever is responsible for check in at the door. When ticket buyers arrive, if they have already purchased a ticket in advance, their name will be on the door list.
Door Sales – Not all Fringe Festival audience members purchase tickets in advance. All artists should make sure that there is an easy way to purchase tickets at the door. Artists should be prepared to accept ticket payments through a digital payment method (Paypal, Venmo, Zelle), or have change available to receive cash payments. Artists should arm their front of house staff with necessary equipment such as a laptop with a charger, printed QR code for payment links, wifi or hotspot, and/or a cash bank with small bills and change.
It’s recommended to record names and email addresses from walkup ticket sale patrons for your future mailing lists! FringeArts requires artists to submit door sale and total attendance numbers.
Run of Show Checklist
Artists should consider developing their own run of show procedures depending on their needs. Here is a sample checklist:
- Check in with Venue Manager and/ or Stage Manager
- Give Box Office bank to box office associate (count cash in box to make sure it is at the appropriate amount)
- Set up check in equipment/ Box Office Table Set late seating reserved signs/ other special reserved signs
- Set up Volunteer table with stuffers, programs & badges
- Greet ushers at 1 hour before curtain, hand out badges, and suggest a bathroom break while they stuff programs
- Review usher instructions with the ushers and station ushers to their appointed locations by 25-30 minutes before show
OPENING THE HOUSE:
- Open House w/ SM or VM
- Walk around the lobby and assist where needed : Ask people to take their seats at 7 minutes to show start time
5-10 MINUTES TILL CURTAIN:
- Check in with the Box Office
- Check in with the Stage Manager/ Venue Manager
- Give the Stage Manager/ Venue Manager “thumbs up” to start the show anytime between 3 and 5 minutes after scheduled curtain time.
- Have ushers and volunteer ticket seller take an available seat, if no seat available issue comp voucher
AFTER SHOW STARTS:
- Escort late patrons to Late Seating at designated times
- 20-30 minutes into show: put away TicketLeap equipment
AFTER THE SHOW:
- Open doors after curtain call is over
- Have the Ushers pick up programs & trash in the house and lobby. Keep reusable programs
- Collect volunteer badges and dismiss ushers
- Sort through programs that Ushers said were O.K, re-stuff and replace for use again.
- Turn in House report via email or drop off
- Check Out with Venue Manager
2023 Box Office & Ticket Policies
1. TICKETING POLICY & FEES
- Artists may only offer ONE ticket price option for their event (unless offering Pay What You Can Pricing) + a Student & 25-and-under discount.
- Artists set their own ticket price, but will honor FringeArts discounts indicated below.
- Artists must have at least 80% of ticket inventory available through the Festival Box Office.
- FringeArts will retain 10% of any revenue from tickets sold through the Fringe Festival Box Office.
- Artists may keep 100% of revenue from tickets sold on their own and at the door of the show.
- Ticket buyers will pay a $1-3 processing fee (depending on ticket cost) added for all credit card transactions (FringeArts does not retain these funds. They are remitted to a third party).
2. SALES REPORTS
The FringeArt Box Office generates ticket reports for participating artists to keep track of their ticket income and expected attendance
- Weekly Sales Reports will begin in early August, sent to the main admin contact email provided by the artists. This report can only be sent to one person and includes patron email addresses and any associated discounts.
- Daily Sales Reports will begin mid-August
- Final Sales Reports and door lists will be sent two hours before every performance. The Festival Box Office will stop selling tickets two hours prior to the start of each performance.
3. TICKET DISCOUNTS
- Students & 25-and-Under are entitled to $5 off the standard ticket price of any show with tickets over $20. These can be purchased as pre-sales or walk up by showing a student ID/ ID.
- FringeArts Members receive 20% off for all shows with ticket prices OVER $15 .
- Groups of 10+ are eligible for a 25% discount (Arranged in advance through the Box Office)
- Press Pass entitles holder to two free tickets (Arranged in advance through the Marketing Dept)
- Artist Badges: all festival artists are entitled to attend any Fringe Festival show for $5 if there are any available seats at showtime. To receive artist budges, names and email addresses of each shows artists/team members must be submitted through Eventotron.com
4. ATTENDANCE TRACKING
- All at-the-door ticket sales must be recorded and reported in Eventotron.com (registration platform) after the festival by the survey deadline.
5. PATRON CONTACT INFORMATION
- Patron information will be released to Artists upon receiving an email request no later than 90 days after the close of their show. In order to be eligible to receive this information, all artists must have submitted all final documents to FringeArts including W-9s and box office reconciliations.
- Artists may not share patron contact information with other patrons (ex. mass emailing ticket buyers without BCC)
6. CANCELLATIONS, CLOSINGS, & SHOW RELATED CHANGES
- Artists must contact the Independent Artist Program Manager (April@FringeArts.com) with any and all show changes immediately.
- Shows may not be canceled except for extraordinary circumstances (ie: an outdoor production being rained out).
- Shows may not be canceled due to low attendance.
- Presentations taking place during open gallery hours such as visual art installations and durational performances must be accessible during all hours advertised. If an advertised date or time listed on festival platforms is no longer available to the public, artists must contact April@FringeArts.com immediately.
Philadelphia, like much of our country, is unfortunately not a particularly accessible city. Independently producing artists are not responsible for the accessibility problems of the city, however, we do require information be disclosed about what audiences can expect, and encourage artists to consider accessibility when planning their Fringe Festival show.
Philadelphia is home to the largest community of working adults living with disabilities in the United States. You could be missing out on audiences because your potential ticket buyers simply don’t know what to expect. And remember – just because a venue is “wheelchair accessible” does not mean that it is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Compliant (especially if the bathrooms are not wheelchair accessible). Likewise, just because the venue is not ADA Compliant does not mean that people living with various disabilities might not be able to access it – with the right information about the venue and the performance experience, individuals will be able to assess which shows they can and want to attend.
Wheelchair accessibility is not the only accessibility consideration that artists may want to consider. Services for those with hearing and visual impairment, relaxed performances, and other considerations may make a performance more accessible to audiences.
During Fringe Festival Artist registration, FringeArts requires some accessibility & content information for us to share with audiences.
When listing a venue in the Fringe Festival, artists and venue managers alike should consider the following:
- Is the venue entirely wheelchair accessible?
- Is the performance space wheelchair accessible?
- Are the bathrooms on the first floor?
- How do audiences find the specific entrance to the venue?
- A street address does not always indicate the specificities of how to get into the venue, and the venue’s accessibility may depend on how patrons get inside
- What is the journey from front door to seat?
- Ex. FringeArts: there are no stairs to get from outside the building and into theatre, but you do have to walk past a noisy bar/restaurant.
- Describe to us if there are any physical barriers/accommodations in the venue between entering the building and leading audience to seats
Do any of these questions pose an issue for audience members with mobility issues? If so, you may want to indicate this in your show information.
Staff and volunteers should have knowledge of all exits in the building and access to a staff contact list. There should also be a first aid kid and a fire extinguisher on site, and the House Manager/ Stage Manager should be aware of their locations.
Sample Evacuation Procedure:
As a volunteer usher, you will be assigned to an audience entrance door, and are a LEADER in the event of an emergency that necessitates evacuating the building.
The need to evacuate will be signaled by the fire alarm or a FringeArts staff member announcing that there is an emergency in the building.
Quickly and firmly get the attention of your section of the audience and say:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please follow me and I will show you the best way out of the building. Everyone please follow me.”
Remain in the lead. Do not stop to hold doors open for patrons.
If you are not assigned to a door, you are part of the crowd.
You, as trained staff, walk along with the audience until you FIND A JOB.
Hold open doors for patrons to exit quickly
Discourage restroom use
Prohibit use of elevator
Offer assistance to patrons using wheelchairs or who need extra assistance with mobility
Encourage patrons to remain calm and continue moving
FringeArts encourages artists to consider budgeting for and offering accessibility services for their audiences.
Services may include:
- ASL Interpretation
- A sign language interpreter stands at the side of the stage, near to seating that has been set aside for those with hearing difficulties, and is illuminated by a spotlight. Throughout the performance, the interpreter signs the lines or sound cues that the audience cannot hear.
- Open Captioning
- Open captioning is a text display of words and sounds heard during an event. The display is positioned in such a way that it is open for anyone to see in a particular seating area. It is considered passive assistance, a service that is there to use or ignore.
- Audio Description
- AD involves a describer sitting at the rear of the auditorium (in the booth if there is room) providing a narration describing the action on stage. The skill is in not getting in the way of the on stage dialogue, sound effects or other audible movements on stage, but filling in where vision would help with the plot.
- Ramp Rental
- for performances taking place in venues without wheelchair access
- Relaxed Performances
- A Relaxed Performance is one specifically modified to help audience members with special needs to feel at home in the theatre, and to enable them to feel able to make noise and comment on the performance when they wish to. They are designed for audience members with autism, learning disabilities and sensory or communication needs. The sound level is often reduced, complex lighting changes are simplified, and the cast and company warn families when unexpected noises will occur. Often the house lights are left on, and the audience is given a pre-show tour of the theatre so that they are familiar with the environment.
- Childcare for parents in audience
- ONLY if there is a professional child care provider with child care clearances available. This may impact insurance, so artists should plan this service way in advance of the festival
For more information about these services, contact Fringe Festival Manager, April Rose at April@FringeArts.com.
Content Warnings & Considerations
FringeArts will require that artists submit information about their content and experience of the performance. When choosing a venue and crafting the content of the performance, artists should consider the following:
- Appropriate age range
- All artists will be ask to define the appropriate audience for their performance based on the location and content
- This will range from appropriate for all ages to 21+ only for performances taking place in bars or serving alcohol
- Content warnings
- This may include violence, language, nudity, etc.
- Audience participation/Splash zones
- Will the audience have to move during the show?
- audiences with mobility issues may be comfortable getting to the venue and their seat, but should know if they are expected to move once the performance begins. This may impact an audience member’s ability to experience the performance.
- Flashings lights, extremely loud sounds, fog machine usage, etc.