Alumni Driven Arts Festival Brings Over 50 Live Performances to Campus

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In its seventh season at the Daniel Arts Center, the Berkshire Fringe will present over 100 emerging artists and 50 performances of original dance, theater, music, and more from July 25 to August 15.

The Fringe, organized by Sara Katzoff ’97, Peter Wise, and Timothy Ryan Olson ’95, brings a diverse cross-section of original, high-quality, interdisciplinary performing arts to campus. A hub for emerging artists to develop new work, the Fringe compliments Bard College at Simon’s Rock’s programming calendar.

With its youthful, experimental energy, the Fringe is distinct from the other summer theater and music festivals in the Berkshires. Founded with accessibility in mind, the Fringe is committed to keeping tickets affordable. Festival goers can also choose from many free programs, community workshops, and “pick your own price” opening nights.

Since 2005, the Fringe has hosted over 300 emerging artists from across the country and around the corner. Hailed as ‘‘sassy and experimental’’ by the New York Times, artistic director Sara Katzoff explains that the festival is all about “giving artists as many resources as possible so they can focus on the work.” She singles out the Fringe’s relationship with the College as essential in carrying out this mission, and notes the many links between Simon’s Rock and the Fringe.

Many of the artists and performers live on campus during the festival, and this year all of the Fringe’s interns are Simon’s Rock students. “Interns are the backbone of this organization: We’re lean, we’re youthful, and we designed the internship program with this in mind. Our interns have serious responsibilities and leave having significantly enhanced their production skills.”

Programming for the action-packed three weeks includes:

  • 30 Live!, a totally free music series
  • EarlyStages, a showcase of new plays by emerging writers from New England
  • Dozens of special events and post-show artist discussions
  • Free community workshops
  • A new artist residency program featuring the acclaimed San Francisco based comedy group, the Pi Clowns

The action starts with a gala, PROPOCALYPSE!, July 25 in the Daniel Arts Center. The gala will present seven world premiere short works of dance, theater, and film. This year, the event is a celebration of artistic ingenuity and innovation centered around stage props and the various ways that they inspire, shape, and inform the creative process. Come savor what these artists can do with nothing but a stage, a wheelbarrow, an orange, and an unopened letter.

Visit the Berkshire Fringe website for tickets, more information, and a full calendar of events