Rochester’s Fringe Festival September 19-23, 2012

Welcome to the Fringe

Five days. Dozens of shows. All on display throughout Rochester. It’s a festival the likes of which Rochester has never seen before. A spectacular celebration of the performing and visual arts in the heart of Rochester’s East End, featuring world-renowned performers as well as up-and-comers.

The First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival

The Rochester Fringe Festival is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that connects venues, performers, artists, educational institutions and the audience. We give artists and performers the freedom to stage their own work and venues to decide their own programming. The Fringe was pioneered by several of Rochester’s premier cultural institutions, including Geva Theatre Center, the George Eastman House and Garth Fagan Dance, as well as up-and-coming groups like PUSH Physical Theatre and Method Machine. Our Board of Directors includes representatives from the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music, RIT, Center for Youth, Boylan Code LLC, and Mengel Metzger Barr. Additionally, numerous colleges, government representatives, museums, galleries and philanthropic organizations have joined in enthusiastic support of Rochester’s first fringe festival.


In 1947, eight theatre groups turned up – uninvited – to perform at the newly established Edinburgh International Festival. The groups performed at venues they arranged themselves. The following year, Scottish journalist Robert Kemp coined the term “fringe festival” to describe these renegade performers. Today, there are more than 200 fringe festivals worldwide, with approximately 20 existing within the United States. Each fringe festival is a creative and economic engine for its host communities. For example, last year the Edinburgh Fringe saw 41,689 performances of 2,542 shows in 258 venues lasting the entire month of August. It grosses over $100 million annually for the Scottish economy.