Midwestern Friendliness at The Chicago Fringe

In its seventh year, the Chicago Fringe presents forty-seven unique productions at five different venues in Jefferson Park. Although the Fringe presents a high caliber roster of plays, musicals, standups and magicians, the most admirable quality of the Fringe is not the quality of the performances, but the camaraderie of the performers. The Chicago Fringe fosters a wonderful community for performers who, along with the event organizers, create a familial environment.

The support among the artists is palpable; along with their family and friends, the artists have a support system of Fringe members and artists rooting for them. At almost every Fringe show, performers take time before, after, and in some cases during the show to highlight other shows they’ve enjoyed or other artists they’ve befriended. Many of the review requests received are in fact recommendations by Fringe artists about some else’s show, and The Chicago Fringe itself shares artists’ digital publicity and market efforts whenever they can. I have personally been to several shows were I’ve been seated near a Fringe artist who had agreed to take pictures or video for a production although they aren’t involved in the show in anyway.

The beauty of theatre is that it communicates with its audience on such a visceral level. Good theatre often creates a message that transcends the confines of the space itself. The Chicago Fringe has made sure that message is community, and that their spaces are places where audience members can laugh and share together like neighbors, and artists can form real friendships. In fact, we were welcomed us to the Fringe family and are grateful for such a warm reception. The Chicago Fringe encapsulates what theatre – not to mention life – at its core is really about: friendship.

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