Tucson Fringe Fest 2020 By the Numbers

Paola Garcia-Prieto/ December 9, 2019

We are excited to give you guys a breakdown of the ninth annual Tucson Fringe Festival! As is the nature of Fringe Festivals, we have a large variety of shows for you to choose from, many of which cannot be contained to one single category. Nevertheless, we surveyed each of our artists to give you, dear reader, an overview of what our upcoming festival festival has in store for you.

First off: We have a total of 22 shows being performed in five different venues: Seinfeld Warehouse, Studio One, The Screening Room, ATC’s Cabaret and the Tucson Circus Academy (which is a BYOV addition). Each space is unique and intimate. Be sure to check out our Venue Spotlight posts on this blog!

Of our 22 shows, 14 come from Tucson locals and the other nine are from other places including Minneapolis, New York City, Portland and San Diego. You can see where everyone is from here.

We have six artists who are returning to Tucson Fringe Fest! Alina Burke, Tom Steward, Tom Potter, The Esperanza Dance Project, Catfish Baruni and Emily Gates have all participated in past Fringe Festivals and are excited to be returning with brand new projects!

This leaves us with 16 newcomers, six of whom have participated in other Fringe Festivals in the past! For the remaining 10 The Tucson Fringe Festival is their first Fringe Fest.

Moving on to some statistics: 40% of these shows are being performed in front of a live audience for the very first time during the festival! The average number of performers in each show is four. There are eight one-person shows, and only two shows with ten or more performers. Largest cast goes to “House of Hope” by the Esperanza Dance Project which will have 12-14 dancers!

We’ll let this graph speak for itself.

It looks like the AZ flag!

As previously stated, the nature of Fringe Festivals is to perform Avant-Garde theatre that can’t be put into a neat box. Yet, for the sake of this blog, we asked our artists to select the box that best described their show and listed 8 broad categories for them to choose from. The survey also allowed arists to write in their own category, which was, predictably, the most common selection. Here is the graph result:

For the sake of simplification, I took the liberty of categorizing the plays that seemed to fit larger genres. However, we encourage you to read each show’s description here to get a better sense of what they’re about.

We’ll start with our biggest category: These seven shows are rooted in Story Telling and Poetry. Some use music (“Gidget and Donuts,” “A Life of Sorrow”), most of them are one-person shows (“Died in a Trailer Park,” “The Green Man Recalls,” “Men are Garbage,” “A Life of Sorrow and Pajama Party”) and one is a live podcast (“You’ve Got to be Kidding me!”).

Next we have the Scripted Play group – four describe themselves as Scripted Comedies (“The Cosmonauts,” “How to Contract Lycanthropy,” “Space Force!” and “What, Will You?”) and “Old Pueblo Playwrights Showcase” is a collection five short plays.

The next group of shows are intertwined with music. Two are dance performance based (“Currents” and “Hose of Hope”) and, as you can tell by our guitar wielding artists, the other two are musical shows (“A Brief History of American Musical Humor” and “Sexology the Musical”).

The remaining six are a mix of devised performances, improv, interdisciplinary rituals and political performance pieces. “Stop Hating Yourself” is our second live podcast show. “Tammy’s Bachelorette” and “Less Than or Equal to Two” are primarily improv but also include dance, music and visual art. “Silly Women” and “The Shape of AZ and US” are one of a kind and devised performance pieces. And lastly “Alters in the 5th District” describes itself as a “nonlinear fleshing across dimensions we never had maps to discover before.”

For a little bit of fun we asked them each to describe the “Fringiest” aspect of their show. Here is a list of our favorites:

How to Contract Lycanthropy : Well-researched werewolf instruction.
What, Will You? : Spontaneous Shakespearean Train Interruption
Space Force! : Planet-President Trump’s Twitter Brain
A Brief History of American Musical Humor : Second time through the sixties
Sexology: The Musical! : Musical exploring monogamy/polyamory
Currents : Women in the air
Men Are Garbage : Not a traditional scripted show.
House of Hope : Audience interactive and improvised Bachelorette Party with cake
Silly Woman : Story that transcends time and space
Less Than or Equal to 2 : Our attention spans

You can learn more about these shows by following us on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook where each artist gets a full day to take over our social media accounts! To learn more about these shows come to our Free Two Minute preview event at Cafe Passe on Thursday, January 9th.

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