Our Festival Culture:
PortFringe. This isn’t theater. This is fringe.
We are not boring theater. Go find that on some real stage somewhere else.
We’re also not used-up theater. Bring something new to PortFringe, or don’t bring anything at all.
Fringe is not a practice space. Fringe is where you find the claws, the teeth, the dirty underwear. You are grinning.
Fringe left the establishment on purpose, with purpose. Fringe is about taking risks. Fringe is being experimental and outside the norm. Fringe would prefer to offend than placate, prefer to ignite than pacify, prefer to stretch your limits beyond the comfort of the safe little black box and into the great big scary world.
So if you are seeking theater with a gold star, or a blue ribbon, or lodged inside the comfort zone, there are many fine establishments out there to hold your hand. Here at PortFringe, we flex our performance muscles beyond strained. We want to hear your laughter and screams over the din of the city. We want you to be turned on by something you didn’t know existed. We want you get a little uncomfortable, and maybe have a good time doing it.
There is too much mediocrity in the world. Bother to fight against it.
Welcome to PortFringe, sweating and raw with light.
We are a by-lottery, non-juried fringe festival.
We support new, edgy, and experimental work.
We celebrate the imaginative and the weird.
We are inclusive, intersectional, and unafraid.
We seek to eliminate financial and logistical barriers so that artists can focus on their work.
We celebrate and contribute to Maine’s vibrant performance art community.
We do this out of love and passion – for theater, for creativity, for cardboard props, and packed houses. We are over one hundred performances crammed into the Arts District of Portland, Maine.
Plus, it’s super fun.
Our Festival City: If you didn’t know, Maine is perfect during the summer, and our festival city is at the bustling heart of it all. Portland (the largest municipality in Maine at just 65,000 residents) is a vibrant coastal city bursting at the seams with character and charm. From the colorful working waterfront, to the cobblestone streets of the historic Old Port, to the sweeping panoramic ocean vistas of Munjoy Hill, and all of the quirky neighborhoods in between – you will be smitten with Portland. The words “Buy Local” and “Small Business” still mean something here in this fiercely independent, authentic city. PortFringe venues – all walkable from one another – are tucked into architecturally stunning historic buildings surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, microbreweries and independent retailers. PortFringe is proud to be part of what keeps Portland weird.
Our History: PortFringe launched in 2012 as a five-day, cutting-edge fringe festival with 40 acts ranging from serious to silly and everything in between. With generous support from our community, an army of volunteers, and a pool of talented actors, directors, designers, and producers, PortFringe showcases an impressive depth and breadth of local and national talent. In our second year, PortFringe grew to over 60 acts – all in Portland’s walkable downtown Arts District. As we enter our NINTH year, PortFringe looks to keeps things fringey, expand our audience base, and be a force to reckon with.