This is PortFringe

If your work can clear the financial, logistical, and institutional barriers of the traditional theater or art world, then that’s where it belongs, but for everything else: we’re here. We’re not a space for regurgitating your old work, or anyone else’s. We’re not here to play it safe.

Fringe is about celebrating the leap of faith. It’s a place to fail better. It’s about grabbing onto the most intense, ambitious performance idea you’ve ever had and committing to it 100%, no matter where you might end up.

Fringe is radically human. A reminder in a world full of corporate gloss that we’re all chaotic balls of teeth, tears, and toenails who contain multitudes. In a world full of righteous certainty it’s probably better to be authentic, vulnerable, and kind than to be right (…about most things).

So don’t give us what you think is a “Fringe” show. Instead sift through all your laughter, pain, hysterics, sorrow, and love until you find an idea that you need to make real before it consumes you, and then bring it to PortFringe.

Welcome to PortFringe, sweating and raw with light.
We support new and experimental work.
We celebrate imagination and innovation.
We are inclusive, intersectional, and unafraid.
We celebrate and contribute to Maine’s vibrant performance art community.

Hello, Artists. We’re so glad you’re here.

If you’re interested in presenting your work at PortFringe, you’re in the right place.

Applying to PortFringe is a simple process: First, read all of the information on this page. Then read it again. Send your questions or concerns to PortFringe with enough time to resolve any confusion before the application deadline. Finally, submit your online application and application fee no later than 11:59PM on January 31, 2023 (the application appears at the bottom of this page).

If you can’t find what you’re looking for below, contact us any time.

Important 2023
Festival Dates

  • January 8, 2023 – Applications open
  • January 31, 2023 – Applications close & application fees due
  • February 15, 2023 – Lottery results sent to Artists
  • March 1, 2023 – Production fees due
  • April 1, 2023 – PortFringe 2023 Artists announced to public
  • June 1–10, 2023 – PortFringe 2023 Festival takes place


PortFringe accepts live performance work of any genre. We are particularly excited about interdisciplinary work that surprises our community. Dancers, theater makers, painters, spoken word artists, ceramicists, fiber artists, clowns, acrobats, comedians, musicians, web designers, burlesque, filmmakers, performance artists and beyond: all are welcome at PortFringe–and all are encouraged to apply with their Fringe show!

In order to create space for as many types of artists and work as possible, PortFringe asks that you do not apply with a show you’ve already done at PortFringe, or that has been done in the Portland (Maine) area within the 12 months preceding the start of our festival. This includes re-packaging work you’ve already presented with a new title, or some modest edits to your script. Bring something to Portland that you haven’t shown us yet.

And if you’re planning to breeze in and out of PortFringe just to perform your show, you are definitely missing the point of PortFringe. Show up. Attend social events. See the work of your fellow artists. Be present. If you cannot commit to full participation, there is someone else who can. Let them have a chance.

PortFringe will be accepting Artist Applications for the following festival categories this year. Please review the following information carefully to determine which application category you would like to move forward with. You may submit just one application in 2023.

Short-Format Work

What is it? Apply with your short-format production, and PortFringe will match you with another short show to create an exciting one-hour, double-feature PortFringe event!

Your Short Show will
* take place in a non-traditional space with access to just basic lights & sound equipment
* have a run time of between 20-30 minutes
* share billing with one other short show to create a unique double-feature event
* be performed three times during PortFringe 2023, with 100% of the box office returns split equally between the two shows

More information about Short Format work is included in the application.


Short-Format Artists will be entered into the PF23 Lottery which will assign (at random) a unique number to each application. PortFringe will select applications in order of this number assignment until all performance spots are filled. Remaining applications will be moved (also in numerical order) to the 2023 Waitlist.

PortFringe expects to select at least 20 Short-Format shows.

Late-Night Events

What is it? Apply with your audience-engaging/interactive, longer-format (60-75 minutes) show/experience designed to close out one of the prime nights of PortFringe!

Your Late Night Event will
* take place in a restaurant, bar, or other social gathering setting
* have a run time of between 60-75 minutes
* be featured as the singular audience experience to which all PortFringe audiences and community members will be directed at the end of a prime festival night (start time of 9:30PM)
* be a one-night only event
* receive 100% of the box office returns

More information about Late Night Events is included in the application.


Late Night applications (with Artist names and other obvious identifying characteristics removed) will be reviewed by subset of the PortFringe Committee and will be scored based upon the highest potential for successfully engaging, interacting with, surprising and delighting a large audience of PortFringe community members.

5 Late Night shows will be selected in 2023.

The PortFringe 2023 Equity-Seeking Artist Priority Lottery

PortFringe is holding 50% of our 2023 Short-Format Show spots for Equity-Seeking Artist applicants. Equity-Seeking Artist applications will be drawn in the first round of the PF23 Lottery until the reserved spots have been filled, or until all Equity-Seeking Artist applications have been drawn. This priority lottery is open to self-identifying Artists as follows:

  • Those in the Global Majority – Artists who are Indigenous, Black, Brown, Asian, Arab, Southwest Asian, and North African
  • Members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community
  • Disabled Artists

More information about this lottery filter can be found in the application.

PortFringe is committed to being a more accessible and equitable festival. We are also addressing the physical and financial accessibility of our festival in 2023. We welcome your feedback – contact PortFringe with your suggestions and observations about our access and equity work.

A special note for Artists not from the Portland area…

PortFringe has proudly featured the work of national and international Artists, as well as Artists from other Maine communities. Sadly, due to the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, PortFringe (still) cannot guarantee Artist housing this year. At this time, we welcome the applications of any Artist willing to arrange their own accommodations.

We deeply regret the challenges this presents for applicants who are not local to Portland. We cherish our connection to the Touring Artist community and are hopeful our full pre-pandemic levels of hospitality can be restored in 2024.

The application (below) includes additional information for non-local Artists. As always contact us anytime with questions or concerns.


PortFringe is committed to the safety of our community. While we can’t predict the future, we can all work together and do our part to ensure our community’s health and safety. To that end, PortFringe is requiring that all participating Artists be fully vaccinated (including the bivalent booster) by the start of the festival on June 1. If you, or anyone in your company, are unable to get vaccinated for any reason, please contact PortFringe at

PortFringe reserves the right to implement additional COVID protocols based on COVID parameters leading up to the festival.


Pay 2023 Application Fee Here!

There are two Artist Fees at PortFringe – an Application Fee ($25) for each Artist applicant, and a Production Fee ($125) for each Artist selected for participation in the Festival. There are no other fees associated with PortFringe participation.

These fees offset part of the expenses of festival management each year including venue rentals, technical equipment, marketing, and printing of tickets & festival guides. We also receive generous support from festival sponsorships, individual donors, and the proceeds of our annual POP-UP PortFringe event.

While we work hard to keep our Festival affordable, we acknowledge that $150.00 is not a small amount of money. If payment of these fees in one lump sum is causing you financial hardship, we want to hear from you. There will be an opportunity in the application to begin a conversation with PortFringe about how we can work together to reduce some of the financial burden!


The PortFringe Ethos

We strive to make PortFringe a safer, equitable, and accessible place for independent artists to experiment with work that doesn’t “fit” into the mainstream. It’s a gathering point for everyone who understands the importance of art for art’s sake. It’s a carnival of belonging built for everyone who feels out of place in today’s world. Ultimately, it’s a moment when artists and audiences can come together and celebrate fearlessness, risks, and leaps of faith.

The ideal PortFringe show is fresh, unique, and your heart has been poured into it. Is it angry or joyful? Frenetic or peaceful? Will it send the audience to a transcendent fantasy world or push them further in the chaos of everyday reality? A great show’s message can be shouted through a megaphone or delicately whispered. 

We put our trust in you to take risks, go big, make art that you can be proud of. As much as anything we do, it’s the consistent ability of artists to create work that astounds and amazes us that defines the identity of PortFringe, and the best show to “fit” the festival is one that pushes that identity forward. 

Applications OPEN on January 8

Applications will CLOSE on January 31



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