Image may contain: 12 people, people smiling Welcome, Artists!
(Please Read Before Applying)
 Image may contain: 2 people

Hey, Artists!
Whether you’re visiting our site for the first time, or are ready to apply for our upcoming festival, we’re so glad you’ve found us! This page is specifically designed for Artists interested in participating in our festival (if you’re looking for general information about PortFringe, you can find that here). What follows is a list of answers to the most-asked questions from Artists over the past years. If you can’t find what you’re looking for below, contact us any time at

Application-Specific Dates and Deadlines:
December 2, 2017 – Artist Applications for 2018 Open
January 31, 2018 – Artist Application (and Application Fee) Deadline
By February 7, 2018 – Applicants receive Lottery outcome notification (Participation Offers or Waitlist Placement)
February 28, 2018 – All Production Fees Due
March 3, 2018 – PortFringe 2018 Artists and Shows revealed to the public at POP-UP MIDSUMMER

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.
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 (and even make money doing so).
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.

PortFringe as a Safe Space:
PortFringe holds the health and safety of its artists, volunteers, patrons and staff as its highest priority.  We hold a zero-tolerance policy on harassment, non-consensual contact and abuse of any kind, and we reserve the right to revoke artist and producing agent rights and membership, volunteer status and audience admission if this code of conduct is violated at any time.  We are committed to maintaining and holding the Fringe environment and experience as a safe, inclusive and intersectional community for all of our community members.

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. PortFringe venues – all walkable from one another – are tucked into architecturally stunning historic buildings throughout the historic Arts District and are surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, microbreweries and independent retailers. The words “Buy Local” and “Small Business” still mean something here in this fiercely independent, authentic city, and PortFringe is proud to be part of what keeps Portland weird.

How PortFringe Selects its Artists:
We are a completely unjuried/uncurated festival, with all participants chosen as part of a fair selection lottery, weighted to ensure a balance of local and non-local artist representation.

Artist Fees:
Application Fee (due by Jan 31) – $25.00 (USD, non-refundable) – 2018 application Fees can be Paid by clicking here.
Production Fee (due by Feb 28) – $150.00-$200.00 (USD, non-refundable), depending on number of performances.

What your Production Fee Includes:
-A guaranteed minimum of four (4) performances during the Festival, with the possibility of an additional two (2) performances on a space-available basis.
-A PortFringe-managed venue, appointed with basic lighting and sound capabilities.
-Listing in the PortFringe Festival Guide (distributed during the festival and in the weeks prior).
-Inclusion in general festival press and marketing efforts throughout 2018.
-Comprehensive box office and accounting oversight and management.
-A dedicated management-level PortFringe “Buddy” assigned to help YOU and your show through the entire process from lottery to final payout and everything in between!

PortFringe Run-Times:
Shows must have a performance time of 45-60 minutes to receive a single billing in the festival.  We not accept shows longer than 60 minutes – lights will go down at 60 minutes – it pays to time it out!

Unlike many other festivals however, PortFringe celebrates and provides a platform for short-format fringe performance (keep reading for more information).

Short-Format Fringe Theater/PortFringe “Multi-Feature” Events:
If you have a show with a short run-time (5-25 minutes), please apply! PortFringe will match your show with another short show to create one of our exciting multi-feature events (two or three unique shows in one 60-minute performance slot). Multi-feature performances are consistently among the highest-regarded and best-attended of the festival. The same application and production fees apply for short-format applicants, and Artists sharing multi-feature performance tracks split (equally) all of the revenue associated with their multi-feature event.

Another insider tip — short show applications have a higher likelihood of making it into the festival. Nearly all short-format applicants are offered placement in the festival, as short-format shows with favorable lottery numbers require additional short-format shows to create a multi-feature event.  [Another way to think of it – if there are three unique short shows in one 60-minute performance slot, they are effectively sharing the same, most favorable, lottery number of the three — which then moves two more applicants into more favorable positions].

PortFringe venues are a mix of black box theaters, nightclubs, and other arts spaces. Our smallest venues have seating for 40-50 people, and our largest venues can accommodate about 100-150.  Included Tech: Each venue is equipped with basic lighting and audio playback capabilities. There is NO storage for props and set pieces at PortFringe venues. Tech NOT provided(note: while some venues might include the following items, they are not guaranteed by PortFringe. Please be as explicit as possible in your application) aerial rigging points, projectors, projection screens/surfaces, microphones, amps, musical instruments (including pianos).

Ticket Prices and Artist Payouts:
PortFringe returns 100% of ticket sales back to our Artists. 
PortFringe sells a limited number of show-specific single tickets, online and in advance of the festival week. Once the festival begins, all sales are for general admission, passes that can be used for any show on a rush-admission basis. Prices for all passes have been raised in 2018 to ensure a better balance between audience affordability and maximum Artist payout.  Most ticket sales are single or three-show passes.

Artists can expect to receive the following prices (which do not include a separate $1 surcharge assessed to audience members to offset box office handling).
     -Single Ticket/Pass Price: Artist receives $11.00
     -Three-Show Rush Pass: Artist receives $10.33 per punch
     -Nine-Show Rush Pass: Artist receives $9.33 per punch
     -Unlimited/VIP Rush Pass: Artist receives $7.00 per punch

While Artists are responsible for securing their own housing, PortFringe offers billeting assistance, and to date, has been able to provide housing matches for 100% of our touring artists. This process will be initiated as part of the application process. Questions about billeting can be directed to

Other Artist Perks:
DISCOUNT BADGE: Artists will receive a discount badge that can be used to purchase merchandise (t-shirts), and tickets (for personal use only) at a 50% discount.
FRINGE CENTRAL: Our Fringe Central location opens by noon each day of the festival, with wi-fi, coffee and treats provided for our Artists. Fringe Central is a great place to unwind, check your messages, do some work, or meet people.
WORKSHOPS: Artists will have the opportunity to apply to present workshops during PortFringe at our Fringe Central location. These workshops are free and open to the public, and are excellent marketing opportunities in addition to fostering camaraderie and artistic networking among Fringe Artists.
SOCIAL EVENTS: Artists are invited to participate in all PortFringe events including our Artist Happy Hour, and our epic closing night dance party.

PortFringe awards Patron’s Choice Awards based on ticketed attendance in each venue. Our independent critics panel also bestows additional awards for a series of fun and quirky and less-quantitative categories. (Click here for a list of 2017 award recipients).

PortFringe engages the services of a panel of independent critics who are deployed in the early days of the festival. Each production should have at least one “first look” review the day after the first performance. Additional reviews may also be provided by the local press outlets in Portland. (Click here to read PortFringe 2017 First Look Reviews).

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