Hey, Artists!
JUNE 13-22

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 portfringe@gmail.com.

Application-Specific Dates and Deadlines for PORTFRINGE 2019:
December 1, 2018 – Applications open
January 31, 2019 – Application and fees close 
By February 10, 2019 – Lottery Results Sent to Artists
February 28, 2019 – All Production Fees Due

March 2, 2019 – Artists and Shows revealed to the public

Is PortFringe the Right Fit for You?
You may be choosing PortFringe because you’ve heard good things. You may be choosing PortFringe because you think Maine in the summer sounds like a must-do. You may be choosing PortFringe because you’ve participated before and you get it.  Or you may be choosing PortFringe because it’s one of the most financially-accessible festivals in the world (no. like really. it is.) Let’s the record straight on that last point. Our entry fees are low because we want to you to take an artistic risk. Innovate. Collaborate. Experiment. Try something new. Because here’s the thing – PortFringe is imploring you to think about your fringe experiences differently. Dig deep.  Reflect harder. Ask yourself the tough questions about how, where and why you fringe. What does fringe mean to you?

Quite simply, If fringe to you means sold-out runs and five-digit payouts for a show you could do with your eyes closed at this point, then frankly – you’re missing entirely the opportunity you are being offered at PortFringe.  Is bringing a show you’ve performed at dozens of other festivals over the past years playing it just a bit safe? 

Everything we do, we do it for you, Artists. We are passionate about being uncensored and un-juried, and we will give your show the warm embrace of our festival, regardless of what you choose to present. It’s just that PortFringe is the ideal laboratory for experimenting with your art. A testing ground for Your Big Ideas. If you’ve been looking for a reason to step outside — maybe even WAYYYY outside — your comfort zone, PortFringe may just be the perfect fit. 

What’s New in 2019?
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. Whether you’re local or you’re from away, bring something to Portland that you haven’t shown us yet.

Also – PortFringe is doing some experimenting of our own this year. The 2019 version of the festival we know and love will now include two new components – one for solo work, and one for large-scale installation work. Read on for more details – interested Artists can use the main PortFringe 2019 Application to get started (link at bottom of this page)!

  • PortFringe Solo Fest
    What is it? Solo Fest is a special kick-off event that takes place before the rest of the PortFringe 2019 festival begins. Randomly selected, new-to-PortFringe solo shows will perform on June 13 & 14 in a special highlighted lineup that will provide an opportunity for solo performance Artists to connect with each other and especially to connect with audiences that are particularly interested in solo performance. Solo Fest shows will continue their performance run when the main festival begins on June 15 – with the added benefit of having had early exposure and buzz for their shows.

Requirements for Solo Fest shows:
-show has one performer

-show is 40-60 minutes in length
-show has zero technical requirements and could pop-up and go in any (indoor) PortFringe venue (show may perform in several different venues during the week).

  • PortFringe Installation Fest
    What is it? PortFringe welcomes the addition of Immersive Installation Art as an option for 2019 applicants. Interested Artists will have an opportunity to transform an empty, warehouse-like (indoor) PortFringe venue to present large-scale, new-to-PortFringe, immersive, installation performance experiences. The four-day Installation Fest will take place during the main festival from June 19-22, with one Installation Artist/Company programmed in the installation venue on each of the four dates. Installation Artists will be provided with the extra time needed to present this type of work. PortFringe’s Installation Fest is an opportunity to present an exciting, experimental type of large-scale show that may otherwise be incompatible with a fast-paced fringe festival format.

Requirements for Installation Fest shows:
-must be a 3-D installation including a visual art element and at least one other discipline such as performance, video, sound, immersive virtual reality, etc.

-show must completely transform the perception of the space.
-show must provide all required supplies for their own unique installation (including lighting, sound, projections, etc).
-show must be able to install/de-install in 2 hours or less.

More details about solo and installation fest logistics can be found in the application (link below)

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 (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 Safer 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 safer, 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
. 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.

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. The only thing we ask is that you do not apply with a show you’ve done at PortFringe already, or that has been performed in the Portland (Maine) area within the 12 months preceding the start date of our festival. 

Artist Fees:
Application Fee (due by Jan 31) – $25.00 (USD, non-refundable) – Pay your 2019 application here.
Production Fee (due by Feb 28) – $150.00-$200.00 (USD, non-refundable), depending on number of performances. 2019 production fee link will be posted on or before February 10, 2019.

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 2019.
-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:

  • Single-billing performance
    Shows must have a performance time of 40-60 minutes to receive a single billing in the festival (for shorter run times, read on).  We not accept shows longer than 60 minutes – lights will go down at 60 minutes – it pays to time it out!

Also – important! – Please do not apply for single billing if your show is less than 40 minutes! See the details below for multi-feature billing applicants – you, your show, and our festival community will benefit from an accurate representation of your show’s run-time.

  • Short-Format “muti-feature” billing
    If you have a show with a short run-time (5-35 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 non-traditional theater spaces. Our smallest venues have seating for roughly 30 people, and our largest venues can accommodate about up to 100.  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 were 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 portfringe@gmail.com.

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 in a series of fun and quirky categories. (Click here for a list of 2018 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 2018 First Look Reviews).