Rochester Fringe offering financial help for marginalized performers 

click to enlarge The Rochester Fringe Festival's Spiegeltent. - PHOTO BY ERICH CAMPING
  • PHOTO BY ERICH CAMPING
  • The Rochester Fringe Festival's Spiegeltent.
Playwrights, puppeteers and other performers in need of a financial push to the finish line for this year’s Rochester Fringe Festival may have some relief in sight: The Fringe Production Launch Fund.

“This is the first year we have been able to offer some financial support for artists who are in financial need,” said Erica Fee, Rochester Fringe Festival president and CEO. “In particular, we are looking for applications from artists who identify as being from marginalized groups who may have been held back from advancement in the arts.”

To be eligible for the funds, performers must be registered for the 2023 Fringe to present a live, in-person performance and must have demonstrated a need for assistance.

The deadline for applying for the $250 to $1,000 awards to productions registered to perform in the festival is midnight April 21.

The deadline for performers to apply for a slot has been extended to noon April 5.

The Rochester Fringe, now in its 12th year, follows the same citywide format as the originator of such festivals. Likewise, The Fringe Production Launch Fund is a financial model that is taking hold among arts events.

“In fact, it really follows the model that Edinburgh Fringe just released,” Fee said. “They as well just released a very similar fund.”

The funding comes from a $5,000 grant being made available by the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

Diversity is a key component of the grants.

“When you are producing your own work, it comes with certain expenses,” Fee said, “and we want to be able to ensure that the groups who are chosen are able to produce their work without financial hardship. We want to ensure that we can level the playing field a bit for them.”

The application can be found here: https://backstage.rochesterfringe.com/production-launch-fund

This year’s Fringe runs from Sept. 12-23 and takes place mostly in and around downtown’s East End.

Jeff Spevak is an arts editor. He can be reached at [email protected].

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