For four years, the Hollywood Fringe Festival has served as a microcosm of the local arts to come, and sets my brain a-whirling. Since the community is the inspiration for these random and often lasting Fringe Thoughts, I want to share and continue the conversation.
Fringe Thoughts 1: Referral Ripples
The feeling of community has always been one my favorite parts of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It feels markedly increased this year. Rather than a few companies doing the cross-promo/community thing well, while others learn from them, this year it pervades the entire Festival.
That is a wonderful evolution in its fourth year. Just some improvements I’ve noticed:
- People were on top of participant discounts well before June. This encourages your built-in audience to attend, which increases word-of-mouth and could ensure a steady stream throughout your run.
- Most of the shows refer their audience to other Fringe shows in their programs.
- Others take extra steps to also suggest verbally the other Fringe shows their audience should see and call out the Fringers in the audience. Last night Rati Gupta did this with her signature great flair.
- The hashtag #HFF13 was off the hook since late April/May.
- Projecting the twitter & instagram hashtag onto walls in Fringe Central Station encourages more interactivity.
- A group of shows banded the “First Fringe Club” together for publicity.
- Three storytellers also combined resources: Bill Ratner, Michael Kass and John Grady.
The veteran Fringers know these ropes, but I’ve hardly seen it in such force so early. You can tell who attended the Town Halls and/or has experience. These Referral Ripples help audience members know where to start when looking at the website or brochure. It’s intimidating to try to choose between all the available shows.
Every time an audience member hears directly about one more show, their interest may become more piqued and they could talk about it with their friends. Every time that fellow artists help each other, you’re actually helping your audience, plus encouraging them to see more live theatre. The more they see, the more they’ll talk and these are the Referral Ripples we need to increase live theatre as a vital and valued part of our community’s lives.
Last night we had lots of Fringers at Gracie and Rose‘s opening, and I knew about half of them before the Fringe and the other half (pictured above) only once it started, eleven days ago.
So Huzzah to you all and Carry On. If we can capture these concentrated efforts for theatre all year round, audience development stands a chance.
Read or Watch my full coverage of the Hollywood Fringe on Bitter Lemons.
Ceremony by Michael Kass
Take me to the Poorhouse by Liz Femi
The Ruby Besler Cabaret by Anastasia Barnes
Love Actually Isn’t by Dan Johnson
The Real Housekeepers of Studio City by Heidi Powers, Tom Moore & Joe Greene
Daddy by Olivia Peterson
And also playing at our venue, the Art of Acting Studio: IAMA Fest 2013