By Rebecca Romani
June 6, 2019
The annual San Diego International Fringe throws open the doors this week in Balboa Park, bringing more than 20 diverse acts to venues all within walking distance of their main headquarters in the revived Starlight Theatre area.
This year, according to CEO and founder Kevin Charles Patterson, the Fringe is a smaller, greener version of its previous downtown self. Information on programming is primarily on-line, and fringe goers can either buy tickets directly from the website or at the Fringe box office at the Starlight Theater location.
With Horton Plaza basically moribund and the conditions in the Plaza somewhat iffy, Balboa Park offers not only a wide variety of venues, but free parking, something veteran Fringe goers will certainly appreciate.
The location is not the only change for the Fringe this year. Patterson announced the Fringe will not be collaborating with venues in Tijuana. However, according to Patterson, the Fringe will send performers over the border to perform for an orphanage for children infected with HIV.
“We have a great platform, said “ Patterson, “why not share? It’s appropriate for a non-profit to do something like that.”
On the San Diego side, the SD Fringe will also be partnering with Feeding San Diego, according to Patterson.
With one in eight San Diegans experiencing food insecurity said Patterson, “it’s important to use our platform to affect change.”
With all the new adjustments, it might seem the Fringe is a little less Fringy- not so, says Patterson. Although the performers list has been pared down to about two dozen rather than the over 80 in past shows, there is still substantial variety and a range of creativity to see. If things go as planned, says Patterson, count on seeing future SD International Fringes being integrated into the calendar of Park activities.
Some acts to catch:
MaArt Theatre Collective with their biting and profoundly funny, “Your Best American Girl,” Ciarlene Coleman, who wrote the show, does a star turn in a fun piece about growing up part Filipino in Texas, and every girl’s fantasy- the right to be a cowboy.
Circus Collective of San Diego is back with new work that explores the space between being awake and sleep.
BKSoul also returns. Always a well-disciplined dance troupe, their dancers and choreography burn up the stage.
Renée Westbrook is back with “Shelter,” her one-woman semi-autobiographical show about a homeless writer. And yes, a version of Whoopi drops by, more tough love than ever.
Sakhisizwe Edutainment Productions from South Africa are coming back. They missed last year’s Fringe due to a travel snafu, but the creative street theatre duo returns with new characters and a new story.
Tangata Circus Company, while not new to Fringe, is new to San Diego and hails all the way from New Zealand, from a sister Fringe. Their work promises to be fun, entertaining, with a few crazy objects thrown in for good measure.
The majority of the Fringe events will be happening around the Starlight and at the Centro Cultural de la Raza and the Worldbeat Center. My advice is to buy a pass- there is a three show pass for $25, for example, park somewhere close and walk to the shows. Most of the venues are relatively close and there is usually half an hour between shows.
You might also think about coming a bit early for the weekend shows since parking can be a bit of a challenge, even in the back section of Balboa Park.
Tickets are the usual $10, and a Fringe tag is also required, regardless of how many shows you choose to see. The now $5 tag goes to support the festival and makes a great little sturdy souvenir. Per Fringe tradition, all proceeds go to the artists.
So, if fun, wild, and slightly wooly is your thing, the San Diego International Fringe is waiting for you in Balboa Park. It may be the wildest thing you’ll ever do there!
Fringe Fun continues through June 16th. For more information about the artists and performance schedules, please visit: