The Chicago Fringe Festival announces it will cease programming in 2019

CHICAGO – The Chicago Fringe Festival announces that after 10 years of celebrating the weird and unpredictable, Chicago Fringe Festival is closing its doors. The annual avant-garde performing arts festival will conclude with a 10- year celebration party Saturday, June 1 at The Windsor Tavern and Grill, 4530 N Milwaukee Ave.

Over the course of the past ten years, Chicago Fringe Festival has presented 367 shows and returned $231,654 to the artists. During this decade, the Festival remained true to its aims of returning 100% of ticket sales to artists and staging unjuried and uncensored shows. Chicago Fringe’s processes and policies allowed artists from all over the world to enter their selection lottery and win a slot in the festival. The festival proudly brought established and emerging artists together to learn from each other and to produce work in a low-risk environment.

Executive Director Anne Cauley said, “As our festival has grown, so have the personal and professional lives of our volunteer staff. Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to commit to the demands of an annual festival. I am so grateful for the astonishing community of volunteers, artists and patrons that came together to embrace weird, inventive, challenging performances from around the world. I look forward to celebrating the community we built this spring.”

“It is bittersweet to see the Festival coming to an end,” added Founder and Board Member Sarah Mikayla Brown. “I know this is the right decision for us at this time. I am proud of our team for sticking with our vision: a small, no-barrier-to-admission festival. There are many friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime from Chicago Fringe, and I also know that we made an impact in our own way – through the connections that brought young artists and administrators together to train in our trenches. And hey, that includes me, too!” Brown continued, “Ultimately, the Fringe movement is much bigger than any one of us. This was only our version of Chicago Fringe Festival. There was one before us, and who knows? There may be another one someday. In the meantime, patrons have the city’s longest-running fringe to look forward to: the 30th Annual Rhinoceros Theatre Festival this January!”

To support the spirit of Fringe in Chicago, the Chicago Fringe Festival will grant its assets to other nonprofit institutions dedicated to making “Fringe-y” art in and for the city. A call for proposals and details about Fringe’s send off celebration are available at

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