The University of Rochester will serve as a sponsor for the 2013 First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival, which returns this year from Sept. 19-28 with 28 venues, 360 shows, and five additional days showcasing multi-genre performances of theater, music, dance, comedy, and more.
"The inaugural First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival was a smashing success and fortified Rochester on the nation's cultural map," said University President Joel Seligman. "Building on that success is exciting as we see the 2013 festival grow to an even larger exhibition of our community's diverse talents and creativity. The University is proud to join with our local partners to present the Fringe Festival, as well as play host to many of the performances at our Eastman School of Music and right on Gibbs Street, many of which feature our students, faculty, and staff."
In addition to headliners and local performers, around 30 performing groups comprising University of Rochester students and faculty from the College, the Medical Center, and the Eastman School of Music will perform at venues throughout the city of Rochester.
Erica Fee, who is the festival's producer and graduated from Rochester in 1999, worked with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, where the original festival premiered in 1947. When Fee returned to Rochester in 2009, plans for a local Fringe Festival began with crucial support from Seligman.
"We have a rich cultural background in Rochester, and a high concentration of talent," said Fee. "The University provides not only financial support, but the sheer talent of various faculty members and students."
Missy Pfohl Smith, director of the Program of Dance and Movement at the University of Rochester and the College's Fringe Festival coordinator, said she's excited for students and faculty to perform in Rochester venues. "It's a way for the community to be exposed to the high caliber of arts going on at the University," she said.
The festival's board of directors includes representatives from Boylan Code LLP, the University of Rochester and its Eastman School of Music, Rochester Institute of Technology, George Eastman House, Geva Theatre Center, Method Machine, Mengel Metzger Barr, PUSH Physical Theater, and the City of Rochester.
There are more than 200 fringe festivals worldwide, including 20 in the United States, with festivals closest to Rochester in Toronto and Philadelphia. Last year's festival in Rochester, which saw over 32,000 attendees, was one of the most successful Fringe Festivals in the nation, ranking third in attendance.