Things to Do DC

Capital Fringe Festival Returns to DC for 2 Weekends in July

The Capital Fringe Festival runs July 14-17 and 21-24; performances take place at pop-up stages in Georgetown

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D.C. is home to world-class theatre and performing arts.  This weekend, the Capital Fringe Festival kicks off, giving stage time to performers who create something a little out of the norm. 

For more than a decade, Fringe has prided itself on giving people with an interesting idea the chance to bring their show to life.

"The show titles are all abstract and funny, so you really have to make quick judgments. Like, do I want to go to this?" Founder Julianne Brienza said.

The first weekend of performances runs Thursday through Sunday, then a second weekend comes July 21-24.

Diana Veiga’s one-woman show “I’m Just Doing My Job!” is premiering on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

“It's a dream two years in the making. I’ve been wanting to do a one-woman show,” Veiga said. “I'm from Silver Spring. I live in D.C. And so I just really wanted to represent my city, the DMV area. And I think the Capital Fringe Festival is a great place to do that.”

Tess Rowan, a 17-year-old from Virginia, will debut a musical about a missing girl. "Static" is homegrown and self-taught.

“I started writing it end of eighth grade,” Rowan said. “So, I learned guitar and piano and how to like create music on my computer and created this Morse code musical of a missing person case set on the Appalachian trail.”

Want to bring budding theater kids? Many shows are rated for adults or ages 13+, but “The Gate” and “Higher” are listed as appropriate for all ages.

Here’s a breakdown of this year’s performances by genre: comedy, drama or musical.

Brienza said Fringe is about elevating new voices — not gatekeeping. It's like a theatrical treasure hunt.

It means some shows could even be bad.

"They are," Brienza said. "It's just the way it goes! I mean, just like... some people you go and talk to when you out on the Metro or something and you're like, 'God, I wish I wouldn't have struck up a conversation with them.' That's a little bit what it's like."

Thirty-one performances will take place across six stages. This year, the festival will take place in former retail spaces in Georgetown.

“I think it's going to be really great for audiences to be able to bop around one structure on one city block,” Brienza said.

Tickets cost $15, and 70% of the sales go to the artist behind the show.

A few important things to know about the venues: Masks and proof of vaccination will be required. “Whatsoever” does not offer handicap-accessible entrances, water refills or air conditioning.  “W. Washington” doesn’t offer restrooms.

Before or after the shows, you can stop by the official Festival Bar — Sandlot Georgetown at 2715 Pennsylvania Avenue NW — to debrief with fellow theater adventurers.

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