NEPA Scene Staff

Scranton Fringe Fest’s live theatre ‘Under Glass’ will return to downtown this fall

Scranton Fringe Fest’s live theatre ‘Under Glass’ will return to downtown this fall
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From a press release:

Today, the Scranton Fringe Festival announced that Fringe Under Glass, an innovative walking tour of live performing arts staged behind the windows of various storefronts last year, will return for the second year on Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 26, with possible extensions through the first weekend of October.

Nearly sold out during its initial presentation in 2020, this project will once again utilize large storefront windows to activate unconventional stages as well as unique outdoor spaces for a variety of performances. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to create incredible challenges for the professional arts as well as local small businesses, Fringe Under Glass will attract patrons to downtown Scranton to experience and enjoy live theatre and performance art in a socially distanced, COVID-19-compliant environment.

Fringe Under Glass provides a unique theatrical experience with spectacular visuals to engage small groups of audience members led from window to window throughout the Electric City by a Scranton Fringe tour guide. The live performances will feature wireless audio transmission by solo artists or small groups of creative talent, providing a safe performance space and allowing artists the opportunity to incorporate new technology into their work. Fringe Under Glass 2021 will also be accepting applications for outdoor performances, musical interludes, and unique street theatre.

Performing artists and creative groups with a keen eye for visual aesthetics, strong performances, and an openness to a collaborative process are encouraged to apply for Fringe Under Glass 2021. Applications will go live on Friday, March 5 at and will close on Friday, April 9.

The Scranton Fringe Festival is committed to providing stipends to artists participating in the project, ensuring that they can invest in their best ideas after over a year of lost work without depending on ticket sales or possible future shutdowns.

Tickets for Fringe Under Glass 2021 will be released this summer, and options will be offered for individuals and group packages, as well as special initiatives to ensure tickets are provided to those who otherwise could not afford to access them.

All performers will be behind glass (with wireless audio to ensure all can hear and enjoy the work) and/or outdoors, distant from the audience. All audiences (in small walking groups) and tour guides will be required to wear masks while attending this event. Masks, gloves, and other PPE supplies will be available at all times during this event. Fringe staff will ensure each locale is sanitized between each performance, and all artists/staff members are required to do daily health check-ins during the two weeks leading up to the event weekend.

Even before canceling the 2020 festival and the Big Gay StorySlam due to the pandemic, the Scranton Fringe focused its efforts on supporting its community of artists, launching an emergency fund that has so far distributed over $10,000 worth of mini-grants to Northeastern Pennsylvanian artists and creative gig workers who have been severely affected by the global health crisis, as well as creating numerous digital programs such as a new series of independent virtual theatre called Social Distant-Scene.

Since 2015, the annual Scranton Fringe Festival has presented hundreds of creative works to over 10,000 unique audience members and helped generate over $250,000 each year in the local economy. In a normal year, the festival hosts more than 50 acts in a dozen venues in downtown Scranton over two weeks.

The majority of the festival’s programming (100+ performances each year) is chosen from an open application process that invites artists and creatives from across the globe to submit. Theatre, dance, music, puppetry, children’s arts, improv, and many other genres of work have been presented over the past six years.

Noteworthy programs helmed by the Scranton Fringe include the Big Gay StorySlam, which toured to the Soho Playhouse in New York City and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland in 2019; the Scranton StorySlam series, which has found a home at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple for the past few years; and the COVID-19 Emergency Artists Fund.

Photos by Julie Jordan Photography