Fringe Festival doubles in length, number of acts

07:30 PM, Jul 17, 2013

FuturPointe on Wednesday gave a sneak peek of 'Midwife to Dying,' which the group will perform during this year's First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. (Neeti Upadhye/Staff Photographer)/


Written By Catherine Roberts | Lead Local Editor/Life

The First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival has doubled its length to 10 days and the number of acts to 360.

The festival, from Sept. 19 to 28, also will include bigger names in the local Rochester arts scene. Arild Remmereit will conduct the Rochester Chamber Orchestra on opening night in a concert honoring Frederick Douglass.

Most of Rochester’s dance groups also will be performing. The most prestigious, Garth Fagan Dance, will give six performances in its studios. Other groups are connected with area colleges.

Yet others are coming off of big growth years.

FuturPointe Dance will perform the first Saturday and Sunday of the festival in Geva Nextstage. Members this summer performed for the first time at a premier dance theater in New York City with A Yard Abroad at New York Live Arts in Chelsea.

Guy Thorne, who is Jamaican, and co-founder N’jelle Gage are both immigrants, and they try to infuse their dance with themes from their journey.

At a press conference Wednesday announcing the full line-up for Fringe, FuturPointe performed “Midwife for the Dying.” Thorne said the dance incorporates folk traditions from Jamaica and raises the question of why the dying should not receive the same “attention as they are shepherded to the next world” as those who are being born into the world.

The festival combines more seasoned professionals with amateur playwrights’ debuts, young professional singing groups and dozens of acts from University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Local theater groups will be performing a variety of one man (or woman) shows, full popular shows, newly written plays and a preview of the 2013-14 season on Rochester’s stages.

Producer Erica Fee said 120 of this year’s shows, plus extra programming at Manhattan Square Park that includes the Bandaloop aerial dance troupe, will be free.

The festival had already announced headliners Marc Maron and Dave Barry.

At the Spiegeltent, a European carnival-style temporary building, will be Cirque du Fringe, a show developed for the Orlando, Fla., Fringe festival and silent discos (during which participants wear earphones to hear the music).

Last year, more than 180 performances in 22 venues beat projections and attracted 33,000 people over five days.

Festival passes, which include all shows but the two headliners and Spiegeltent shows, will be $190 and went on sale at noon Wednesday. Individual shows will be $5 to $16. A full line-up is at RochesterFringe.com.