Julianne Brienza on the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival by Joel Markowitz

As the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival is only 5 weeks away – July 12th to the 29th – I asked Executive Director Julianne Brienza to fill us in on what’s new and exciting in this year’s Festival.

Joel: How soon after last year’s Festival ended did you start working on the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival?

Julianne: Well, before the Festival ended actually. I am actually working on fallFRINGE right now and Fringe 2014 right now.

Capital Fringe Festival Executive Director Julianne Brienza

What will we see that’s new at this year’s Capital Fringe Festival?

The special thing about the Fringe Festival is it is totally new every year. So, everything! But, seriously… we are building a sidewalk café this year and shaking things up in new way under the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent. I am super excited about it… I hope everyone else will be too! We have a few new venues this year. The artists in the festival this year are about 50% new to us and many have just moved to DC in the past two years. So, the stories are pretty fresh and relevant.

How many shows are in this year’s Festival?

Gulp, 134. Yes, it is a record… but only by 1. In 2010 we had 133 productions.

How many ‘returnees’ are coming back to put on shows?

This is sort of hard thing to count or figure. About 50% are returning… each year new groups form with various different leads.

Are you seeing new types of shows or trends in this year’s schedule?

This year I have divided up the Festival Guide by Genre instead of venue. In doing this I really learned so much more about the productions. In reading and sorting everything I think there are about 10 shows dealing with the Occupy Movement or how the economy sucks – some serious and factual some absurd. Lots of Opera!? Lots of Dance!!

What has surprised you most about this year’s schedule?

What didn’t? Seriously, I think every year all of us involved in putting the guide and website together are often saying out loud… “What the hell is that?” or “You, know I really want to see that.”

Is it too late to volunteer at this year’s Fringe?

NO!!! We need volunteers to make the Festival. They are quite vital to the whole Fringe engine! You can visit the Fringe website check out  the Volunteer tab – sign up and well see you out there!!

How can someone sign up as a volunteer?

How many venues are there this year, and are there any new venues? Fringe will be at 20 venues this year. Yes, we have some new venues. Most notable: Gala Hispanic Theatre and Caos on F.

What is the cost of seeing a show this year?

Well, that depends on how you choose to attend? Tickets prices ranges between $11 to $17. Button will $5 – but only till mid-night on July 12 $7 after that.

Since your first Capital Fringe Festival – what changes have you seen in the audiences who have attended and are attending the Fringe?

They have certainly grown a lot. Last year at the Festival Preview we were so over capacity. I was kind of freaking out. We are having more security this year just to be safe and sure. I feel very fortunate to be able too work on something that is welcoming to all… I love meeting the wide range of audiences that attend the Festival.

What are some of the challenges you are facing as you work to organize this year’s Fringe?

Well, space was an issue for us this year… but we solved that. And we have a new addition in the parking lot at Fort Fringe that meant we had to reconfigure the tent layout. We are trying out a few new systems this year in an effort to improve how the festival is run. I always get nervous when we shake up systems we have used for years… it will all work out fine but I will be stressed for pretty much all of June.

What are some of your fondest memories of The Capital Fringe Festival?

Working on Fringe has been such a robust thing – there are so many. But… I loved when Brian and Amber got the Fringe Festival gobo on the side of Fort Fringe for the first time, when I went to go see The Poet Warriors in 2010 and woman hugged me and her tears got on my face, the first time I successfully got the tent permits, working with people that are gracious and every time someone says ,“You can’t do that” either I figure out how we can or someone else at Fringe does.

What do you want Fringe-goers to take with them after attending this year’s Festival?

Well, I do not want them to physically take anything. It really is annoying when people steal from Fort Fringe or any Festival Venue. Really, don’t take a pint glass!!

But… I do hope they can carry with them the Fringe mindset with them into other areas of their life. CONCEIVE IT. WILL IT. DO IT. FRINGE!


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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.


  1. Yes, there will be lots of NEW opera at the Fringe. Julianne and crew have done a great job of getting the word out about Fringe. Classical singers will be mixing it up with Straight plays, and monologists, etc.

    Very exciting.


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