Julianne Brienza announces “with agony” this year’s Fringe Festival is off

After 14 years, a summer without DC's wild garden of delights.


By Julianne Brienza
Founding Director, Captial Fringe 

When planning began for the fifteenth annual Fringe Festival, no one could have imagined a pandemic with such fast, global restrictive changes, literally linking every human on the globe, in varying degrees.

Capital Fringe has faced uncertain times before. This time, this moment is not like a time before. Therefore, it is with agony that I now announce that we are canceling this year’s festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the festival is still months away, it is clear that not only will it not be safe to produce the Festival in the manner in which we have for numerous years in July, it will certainly not be comfortable for artists or audiences.

This year our productions hailed from 17 states, DC, and around the globe, with 469 individuals creating theater and dance productions. I regret that these stories will not be able to be told in our intimate theater spaces in SW DC. Capital Fringe has refunded all artists 100% of any fees that had been paid at this point in participation.

Each year a new image is created for the Capital Fringe Festival guide. The image above was to be 2020’s.

My heart is broken when I think of our Festival staff, who genuinely enjoy working together, and for our new staff. Their job at Fringe whether it be as a venue manager, box office, or intern is the first window into DC theater. Our cherished venue partners, who all have their faculties closed, now just like everyone everywhere our struggling to chart to the future.

If you have ever been touched by a song, by a book, by a film, a piece of theater, by a photograph, a piece of music, I implore you to contact your mayor, councilmember, governor, congressperson, and senator to tell them that art and artists matter. It is up to all of us to carry the light and magic of live performance, art, and artistic practices in this moment. We can do this! We have to do this! Partnerships, new ways of doing business and the community must truly come together, like never before. From large federally funded institutions to individual artists communicating transparently to set eyes collectively and chart our way to a horizon that is not visible in this moment.

Let’s make it through this together.

Tax-deductable donations to Capital Fringe Festival can be made here.


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