About the Cape Town Fringe

Now in its fourth year, the Cape Town Fringe will take place across the Mother City from 21 September to 8 October 2017. A live multi-arts festival and an annual celebration of local and international creativity, the Cape Town Fringe encourages experimentation, collaboration and innovation. In 2017 the CTF will be extending its footprint into a Fringe Circuit, which will see the CTF bring exciting work closer to many of the city’s neighbourhoods.

When and where will the Cape Town Fringe be held in 2017?

The Cape Town Fringe will be held between 21 September and 8 October 2017, and will be staged at a variety of venues around Cape Town.

We’ve heard Fringe will be different in 2017…. how and why?

This year we’re focusing on building a ‘Cape Town Fringe Circuit’. We’ve been going for three years and the Cape Town Fringe has made its mark on the City’s arts calendar. We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved. Thousands of performers and tens of thousands of audience members have enjoyed what the Fringe has offered.

And so, in 2017, we’re taking a deep breath. We’re recognising that, across the City, there are venues, theatres, performers, and communities who are battling to get noticed and, often against enormous odds, are managing to bring stages to life with great art. And this year we want to take a moment, slow the Fringe train down, and give more people a chance to hop aboard. We’re going to be working with many of these venues and contributing to their ‘bricks and mortar’ – spending parts of our budget on helping them create the stages that, year round, will help grow the arts in Cape Town.

And we’ll be investing in artists and performers to go to those spaces and do what they do best: inspire, entertain, engage, uplift, spread love and joy.

We’re very excited about the possibilities 2017 holds for the Fringe. And we hope you’ll come on this journey with us.

  • For specifics, see the question and answer below in the Artist section about how Artists and Venues can get involved.

Is the City of Cape Town funding the Fringe?

Yes, a significant part of the revenue of the Fringe is coming from the City. They are doing so because, the world over, Fringe Festivals are major drivers of tourism and contribute substantially to the local economy. Last year the Grahamstown event boosted the Province’s GDP by over R350m…mostly through tourism, which in turn creates jobs and helps the City thrive. While Cape Town is a lot smaller than Grahamstown (for now!), we expect the event will eventually be a flagship event on the City’s calendar.

What is a Fringe Festival and why have you chosen it as a format?

The concept of ‘Fringe’ started 70 years ago in Edinburgh when a group of independent artists felt excluded from the Edinburgh Festival. So they started their own festival which, today, is the world’s biggest and best known.

A Fringe Festival is characterised by staging small productions, mostly by independent practitioners. It typically uses small and unconventional spaces as venues, working them hard to get between six and eight performances a day per venue,  making it cheaper for everyone who participates.

South Africa only has one true ‘Fringe’ Festival and that is in Grahamstown each year. It is an open-access Fringe which means that anyone can perform, they just have to fill in a form and arrive. Cape Town will be structured slightly differently, and is modeled on “selected” Fringe Festivals in New York, Prague and Amsterdam.

Artists and Venues

What genres of work will you be staging?

We welcome proposals from any genre – but we think the bulk of the Fringe programme will be made up of theatre, dance, comedy, jazz and cabaret. That is not to say there isn’t room for classical music, performance art, site-specific work, family or children’s theatre or anything else that producers care to propose.

Is the Fringe only open to South African productions?

The Fringe is first and foremost a South African event and we anticipate that between 80 and 90% of the productions will be local, but anyone may apply and everyone is eligible to participate. We actively encourage international producers to come to the Fringe and will offer support in any way we can.

Do we have to perform in Grahamstown if we want to come to the Cape Town Fringe?

No – Grahamstown is a completely separate event and performing there isn’t a prerequisite for taking part in the Cape Town Fringe.

How do I get to participate?

NOTE: Applications for 2017 closed on 31 July 2017

You need to complete the Registration Form (find it in the Artist Zone). Read it all carefully – including the call for proposals – and send in your submission before the deadline. We will choose productions based on what we think will work best for the audience we hope to attract and for the venues we select.

I own/run a venue. How do I get involved?

NOTE: Applications for 2017 closed on 31 July 2017

We’re looking for spaces across the city to be part of the Cape Town Fringe Circuit we’re creating – so, absolutely, we want to hear from you. If you’re a venue, and if we select you to be part of the Circuit, this is what will probably happen:

  • We’ll work with you to select productions to stage in your venue, from among the proposals we receive and from your own networks and local performers.
  • We’ll get to know your venue and offer advice and investment into it, according to your needs and contributing in both cash and expertise in areas that will help you turn your venue into a viable year-round venture.
  • We’ll provide umbrella marketing for the Fringe and your venue, both online and using traditional media and PR
  • We’ll give you the tools to help market and promote your Fringe programme in your community: social media imagery; posters; flyers and so on –whatever works in your area.