2015 Atlanta Fringe Festival guide

From krumping squirrels to flying puppets, we’ve got you covered

If your only image of theater in Atlanta is attending the occasional Broadway touring production at the Fox, then you owe it to yourself to check out a show (or 10!) at the Atlanta Fringe Festival (AFF). The Twinhead Theatre-produced event involves more than 80 performances at five venues where theater, improv, and comedy performers turn the city into a stage, and is less intimidating than Dragon Con. However, the ins and outs of the fest can be a little confusing, so we, with an assist from AFF Marketing Manager Chris Alonzo, have your guide to figuring out which festing style is right for you.

“This year’s crop of artists are really going for it, with shows that are risky and weird and high-concept,” Alonzo says “That’s why we exist: to make a safe place for people to stretch their wings and make something cool without having to sweat the production side.”

New this year, AFF will give out cash prizes to the Best of the Fest, Producer’s Choice, and Audience Favorites, and Alonzo advises that the artists will also receive a bigger cut of their box office this year — 85 percent.

So, let’s dig in.

How It Works

First of all, tickets range from $10 for an individual show; $40 for a six-show pass; $60 for a 10-show pass; and $99 for an all-access pass. You can share the six- and 10-show passes, so if you want to attend with a friend, this is a great option, and it’s less of a commitment than it sounds since you don’t personally have to go to 10 shows (although you can!). If you’re sharing, you each have to purchase your own button (only $3) to help the fest keep track of audience attendance. Also, the buttons come with privileges — show your swag to get discounts to theaters and museums around the city throughout the next season, including Pinch ‘n’ Ouch, the Alliance Theatre, and Museum of Design Atlanta. And of course, you can impress your friends with your theater geek street cred by casually attaching your button to your bag.

If you plan to get one of the passes, you also will probably want to hit up the official preview party on June 3 at 7 Stages Theatre. Here, you’ll get the chance to see mini-snippets of each of the shows being performed throughout the festival, and you may find yourself drawn to performances you otherwise wouldn’t have included in your schedule. If you’re overwhelmed with planning, this is a great way to narrow down your choices. Another great option during AFF is the Hive Hotspot every night, where you can mingle with other festivalgoers and compare notes on what you’ve seen.

What to See

The festival’s website lists the shows by date and venue, and the easiest option is to settle in at one location for the night and see all the shows there. If you’re up for Ubering around town, however, you can create your own itinerary that focuses on particular types of theater. Each show runs from 30 minutes to just under an hour, so you could easily see more than one in an evening without suffering from fest fatigue.


If you’re looking to laugh, there are several comedies on the agenda, including Woody vs. Mia vs. Gwyneth vs. Coldplay at the Highland Inn Ballroom (performances Thursday to Saturday), Bees, Birds, and Four-Letter Words at the Wrecking Bar (Thursday to Sunday), and BBQ or Mildew at the International Montessori Academy (Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday). If you’re looking for a completely silly good time, one of the best bets is City Park at 7 Stages Black Box Theatre (Thursday to Sunday), which is coming from a successful run in New Orleans and promises “jitterbugging raccoons, krumping squirrels, and African-dancing roosters.” Admit it, you want to check it out just to see exactly how a squirrel accomplishes krumping.


If you’re up for an intense experience, check out Prison Monologues Pt. 1 at Highland Inn Ballroom (performances Thursday to Sunday), where four women in prison tell their stories. There’s also a puppet show detailing the story of the Wright Brothers called Flying Without Feathers at the International Montessori Academy (Thursday to Sunday), and a surreal musical drama called Hip Hop in Wonderland at 7 Stages Black Box Theatre (Friday to Sunday). One of the most anticipated options in this category is Flying Without Feathers, which tells the familiar Wright Brothers story through an unexpected medium. Puppeteers know they have to bring their A game in Atlanta, with our Center for Puppetry Arts, so this one should be good.


A fringe festival is a great place to catch performances that don’t quite fit the mold, i.e., they aren’t your typical straight drama or comedy. This year’s fest features a one-person spoken word performance about public school sex education called An Incomplete (Sex) Education at the Wrecking Bar (performances Thursday to Saturday); an ensemble storytelling show called Stories from Planet Earth at the International Montessori Academy (Friday to Sunday); an improv performance by the group Improvasaurus at the Wrecking Bar (Friday to Sunday); a modern dance piece inspired by Alice Walker’s We are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For called Waking Pressure at 7 Stages (Thursday to Sunday); and a dance performance titled Facets of Love at 7 Stages (Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday). One of the most intriguing shows in this category is For Love of the Game at 7 Stages (Friday to Sunday), which features a gamer’s life told through dance and aerial arts. Basically, aerial theater is nearly always entertaining, and this is the offbeat combination of story and expression that is often extremely successful in this setting.