about capital fringe


2005 2005
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2015 2015
2016 2016
2017 2017
2018 2018
2019 2019
2020 2020


2005 – 501 c 3 incorporation. 1419 Meridian Place NW, Julianne’s Columbia Heights group house.


2006 – Founding Fringe Members Julianne Brienza, Mike Geske, Colin Hovde, Scot McKenzie, Nyree Neil, William D. Parker, Charles Phaneuf and Damian Sinclair launched the inaugural Capital Fringe Festival to provide opportunities to performing artists to connect with adventurous audiences in a stripped down, unprocessed, organic social environment. The inaugural Festival took place in Downtown DC over ten days and featured 96 productions that took place in theatres and vacant buildings. Annual Operating Budget $400,000 Festival Theme: Photos of Downtown DC.


2007 – The Capital Fringe Festival returned to Downtown DC and added the Atlas Performing Arts Space as a venue partner with 116 productions. Received 2007 Mayor’s Arts Awards for Innovation, Mayor Adrian Fenty. 2007 Momentum Award, Downtown DC BID. Festival Theme: People’s Faces. Line drawings of prior year’s Festival artists and audiences.


2008 – Fringe moved its operations to a rented Douglas Development property at 607 New York Avenue, NW that was informally dubbed Fort Fringe. The Baldacchino Tent rose for the first time. The Capital Fringe Festival grew from an 11-day festival to an 18 day festival with 112 productions. Festival Theme: Random drawings of apes, clowns and blue oil paint.


2009 –  Launched the first Free Fringe Curated Music Series. Downtown DC is infused with 120 productions. New Performance Series fallFRINGE begins with performances of hit shows from the Festival returning to DC in November. Festival Theme: Pills. Fringe. It’ll cure what ails you.


2010 – 5th Anniversary Year. 136 productions preformed across our 13 stages. Festival Theme: Old photos from the Prints & Photographs Division at the Library of Congress.


2011 – Baldacchino Tent Bar introduces prosecco on tap. In fact, the tent was the first place in DC to serve it. 125 productions. Received the 2011 Mayor’s Arts Award for Service in the Arts, Mayor Vince Gray. Festival Theme: Oil painting of stormy seas with DC flag upside down and pig flying.


2012 – 133 productions.  Festival Theme: Poured paint over people and took photos.


2013 – 129 productions. Received 2013 Helen Hayes Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theatre Community, Best Theatre Festival, Washington City Paper: Best of DC. Festival Theme: Spinning cardboard into gold.


2014 – Final Downtown DC, Fort Fringe Capital Fringe Festival. 135 Productions. Best Theatre Festival, Washington City Paper: Best of DC.  Festival Theme: Move me. Hearts and drawings of lines.


2015 – 10th Anniversary Year Fringe, moved to NE DC with 125 productions in partnership with venue partners like the Atlas Performing Arts Center and Gallaudet University.  Best Theatre Festival, Washington City Paper: Best of DC. Mayor Muriel Bowser awarded Fringe’s Founding Director, Julianne Brienza, the Mayor’s Arts Award for Visionary Leader and the Washington Business Journal awarded our Founding Director Non-Profit CEO of the Year. Festival Theme: 10 constellations based off of the 10 archetypes that have molded our past, present, and future: the Dreamer, The Fringe-Goer, the Performer, the Critic, the Trickster, the Builder, the Lover, the Funder, the Musician and the Warrior. 


2016 – 114 productions and two dancing construction cranes. Best Theatre Festival, Washington City Paper: Best of DC.  Festival Theme: Hi, I’m Fringe.


2017 – 86 productions. Best Theatre Festival, Washington City Paper: Best of DC. Festival Theme: Uncommon valor was a common virtue. Pencil sketch of the Iwo Jima Memorial. Army men replaced by stagehands.


2018 – Fringe Festival moved to SW DC with the support of the SW BID and lead venue partner Arena Stage. Launched the Fringe Curated Series 78 productions. Our capacity filled went up 10%. Best Theatre Festival, Washington City Paper: Best of DC.  Festival Theme: 12 colorful abstract shapes representing each stage.


2019 – 90 productions. Capacity filled increased by 15%. In the second year of the Curated Series, Mike Daisey’s A People’s History and three new plays by local playwrights were presented. Best Theatre Festival, Washington City Paper: Best of DC. Festival Theme: Selfies from the artists.


2020 – 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. 100 productions with 469 individual performances in 11 venues in SW DC were canceled. Formed partnership with the Caandour Labs and Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens; launched Down to Earth paid artist residency. Shining a light on the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the Ward 7  past, present, and future with a sharp focus on the climate emergency and its intersectionality with systemic racism http://downtoearth.capitalfringe.org/

Canceled Festival Theme: hand-drawn flower; freedom of expression 

past festival guides

leadership & staff

Julianne Brienza

Founding Director


Caitlin Wood

Development Consultant


Caryn Sykes



Board of Directors

Julianne Brienza

Chair/President, Founding Board Member
Capital Fringe

Elizabeth Kingsley

Harmon, Curran, Spielberg and Eisenberg, LLP

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Anthony Gittens

Founding Board Member
DC International Film Festival


Scotts Circle Communication
Laura & Daniella press@capitalfringe.org
W: 202.207.3645 | C: 202.255.2054

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