Next month, Pittsburgh will kick off its inaugural Fringe Festival, modeled after the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is the largest arts festival in the world. The Pittsburgh theater arts festival recently announced it received a Sprout Seed Award help fund 24 theatrical performances in various Shadyside venues this May.
Pittsburgh Fringe Festival, led by its founder and executive director Dan Stiker, supports adventurous and exploratory performing artists by presenting their uncensored artistic expression to equally adventurous audiences. In addition to performances, the Fringe Festival will facilitate continuing education, workshops, discussions and forums.
“I think Pittsburgh has a great arts community, and the theater community is one aspect of that,” says Stiker. “I think interesting theater is just starting to be supported in Pittsburgh. This is just the right time for the city to have its own Fringe Festival.”
Stiker’s interest in organizing Fringe stems from his theater background in New York City, where he performed in the NYC Fringe Festival and was in a company that did a lot of experimental theater. Stiker also has a background in theater management, and the management strength of the collective Fringe Festival team he's assembled helped attract The Sprout Fund's support.
“The Seed Award is The Sprout Fund’s catalytic funding program for community innovation projects, and we are pleased to be able to support Pittsburgh's first organized Fringe Festival with a $7,500 grant,” says Mac Howison, Senior Program Officer for Catalytic Funding at The Sprout Fund. “The Sprout Fund has been hearing about the need for a Fringe Festival for years from the Pittsburgh theater community. We're happy to be able to support Dan Stiker’s project, which highlights community partnerships and supportive collaboration among businesses, city officials and the performing arts companies making it happen, through the launch this spring and then hopefully as an annual event.”
The Seed Award Fund for Community Innovation offers grants to support, celebrate and showcase the initiatives of creative people in the greater Pittsburgh region with the cumulative power to create a critical mass of positive change. Seed Award projects are innovative, non-traditional ideas that focus on current issues and challenges faced by the community, and inspire a diverse group of participants to be more active, involved and civically-engaged.
Since 2001, Sprout Seed Awards have supported hundreds of dynamic local innovators and exciting community projects making an impact in the Pittsburgh area. Sprout provides critical financial support for projects and programs in the early stages of development—when just a small amount of investment has the potential to yield big results in the community.
"Sprout understands that Pittsburgh Fringe can be a catalyst for enhancing the performing arts community in Pittsburgh and we are grateful for their support," says Stiker.
Check out the 2014 Fringe lineup and purchase tickets at pghfringe.org
Writer: Amanda Leff Ritchie
Sources: Dan Stiker and Mac Howison