Q&A: Todd Fisher on why the Fringe Festival is on hold

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The Greensboro Fringe Festival has showcased work of new and innovative performing artists and playwrights for 15 years. It introduced audiences to shows that they would not have had the opportunity to see otherwise, as well as built an audience base for emerging artists.

But after the 15th anniversary festival earlier this year, the future of the Greensboro Fringe Festival is on hold. Director Todd Fisher talks about what led to the festival’s suspension.

Why is the Greensboro Fringe Festival is on hold?

We doubled the capacity of the festival this year, and in order to do that we had to rent outside space. Not knowing what the expense of that would be going into the festival, we found out after what the bill was for the space. We had to fundraise a certain amount of money for those costs and didn’t have enough to continue next year. All the magic didn’t come together.

It was our 15th year and we thought the additional space was going to be easier. We just didn’t know what those numbers were and thought we would just go for it.

Has there been a change in fundraising or in general sustainability?

I don’t think there’s a change in the scenery as far as available funds. But the focus seems to be on bigger projects in Greensboro. That’s not to say there isn’t funds for the small guys like us. This is just my opinion, but funding seems to go to building permits and structures — several million dollars for a performance venue, $1 million for a dance theater. Those are long-range benefits to think of. Overall our expenses are only $3,000 to $4,000 a year. Without putting anybody else in a bad light, it’s hard to see those two in balance.

What’s your outlook on the Fringe Festival?

The idea of a Fringe Festival in Greensboro is certainly plausible. It could be bigger; it could turn into a national or international festival. But if people only want to see what’s coming out of New York City, they won’t be able to see the roots of a creative community.