Eight Great Fringe Festivals – Part 2
In part one of our discovery to find the best fringe festivals around the world we traveled to Australia and Europe to see very different performance arts festivals. In this epic theatrical journey, we travel to the wonderland that is Hollywood, as well as visiting the ancient capital of the Czech Republic, and finally to the mystic capital of Thailand.
Perhaps there is no more glamorous place in the world than Hollywood, steeped in film history this district of Los Angeles is synonymous with red carpet events and movie stars. It evokes passionate emotions of large-scale epic films and superstar divas and actors.
But Hollywood is also known for a very exciting fringe festival, where less extravagant productions give the opportunity for artists just starting in their careers a chance to showcase their abilities. Anybody can participate, as the festival is not censored and is totally open.
Performances can be found anywhere, from street corners to established theaters. The Hollywood Fringe definitely has an edgy feel to it, and many performers offer cutting edge acts that are very much underground.
Prague is steeped in history and its old cobbled streets and majestic bridges invoke an atmosphere of romance. Even the Old Town Square looks as though it is straight out of a Walt Disney movie. And it is in this romantic setting that the festival dubbed as Edinburgh’s Naughty Grandchild, takes place. Prague Fringe is like a mischievous child, it is full of fun and ebullience, it is friendly and endearing, and it can be very tearful and emotional.
Prague Fringe takes place in underground bars and small theaters that are tucked away from the main tourist places. The castle looming in the distance throws ominous shadows over the tiny cobbled streets, where the artists perform often at night.
Bangkok is the gateway to Southeast Asia and is the capital of ancient Siam. For centuries this part of the world has synonymous with ancient tradition and culture. Thailand has a long tradition in performing arts, especially in dance and puppetry. The performances are so elaborate and nothing that can be compared to Western-type performance art.
The Bangkok Fringe Festival is actually a two-city festival as it is held both in the capital and the royal city of Hua Hin. The festival prides itself at being really intimate and compared to our other festivals it is relatively small. It all takes place in just two theaters, but the selection of performances is wide. Visitors coming to the festival can expect music, dance, puppetry and everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.
It is fitting that our fringe festivals are to be found in such diverse locations as modern Los Angeles and ancient Siam. These two places are as different as you possibly could get, and this reflects in the performances and content of fringe festivals.
Fringe Festivals bring a breath of fresh air to performance art, they give opportunities to those who otherwise would not have a chance to showcase their talent. And in some cases, these festivals overshadow the main festivals because they are so refreshing and innovative.