Why we have a no latecomer policy…

What is the deal with FringeNYC’s strict “no latecomer” policy?

We are sorry that we cannot admit latecomers or allow reentry to FringeNYC shows. We learned in our early years that if we hold one show for five minutes to seat latecomers, the next show starts ten minutes late, and by the end of the day, shows are starting at dawn. We also do have some venues where latecomers would have to walk across the stage in order to get to a seat – which is distracting not only for other patrons, but the performers as well!

But more importantly, following our Blank Canvas project year, we developed a new “Hub and Spoke” model (i.e. having all of our audiences meet at ONE FringeHUB location to be taken to their venue / return to the FringeHUB following the show) which is a crucial part of our survival. This makes it EVEN MORE NECESSARY for our audience to be lined up at the correct flag AT LEAST 15 minutes prior to the performance, in order to be taken to the venue. So it’s more important than ever that you’re not late. In fact, you need to be early!

We’ve moved to this model for several reasons:

Increasing insurance costs – we’ve only been able to keep up because we haven’t had an “occurrence”. If we do – this extraordinary twenty-one-year-old festival of emerging artists powered by volunteers will have to end. Plus, we just don’t want y’all to get hurt. The way to avoid all of this is to do things as safely as possible, and to maintain the same policies at all ten venues. And, of course, to not let a flustered late-arriving patron enter a completely dark theatre (that they’ve likely never been in before) during a performance and try to crawl over other patrons or up the back of risers or down steps to try to find a seat – which is not only disturbing to the other patrons, but also incredibly dangerous and just asking for trouble (i.e. an “occurrence”).

It allows us to use non-traditional / converted / pop-up performance spaces – In some cases, our audience might not even be able to FIND these venues, if they were to try to go there directly. In other cases, the only reason we are being allowed to utilize the space as a performance venue for FringeNYC is because we have promised that our audience won’t be crawling all over the building – amidst people’s homes, a school, busy offices, and other multi-use spaces – but rather will be escorted directly into the performance space by an Audience Ambassador volunteer.

Avoiding content issues – similarly, an adult-themed play or musical can perform at a space utilized at other times by the younger set and/or sensitive clients / customers, because their marketing materials don’t mention / won’t be on display at the venue.

No Association / Assumptions / Pre-conceptions – we’ve removed the association from the equation! Our artists don’t decide which venues to present their shows in as a part of FringeNYC (that’s FringeBYOV). So we’d prefer our audience wasn’t deciding which shows to see based on a venue’s usual work / season / etc.

It allow us to only need ONE box office manager (employee) at a time – to handle ALL space available tickets for all venues. Similarly, our technicians do not spend the majority of their time in transit between venues – but rather solving technical issues.

It helps make it “feel” like a festival – Our Blank Canvas convenings revealed that our audience wanted the festival (despite the challenges that NYC presents in doing so. . . ) to be more of an experience. We’re able to do this by having everyone gather in one location and having our venues be within a smaller geographic “footprint”.

Our audience loves to meet the artists – You told us that’s what makes FringeNYC special! And similarly, we love seeing you and our artists want to meet you and get respectful feedback on their work – preferably over a beer. That’s why we created the FringeHUB concept. But with the price of available, ground-floor retail space – we can definitely only have ONE of these locations.

We’re moving to a model of ONE mutual prop / scenic storage area for all shows and perhaps even one mutual dressing room. This will only be possible if we’re in one very small area – but these are challenges we’ve always dealt with, and we had to find a way to solve it for our artists.

We just want to tell our stories! – we’re not really about fancy theatres or production elements, and that’s not what our audience likes, either. We’re all here to support emerging artists and hopefully help them start careers in NYC by welcoming them to the indie community. You, too, can help amplify their voices. And also hang out and talk with them over a beer after the performance – which is an important part of the NEW York International Fringe Festival!


For the above reasons, our patrons who purchase tickets online must agree to the terms and conditions below before being allowed to purchase tickets.

If you have any further questions about this you may email Info@FringeNYC.org and we will reply as soon as we can – though we do hope you understand it may be November before we can reply personally.

Thank you for understanding, and enjoy the NEW York International Fringe Festival’s FringeNYC!

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