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Fringe Fest '23

Fringe poster design — colorful concentric circles with Fringe Fest '23 at the center
Poster by Kate O'Neill

May 1-21
See individual listings as they are updated below for dates, times, and other details!

Curious about what Fringe will bring us in 2023? So are we! This annual festival is in the hands of our students, who take what they’ve learned and use the opportunity to take the lead on independent projects. They write new works, produce pieces from every possible genre, design and build from scratch. All festival events are free and open to community — we hope you can join us to celebrate our students’ creativity!


The Parable Task
designed by Percival Hornak, Caleb Bailey, Cameron Hoskins, Elie Abramovich, Crow Traphagen, and Luna Barros
Live May 1 - 9 on the UMass campus and over Discord
No reservations required
The Parable Task is an Alternate Reality Game that brings players into the fictional world of Moradna University, where they must join forces with the school newspaper to investigate an increasingly suspicious megacorporation and major funder of the university. 

Dear Berenson: Isabella Stewart Gardner and her Museum
written and directed by Ulrika Brand
May 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Room 204, Bromery Center for the Arts
The reading of a work-in-progress, this is a new play set in the late 1880s about the Boston art collector and patron Isabella Stewart Gardner and her working relationship with her art advisor, Bernard Berenson*. This will be an informal event with an opportunity for audience feedback at the end. With Stephanie Carlson, Matthew Suchecki, Rebecca Hicks, Iris Sowlat, Carolyn Cooper, Kimberly Salditt-Poulin, Kitty Ryan, and other actors.  (*Characters in the play are based on real historical figures.)
Reservations encouraged; please fill out the form at this link.


Poster for The Insanity of Mary Girard; anguished faces against a blue background

The Insanity of Mary Girard
directed by Liv Darling
May 17 & 18 at 7 p.m.
Curtain Theater
The Insanity of Mary Girard depicts the story of Mary Girard, a young woman who has been committed to the "lunatic ward" of the Pennsylvania Hospital in the year 1790. We follow her disturbing journey of fear and self acceptance as she explores how to best live with her painful situation. Within her cell, led by haunting visions of those from her past and future, she is forced to face the parts of herself she fears most in order to find some peace within chaos.
Content warning: This show contains elements of psychological horror, loud disorienting noises, themes of abuse and imprisonment, and graphic language depicting violence against women and infants. 


Poster for Beatrice's Dragon; a glowing blue dragon egg on a table

Beatrice's Dragon: A Tavern Tale
written and directed by Claudia Maurino
May 19 at 8 p.m. and May 20 at 2 p.m. 
Room 413, Bromery Center for the Arts
Beatrice's Dragon is a new play that was written by the director in a playwriting class in the fall of 2022. This performance is part of the longer process of new play development and has come about after edits, revisions, and work with a dramaturg. The play tells the story of three women who work at a tavern in a small town and whose once-stagnant lives are changed forever by the discovery of a dragon egg in the middle of the woods. It is a story both magical and quotidian about finding your path and making your choice —with a healthy dose of fairies, ghosts, evil villains, and restaurant drama sprinkled throughout. Fully booked, waitlist at the door.

a steampunk-looking cityscape
Poster by Robin Ball

Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera
by Paul Shapera
directed by Michael Donnelly
May 20 at 8 p.m., May 21 at 4 p.m.
Curtain Theater 
The Dolls of New Albion is a musical about death, love, obsession, and loneliness. A whirlwind of sound weaving the tale of lost and fabled New Albion, a place full of steampunk whimsy: airships, sentient plants, alchemists, machines of billowing smoke, and Annabel McAlistair, who’s raising up the dead into the titular clockwork dolls. This hectic journey through New Albion, its wonders and its tragedies, shows not only the self-destructive potential of loneliness and obsession, but the reconstructive power of genuine, meaningful human connection. Reservations encouraged; please fill out the form at this link.

Redefining Resilience
created by Sophia Schweik
May 17-21
The Arts Bridge, Bromery Center for the Arts
No reservations required
An interactive photography gallery showcasing the diverse coping mechanisms of people within the broader Western Mass community.

a poster for Hiroshima — crinkled multi-colored texture against a green background

by Drishti Chauhan
May 20, 3:30-8 p.m.
The Light Lab, Bromery Center for the Arts
A one-minute lighting installation based on a quote from the book "Hiroshima" by John Hersey. Designed by Drishti Chauhan, voice over by Natasha Hawkins. 

Reservations will be encouraged or required for some performances; please check back for details and links as events approach