CULTURE

Second Athens Fringe Festival set for June

The Athens Fringe Festival returns this year for a second round of events at the Technopolis Arts Complex. Organizers of the five-day event, scheduled to run June 16 to 20, recently unveiled the festival’s six points of focus, namely music, street opera, theater, dance, visual arts and literature. The early announcement also serves as an open invitation to the artists and other creative people of Athens with a view to their possible participation. The local Fringe Festival maintains ties with the original Edinburgh Festival Fringe, popularly known as the Fringe. This year, for instance, the winners of the Pocket Theater Forum competition in Athens are scheduled to participate in the Scottish event, while organizers in Edinburgh have pledged to send some of their own offerings to Greece next year. Continuing the tradition of other international fringe festivals, the Athens version will be putting on events at unlikely venues, besides those taking place at Technopolis. Rather than adhering to the usual festival-type format, the upcoming event’s approach has more to do with the notion of developing a network involving the city’s most creative voices. In addition, it is hoping to attract more activist participation through the involvement of nongovernmental organizations. Successful premiere During its first edition last year, the festival counted the participation of 180 troupes and more than 800 artists and activists. This year, efforts were made to establish communication with the Athens Festival – the initial idea being to develop the Fringe Festival as an independent section of the annual series of summer events, along the lines of the Synch Festival. But according to Athens Fringe, Athens Festival organizers did not respond to any of the suggestions, effectively leaving the idea on paper. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes place in the Scottish capital over three weeks in August. The event originally began in 1947 when a group of eight theater groups turned up unannounced at the Edinburgh International Festival. As more and more artists gradually traveled to the city to perform outside the official event, the Festival Fringe Society was established in 1958, in order to hand out information, organize a box office and publish a schedule of events. The event was founded on the principle that all artists with «a story to tell» and a place to say it would be welcome at the Fringe. In the meantime, Athens Fringe Festival organizers are preparing a series of surprises, to be announced by the end of May. For more information on the Athens Fringe Festival, visit www.fringefestival.gr.