by Kate Hoff • July 1, 2008 • I’m writing this first blog post from the field; or, rather, mountain. I spent this morning hiking on Matanuska Glacier in Alaska. Certainly an excellent way to spend the day, but it has nothing to do with the Fringe.
This is my fifth year blogging about the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Earlier this year, I joined the board of the Fringe – a position that gives me the opportunity to think about the Fringe year-round, not just during July and August. The board is charged with overseeing the organization, ensuring its financial sustainability, supporting the talented staff and sometimes acting as an extension of the staff by helping with fundraising, volunteering at events (like the Pride festival last weekend) and thinking about how to make a really fantastic organization even better.
My background is in nonprofit organization management and fundraising, and I’ve worked for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy since 1993. I’d seen a handful of Fringe shows over the years, and acted in a few plays in college…but I couldn’t have predicted that would all add up to my current love affair with the Fringe. I’m a visual artist, and my work was selected as part of the 2004 Visible Fringe. That was my first year blogging, and, more importantly, the first year with my name on an Ultra Pass. And so it began. I typically see just over 40 shows during the run of the festival. For me, there’s so much to love about the Fringe: free speech, accessibility, community…and the chance to see theater that may not otherwise have a stage.
The new Fringe website went live today at www.fringefestival.org. There you will find the complete show schedule and information on previews – which are a great way to sample an array of shows and get some ideas of what’s coming up.
I’m going to miss the July 7 Fringe-for-All at the Ritz Theatre – I’ll still be cruising around Alaska with my husband, listening to too much Eddie Vedder. Go check out the Fringe-for-All and let me know what’s looking hot…and what’s not. I rely on word of mouth when planning my Fringe schedule just like everyone else. That’s part of the fun…
Kate Hoff is a fundraiser, printmaker, and alternative-theater denizen. Her prints were included in the Visible Fringe show in 2004—also the year she began blogging about the festival. A few years, countless blog entries, and a hundred-some Fringe shows later, Kate joined the Fringe board in early 2008. The views expressed here are hers alone and do not represent the official position of the Fringe (unless noted).