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Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I Apply For Fringe?

Do you have something to share? Is your work adaptable? Do you like

supporting other artists? Are you good at self-promotion? Or, do you

want to learn about any of the above?

If YES -  You should apply to fringe!

If NO -  Fringe might not be your cup of tea.



Q. How do I apply for the Elgin Fringe Festival?

A. Our applications will go live in February. We will share the date ASAP. Artists are selected via lotteries based on artist location, representation, and if performances will be in person or digital. You will be notified of your acceptance into the festival within 90 days of the application closing date.


Q. What info do I need to apply for the Elgin Fringe Festival?

A. Contact info, a short description of your work (can be a working description), estimated length of your show, and the number of performances requested (1-4).

Q. How are artists selected?

A.  EFF selects artists via lottery and is not curated. The lottery categories are as follows:

  • Equity Seeking Artists: artists that self-identify as Underrepresented. This can include but is not limited to those that are BIPOC, and members of the LGBTQ community. The festival is always open to questions and concerns on who qualifies as underrepresented. All artists that are not drawn from this lottery are automatically transferred to the Local and Touring pools respectively. 

  • Local Artists: Artists’ address is within 50 miles of Side Street Studio Arts’ downtown Elgin address, 15 Ziegler Ct., Elgin, IL 60120

  • Touring Artists/Out of Area: Artists’ address outside of the 50-mile radius

Q.  What happens if I am not selected?

A.  Have no fear! All artists not selected by the lottery will automatically be put on the waitlist in their respective categories.


Q. How much does it all cost?

A. There is no application fee. Production fees range from $50-$250, depending on number of performances requested and approved.

100% of ticket sales go back to the artists! There is no application fee. Production fees are required upon acceptance to the festival. You will be invoiced for your production fee. The application is typically open for a month. No late submissions will be accepted. Selected and wait-listed artists will be announced within 90 days of the close of the application.


Elgin Fringe Festival PERFORMING ARTISTS are accepted via lottery. If you have trouble submitting your application, please contact EFF Artistic Director, Nick Mataragas at

Performing artists are able to select one, two, three, or four in-person performances, or a digital performance. While you will not be able to choose your day and time. However, you can choose the number of performances to offer greater scheduling flexibility and money-making opportunities for artists and a wider variety of performances for audiences!  There is NO application fee!



Q. How does load in and load out work during the festival?

A. You have 10 minutes to load in, following the performance in front of you. Your venue manager will tell you when you are able to start loading in. Do not begin your load in before this time. Some spaces will be more congested than others. For example, the Theater at SSSA has a narrow stairwell as the only entrance and exit. The Elgin Art Showcase has a single elevator for both audience and artist use. You will receive additional specifics from your Venue Manager at your tech time, but the tighter the plan, the better, and the more simple the better, when it comes to fringe.

You have 10 minutes to load out, at the end of your performance. You must stick to this tight schedule, as the group performing after you will be ready to go. This means props/set off stage, costumes out of changing area, humans away, and whatever other wonderful craziness is involved in your show.

  • Example schedule: 10:40am-10:50am Erin loads in; 10:50am-11am House Open; 11am-Noon The Amazing Erin Show; Noon-12:10pm Erin load out; 12:10-12:20pm Tanner loads in; 12:20-12:30pm House Open; 12:30-1:30pm The Okay Tanner Show…


So, try to rehearse all this stealth switchover during your tech. Is this all crazy? Yes, but that’s fringe!​

  • Helpful hints:

    • Show up in make-up.

    • Show up in your costume base layer.

    • Big cast? Lucky you, assign everyone a load in and strike job or two or three.

    • Lots of props? Bring easily moveable storage bins or wheeled suitcases.

    • Our tech crew will be busy preparing for their next show. So, they will be unable to help you load in our strike. Plan accordingly. 


Q. Can I store anything at my venue?

A. Venues do not have available storage space for props, costumes, etc. So, be sure to consider this when planning/practicing your load in. Imagine if every artist/company performing needed to store props, sets, costumes, and so on? Most of our venues just don't have enough room. That said, your Venue Manager is the boss of their space. If something makes sense for the ease of the festival, they will decide that at your tech rehearsal.



Q. Do I get to see other fringe shows?

A. Yes, and we hope you see as many as possible! Your button and artist badge, which will be given to you at your tech time, will get you "rush seating" to all performances. This means that about 2 minutes before the show starts, you will be let in to any unsold seats. If a show sells out (YAY!), you are out of luck. You are welcome to purchase a ticket at the box office, if you are worried about getting to see a certain show. We hope you will support all the artists involved in the festival! This includes the free events, EFF Tailgate, after parties, etc.


Q. Will my show be reviewed?

A. Typically, we receive good coverage from our local newspapers prior to the festival, as well as daily published schedules during the festival. We work to get a range of reviewers in for the festival. That said, we don't have control over which shows they choose to see. In 2017, we had 5 reviewers report on 25 performances. This has grown each year. Additionally, we offer audiences the opportunity to write short reviews of the performances they attend, which are then posted at Fringe Central for all ticket buyers to see. 



Q. What should I do to successfully market my show?

A. Getting posters/postcards/flyers/etc. up and around downtown Elgin as soon as you get into town is your best bet. If you send your marketing materials to Side Street Studio Arts/Fringe Central ahead of time, we will happily post them in our space. Getting your Facebook Event Page up and at 'em as early as possible is important. Posting updates and promoting within your own circles is important, as well. Promo material bits:
     - make sure we have plenty of your materials at Elgin Fringe Central
     - see other shows, hand out to folks before and after those shows
     - leave and post at all venues
     - most downtown businesses will allow you to post, take an hour to go for a walk and check those             out
     - make artist friends - many will give you a shout out during their bow
     - be charming.

We can't stress this last bit enough. We have found that going to shows, talking to the Elgin community, supporting other artists, and so on gets folks to your show. Make them fall in love with you as a person, and they will be sure to support you as an artist.



Q. Can my audience purchase tickets at the venues?

A. NO! So, make sure they have the right information. All tickets must be purchased and/or picked up at Fringe Central (15 Ziegler Ct.). Even folks who have purchased online, must pick up their physical ticket at Fringe Central (15 Ziegler Ct.). Make sure your crowd plans accordingly, parking, stop at Fringe Central, stroll to the venue, and ENJOY!


Q. Why can't my audience purchase tickets at the venues?

A. As dreamy as this would be, we are a low-budget, volunteer-run festival. We do not have the financial or personnel resources to staff box offices across 8 venues. Keeping ticket sales centralized allows us to keep production prices low for artists, while still fielding a successful festival. Getting ticketing info to your audiences early and often will help eliminate any potential frustrations that may have. Fringe Central is located at Side Street Studio Arts - central to all fringe venues and within 10 minutes (often much less) walking distance to all venues. Each audience member is required to have an EFF Button and, for ticketed performances, must have a ticket in hand. 


Q. But, my audience doesn't want a button! They're only coming to see my show.

A. We couldn't do it without the buttons! The buttons support the festival, the tickets support you! We are able to market, pay tech staff, offer up low production fee rates, and keep the festival going all because of our button sales.

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