Oahu Fringe Festival comes to Chinatown this weekend

Jamie Winpenny

HONOLULU — The Fringe Festival phenomenon comes to town this weekend, with a variety of local performance artists presenting their art at several Chinatown venues. The first Fringe Festival ever was held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1947. That festival has grown to become among the largest arts festivals in the world. Cities all over the world now hold their own festivals selling millions of tickets annually. A one-day Fringe was held in Chinatown last year.

Festival organizer Misa Tupou has set forth three days of performances, running Thursday through Saturday at venues like The Arts at Mark’s Garage, The Venue, Ong King Arts Center, and ARTSmith.

“I think Honolulu is ready for a multi-genre festival,” says Tupou. Himself a performer in the dramatic arts, he has long been moved by the passion of artists. Speaking of performances he’s seen at Fringe events in his native New Zealand, Tupou says, “These people absolutely rip their hearts out to tell you their stories.”

It’s that respect for artists’ work that led Tupou to begin planning Oahu Fringe two years ago. And although artists were required to pay a registration fee, they have the chance to earn it back with good attendance. Also, no one who applied for a performance slot was turned away.

The dozens of artists slated to perform at Oahu Fringe include musicians, comedy groups, dancers, actors and playwrights , visual artists, cabaret, acrobats and movement specialists. Oahu Fringe is about inclusion, which means that a wide array of different forms of expression will be featured over the three days of the event.

“If you’re serious about your artwork, this a wonderful place to develop it,” says Tupou. “The artists at Oahu Fringe are taking a chance with their art, and we encourage people to take a chance and attend.”

For a complete list of venues and performances, and to purchase tickets, visit www.oahufringe.com.