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Fringe '23 Opens, An Exploration of Artist Creativity

by Cassiopeia Guthrie, May 23

The 11th Annual San Diego International Fringe Festival has arrived at Balboa Parks’ Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre with all of its innovation and edge on display in its run through May 28.

The festival, one of over 200 on the circuit, owes its roots to 1947 Edinburgh, when 8 artist groups rolled up to a theater festival without invitation and performed at the edges of the established space… on the fringe, so to speak.

Today, words are inadequate to describe this yearly event, which is entirely censorship-free, and therefore up to the performing artists. Generally, there are a variety of quirky pieces intended for a wide range of audiences with diverse interests and this year’s pared down offering is no exception.

Shows include: Mark Pleases You, an energetic one-man comedy sketch in which the author hits his head, stumbles across Satan, and ends up convincing his younger self to live a truly authentic life; Normal Heights, an original play by San Diego writer Christian St. Croix, directed by local artist Kandace Crystal, and sponsored by Loud Fridge Theatre Co; 1996, a new musical inspired by the songs of homegrown band Blink 182; and even an off-site ovation of last year’s hit The Pandemusical Diaries fresh off its appearance in New Zealand.

The line-up of 45-50 minute artist-led pieces is well planned to accommodate a variety of schedules with an array of performances staggered in divergent time slots across the two weekends, and the event is affordable and accessible to many with its free parking, cost-effective ticket structure, and the good will of knowing that attendance supports artists.

The Fringe Festival runs through May 28. The full line up is available online at


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