When Hope Arthur takes the stage at Fort Wayne Fringe, her surroundings will be a little different than what she’s used to.
She is accustomed to being seated at a keyboard, playing and singing songs she has written for friends and strangers. This time, she won’t be alone, as she will be accompanied by strings and a sax, percussion and a trumpet.
This outside-her-norm performance is exactly what Fort Wayne Fringe is about. The first-year performance arts festival is about giving performers a setting where there are no rules, founder Jason Markzon says.
They have as much artistic freedom as they want to take in the performing arts, he says.
Markzon first got the idea to create something like Fringe about a year ago, he says. He moved to Fort Wayne from Philadelphia, and his former hometown’s Fringe festival tended to take over the city. Why couldn’t Fort Wayne have something similar?
We were just trying to figure out what we could do to build up the performing arts community in Fort Wayne, says Markzon, principal percussionist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. There’s so much awesome talent here.
In addition, Markzon hoped to attract out-of-town artists to the area, and he did. Arthur will perform with nine other acts hailing from Fort Wayne, Atlanta, Ann Arbor, Mich., Chicago and Columbus, Ohio.
Now that the talent is scheduled, Markzon wants to promote and support the artists – 100 percent of the money raised goes back to the performers. Each event requires a ticket, which costs $5. Tickets are sold by day – a Friday or a Saturday – and can be used for any performance going on that day. So an artist makes money based on attendance.
Fort Wayne’s the center of the country basically, and there’s no reason it can’t be a bigger player in the arts community, he says.
The show is unjuried and uncensored. Performers were chosen by a lottery, and artists were asked to submit ratings for their performances: profanity, adult material, suitable for children under 18 and suitable for children under 14.
Fort Wayne Fringe includes theater, fire performers and dance. The Traveling Tap Dance Super Show is a tap performance, and greatBIGworld is a one-woman cabaret. Identity Cubed is a percussion trio, and dAnce.Kontemporary is a local professional dance company with original, contemporary and experimental dance.
The Hope Arthur Orchestra brings a sound that may not have been heard in this part of the world, Arthur says, as her influences come from Eastern Europe, Europe, South America and Yiddish music.
Arthur, 25, has performed her own music since she was 19, and while she gets nervous, the nerves she feels about debuting her orchestral music at Fort Wayne Fringe is more intense. Because it will be a first-time performance, Arthur says, she feels vulnerable, as there’s always the fear of what if something goes wrong?
The decision to join Fringe, she says, came along with wanting to show her fans a sample of her next album – the 13 original songs she plans to perform are off the soon-to-be-released album.
I’ve been telling my friends, I’m orchestrating my music now,’ she says. I thought this would be a good opportunity to show people what it is that I’m doing.