(Left to Right) John DeWald, Neal Ruchman, Janet Bengel, Jim Hall, Joe Viana, Rebecca Tomlinson

What does it mean to be Fringe?

Legend has it that the concept of Fringe Theater was born in 1947 when eight theater groups, unable to gain admission to the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival, performed anywhere they could – pubs, churches, empty store fronts, and galleries. Today hundreds of Fringe Theater Festivals and thousands of Fringe Theater companies exist throughout the world. 

What was once thought of as a nuisance movement has become an essential part of theater communities because fringe organizations provide a “point of entry” into the theater world (which let’s admit it, can be a little cliquish).

Audience members and theater practitioners benefit when a theater company takes up residence on the fringe of a community. Why? Because education, outreach, and “at risk” theater becomes more possible. Fringe theater companies focus on new works or established works presented in a new way.  Their use of a space is temporary, so production elements must be light (literally and figuratively) because they have to be moved in and out then on to the next project.  New works matter. New voices matter. Old voices heard in a new way ... it all matters. 
Fringe Theater Key West embraces this "fringey" philosophy. We’ve kept elements crafted in years past from the visions of Monnie and Peter King, Tammy Shanley, Judy Hadley, Connie Hurst,  Chris Tittel, and many many others who worked to create the foundation that Fringe Theater exists on today.  Our vision this season is to create theater that is light on its feet, reflects a variety of theatrical voices, and is affordable.  In some ways, we are going back to our roots by pulling forward the People’s Theater philosophy: "theater by the people for the people.”

--Rebecca Tomlinson, Artistic Managing Director
    and Janet Bengel, President of the Board
Fringe Theater Key West began as the People's Theater of Key West in 2009. It reorganized into Fringe Theater Key West,
a 501(c)(3) organization in 2011. 
Rebecca Tomlinson
Janet Bengel​, President
John DeWald, Vice President
Judy Hadley, Secretary
Joe Viana, Treasurer
Billy Cartledge
Jim Hall
Neal Ruchman
House Manager: Holly Clements
Stage Managers:  Cynthia Kemeny, Deb Kik, Alicia Merel, Annie Miners
​   Bob Rowand, Mike Tomes, & Stephen Miller
Costume Coordinator: Deborah Snelgrove
     Don Lynch, Charlie Bengel, and Brian Vest
​Shakespeare in Schools:  
     Judy Hadley,  Alicia Merel
Playwrights in Paradise:  Toby Armour