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Meet Ann Sabbah of Denver Fringe Festival

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ann Sabbah.

Hi Ann, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I have always been a believer in the power of the arts, especially live performance. So much more than just entertainment, the arts have the power to transform us, to make people feel, think, look at things differently, to heal and to bond communities together. I wanted to facilitate more opportunities for art, both for artists and for audiences.

Launching the Denver Fringe Festival is the perfect way to do this because the Fringe format allows us to promote the performing arts, support artists who are creating new work, and make live performance more accessible to more people. The Fringe festival phenomenon spans the globe; over 250 cities worldwide have their own Fringe festival, and it’s high time Denver has one of its own! As a third-generation Denver native, I am so excited about adding this cultural asset to Denver’s arts scene.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has actually been a pretty smooth road, despite starting the Denver Fringe Festival in the middle of the pandemic! Our slate of artists for the 2020 Denver Fringe were incredibly resilient and we were able to present a virtual festival with shows in on-demand and streaming formats. The 2021 Denver Fringe nearly doubled in size with 22 live shows and 65 individual performances at four venues with an additional 16 shows presented virtually. Artists and audiences have fully embraced the Fringe festival format and every venue we’ve worked with has been thrilled to host performances. We have built a small but mighty team of people who have been involved with Fringe festivals both in this country and internationally. And we have a clear vision and goals that have been supported by our partners and sponsors from the very start.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Denver Fringe Festival?
The Denver Fringe Festival is an innovative performing arts festival taking place every June in the RiNo/Five Points area. We feature nearly every form of performing arts imaginable including theatre, musical theatre, comedy, improv, circus, aerial, dance, burlesque, magic and mentalism, and cutting-edge immersive formats. Performances run for four days at multiple venues in the area with performers from Denver, other parts of Colorado, and all over the country.

The guiding principle of the Denver Fringe Festival is “arts for all.” We’re an open-access festival that encourages new artistic voices and allows more performers to push boundaries and take their work to the next level. We remove all barriers to entry by providing venues, stage management and front-of-house support as well as ticketing and promotion of the festival. We also keep ticket prices low and accessible so that more people can experience live performance. Tickets are priced at just $15 and Denver Fringe venues are located in the same part of town so you can see multiple shows in the same evening.

We also run a KidsFringe with family-friendly shows and free workshops for kids with activities like clowning, circus and improv, because kids who are exposed to the arts grow up loving and supporting the arts!

The Denver Fringe Festival makes the performing arts accessible to people in a new way. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and it’s happening at your favorite bar in RiNO or in a historic building in Curtis Park or just down the street in a community space. The Fringe movement around the world attracts independent artists who take risks and push boundaries. You’re guaranteed to always see something new at the Denver Fringe Festival and will inevitably end up getting hooked!

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Image Credits:

Kalen Jesse Photography, Matt Corbin Photography, Merritt Portrait Studio

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