1.What is a Fringe Festival?

It's a multidisciplinary cultural festival featuring various shows and performances, often taking place in non-conventional spaces. The term "fringe" refers to shows produced outside institutional circles, allowing artists the opportunity to perform independently. Literally meaning "fringe" or "on the margins," the term was coined at the inception of the Edinburgh Festival in 1947. Over the years, the model of Fringe Festivals has spread worldwide, particularly in Anglo-Saxon communities but also in many cities around the world, such as Avignon, where the OFF Avignon Festival was born in 1966 as an alternative to the more institutional "IN" Festival. Fringe/Off artists invest in their participation in the festival, and sustain themselves through ticket sales as well as through fundraising efforts in the period leading up to the festival.

A festival that directly pays its artists is not strictly a Fringe Festival. The World Fringe Association, of which we are a part, encompasses over 250 festivals worldwide, connecting them all.

2. What is Fringe Italia Off?

Fringe Italia Off brings together two festivals, Milano Off Fringe Festival and Catania Off Fringe Festival, into a communal, artistic, and cultural project that impacts the overall territory, tourism, and social issues of Italy.

The mission of the Fringe hasn’t changed since the birth of Milano Off Festival in 2016. It continues to focus on three distinct targets: audiences, who are tourists in each city and come into contact with multifaceted and intimate performance spaces that differ from traditional, institutional venues; artists, who are continuously in contact with the public, with international industry professionals, with fellow colleagues, and with students, all while moving towards a path of international growth; and networks, created with students, foreign festivals, and the social-economic fabric of each city.

Over time, Milan and Catania Off Fringe Festival have forged partnerships with many Fringe festivals around the world.


There are multiple different ways to participate in the Festival. Any artist or company with a complete or developing production proposals which enter into one of this year’s Fringe Categories can participate in Catnia Off Fringe. In addition, Catania Off hosts a myriad of performative,  artistic and cultural events for all kinds of artists, idea experts, and general audience members at large. Basically, anyone can participate in the Fringe in some way!


The World Fringe Association defines the spirit of fringe as, “not a single pot of money coming from one place to produce a programmed event, but rather about support, development, accessibility and everyone involved, including artists, venues, audiences, and funders, investing together in a creative platform and delivering a unique & organic occasion.” As is customary with most Fringe Festivals, a participation fee is necessary to cover the administrative and organizational costs of the festival. Read more on the spirit of Fringe Festivals on the World Fringe website: http://www.worldfringe.com/what-is-a-fringe/

5. What do I (as an artist) get from participating in the Catania Off Fringe Festival?

This is the fundamental question that every artist is responsible for asking themselves before they apply and bring their work to any real Fringe Festival!

FRINGE is a professional showcase for independent artistic productions that offers various opportunities for professional recognition and development.

But above all, it is a human and professional experience to grow and assess one’s artistic work, as well as an opportunity for meetings, exchanges, and professional insights with colleagues, journalists, industry professionals, and national and international artistic directors.

The best way to take on the FRINGE experience is to prepare a precise budget and know that any eventual deficits should be considered as an investment in your work.

You will need to set specific, scaled goals and expectations, considering the realistic difficulties and possibilities for success: this will give you a more acute awareness of your work’s potential, and prevent disappointment and frustration.

So set your budget and goals in advance, and prepare strategies to achieve your desired results; if you don’t reach them, you will still have gained an awareness of the artistic potential of your show, have concrete material to work on to improve, and make new connections with many artistic colleagues and industry professionals.

For its part, the festival is constantly working to improve artists’ economic sustainability through a series of targeted initiatives.


The selection process for participation in Catania Off Fringe Festival is performed by a selection of arts industry professionals.

7. Besides the Fringe Artists Application, are there other ways to participate in the Milano and Catania Off Fringes?

Congratulations! We will send you a participation agreement to sign along with participation fee payment, and then work to participate in the Fringe Festival can begin. The Fringe Festival is a collaborative effort between artists, theaters and festival staff in order to bring Fringe theatre to as wide of an audience as possible. That means that in addition to overall festival programming, theatres and artists alike will be championing their shows across the city online and in-person. Catania Off Fringe Festival strives to create a thriving cultural hub such as our sister festival Avignon Off.

8. How do I apply to participate in the Fringe?

Fringe applications must be completed and submitted exclusively online through the application form. All sections of the application must be filled out and submitted, with all required attachments, by the deadline indicated in the guidelines to be considered complete.

Applications submitted for the MILANO OFF FRINGE FESTIVAL 2024 may also be valid for CATANIA OFF FRINGE FESTIVAL 2024. By checking the designated box in the online registration form and paying the singular participation fee of €15, the application will be automatically registered for both festivals.

By completing and submitting the application form, you attest that you completely understand and accept the conditions and regulations laid out in the Artist Application Guidelines (linked on the application page.)  

9. Why does it cost money to participate in a Fringe Festival?

The World Fringe Association defines the spirit of fringe as, “not a single pot of money coming from one place to produce a programmed event, but rather about support, development, accessibility and everyone involved, including artists, venues, audiences, and funders, investing together in a creative platform and delivering a unique & organic occasion.” As is customary with most Fringe Festivals, a participation fee is necessary to cover the administrative and organizational costs of the festival. Read more on the spirit of Fringe Festivals on the World Fringe website: http://www.worldfringe.com/what-is-a-fringe/

10. How are the shows chosen?

There are two selection stages. The first is conducted by a committee of artistic professionals who determine which shows meet the required criteria to participate. The final choices for the program are made directly by the managers/artistic directors of each participating venue.

11. Which venues participate in the Fringe?

The venues participating MI OFF and CT OFF are a combination of theatrical and unconventional performance spaces spread throughout the two cities. Our venue list is updated regularly on the dedicated webpage, where you will find information details for each performance space.

12. What should I keep in mind when I send my technical rider?

  • Each performance space will provide technical audio/lighting equipment, as well as a general manager to serve as a point of contact. Selected shows must adapt their production to the performance space.

We suggest artists and companies submit a technical rider with the minimum essential equipment needed for their show when they apply.

Please remember to attach a video of your performance with your application. It's important that the video closely matches the show you plan to stage, as it will be used for evaluation.

Each company must have its own technical representative onsite to oversee the setup, cues, and strike of the show. Each company will have no more than 120 minutes total for setup, performance, and strike of their show each day.

The Fringe will provide a technical director to oversee the basic needs of participating artists and companies.

Companies are welcome to enhance the technical setup within their assigned performance spaces, provided they adhere to the space's structural and technical limits. These enhancements must be completed within the allocated setup, performance, and strike times, and must be agreed upon with the Festival's technical and artistic teams as well as the hosting venues.


13. What are the AWARDS?

Awards are the recognition we give to participating artists, and they are divided into four sections:

  1. First, special mentions: these are nominations given either by students participating in the “Student Jury” project or by the directors of our partner festivals (they award categories such as "Best Show", "Best Performer", etc.).
  2. Participation in our partner festivals with advantaged circumstances, as well as opportunities to take part in various showcases, seasons, residencies, and training programs that will be available on our website.
  3. One or more scholarships awarded to the shows that receive the highest votes from the audience, from industry professionals, and from students.
  4. Support provided by our sponsors through our MECENOFF program, which helps cover the costs of international awards and support the artists' participation at our festivals.

14. What are the criteria for selecting the awards?

Both international and national festival directors attending the Festival personally choose the shows to award, which will then be included in their editions. They often also represent other Fringe partners who can't be physically present.

In addition, all industry professionals and official reviewers fill out evaluation forms for the performances. At the Festival's conclusion, these evaluations are submitted to a committee. The committee will then assign the other awards based on these assessments, as well as the preferences of students involved in the “Student Jury” project and votes from the public online.

15. What can THE FRINGE offer me?

Participating in the Fringe offers you:

  • The opportunity to perform in a space without paying rent;
  • Participation in the “Host an Artist” project, upon request, which allows you to stay with local residents in their homes;
  • Free access to workshops and training events with experts from the Italian and international performing arts scene on essential topics for your career;
  • The chance to be seen and receive feedback from both Italian and international industry professionals and journalists;
  • The opportunity to connect with students from schools and universities;
  • The chance to promote your work through short performances in various venues;
  • The opportunity to win awards and receive special mentions;
  • Inclusion on the Festival's website and in printed programs, participation in interviews, and official photographs of your performances.

16. How can I ensure that the press and industry professionals come to see my performance?

Typically, there are more shows than the number of industry professionals and press members at our festivals. As a result, Fringe Italia Off cannot ensure that every performance will have press or professionals in attendance.

To help you, we’ll provide a list of attending press and industry professionals, including their email addresses. This allows you to personally invite them or share information that might encourage them to come to your show.

Also, engaging in Festival activities like workshops and pitch sessions is a fantastic way to draw industry professionals to your performance.

17. What are “pitch” sessions?

On the Tuesday and/or Wednesday before the week’s performances, all participating companies will have the opportunity to take part in our "Pitch" sessions. At these sessions, you will have a few minutes to present, or pitch, your show to the artistic directors and representatives from various national and international theater organizations attending MI/CT OFF.

Your pitch should be concise and compelling, aiming to capture the interest of the operators and artistic directors and encouraging them to come and see your performance.

18. What happens if I withdraw from the festival?

Fringe Italia Off invests a lot into your participation in the festival, especially in terms of advertising. If an artist withdraws after their formal acceptance, it not only affects the Festival's organization but also the performance venue. Therefore, if a company withdraws outside of the permitted time frame and without a serious and verified reason, they will be required to pay a penalty to the Festival. This penalty covers the lost revenue, the promotional investment made in the show, and the opportunity cost for another company that could have used the performance slot, including in pre-festival communications.

19. Is accommodation provided by the Festival?

Accommodation expenses are the responsibility of the company/artist participating in the Fringe Festival. However, the Festival aims to support our participating artists by reaching out to local citizens to assist with accommodation options. Although we've managed to accommodate all requests thus far, we can't guarantee availability for everyone. Additionally, we'll provide details on alternative options like small hotels or bed and breakfasts at special, discounted rates.

Co-Founder and General DirectionRenato Lombardo 
Co-Founder and General Direction: Francesca Vitale


Cultural Association LA MEMORIA DEL TEATRO
Via Giacomo Leopardi, 141 - 95127 Catania
info - tel. +39 342 5572121 - +39 391 1418299
direction - tel. +39 347 6372592

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