1. What is a Fringe Festival?

It is a multidisciplinary cultural festival containing shows and performances that range across various genres and spaces, both traditional and unconventional.

The term "fringe" refers to shows produced outside of institutional theatre networks, allowing artists the opportunity to perform independently.

Literally meaning "on the fringe,” the term was coined in the early days of the Edinburgh Festival (1947). Over the years, the Fringe Festival model has spread around the world, particularly in Anglo-Saxon communities but also in many cities around the world, such as Avignon; in 1966 FESTIVAL LE OFF AVIGNON began as an alternative to the more institutional "IN" Festival.

Fringe and “Off” artists invest in their participation in the Festival, supporting themselves through ticket sales and fundraising activities before the Festival starts. 

A Festival that directly pays artists is not a proper Fringe.

The World Fringe Association (of which we are members) connects over 250 Festivals from around the world.

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.

3. How do the Fringe Italia OFF Festivals work?

Each festival is divided into four sections:

1) MI/CT–IN is the presentation evening of the Festival. It takes place in an important theater and includes various spokespeople, institutional representatives, and some of the artists who have been selected from all over the world to take part in 2024.

2) MI/CT – FRINGE the best of the contemporary theater scene, brought to the stage by professional companies from all over Italy and abroad, is selected through an international application to perform a variety of different genres distributed in the various spaces of the Festival. Approximately 50 participating shows will perform across 15 performance venues across the city, with each space hosting 2 to 3 shows per day. Each production performs in the same venue, for 4 consecutive days and for either one or two weeks.

3) MI/CT “OFF-OFF”  –  Many of our projects and initiatives fall under this umbrella section of the festival, which are made up of a multitude of different types of activities and are distributed throughout the city. Book presentations, panels based on show topics, projects, ideas, exhibitions, workshops, and concerts are spread across city neighborhoods.

4) MI/CT OFF - VILLAGE OFF – The heart of the festival, hosting many of our activities and acting as the central meeting point between artists, industry professionals, and the public

4. Why does it cost to participate in the Fringe?

One of the main goals of a self-produced show is to connect with artistic directors. To assist with this connection, we have created the FRINGE ITALIA OFF NETWORK: a community that unites venues and industry professionals throughout Italy and abroad to select artistic proposals from our festivals and offer companies various opportunities in line with their programming and activities.

Participation conditions of each partner festival are indicated on the dedicated page of our website.

The page will continue to be updated as more partners are added, up until the start of the Fringe. Guest Festival representatives, Artistic Directors, and Journalists decide in complete autonomy which shows to see and which companies to select for awards and special mentions.

For any information not indicated on the website, companies selected for the AWARDS FRINGE ITALIA OFF NETWORK may refer directly to the theater or festival that selected them.

5. Why participate in the Milano/Catania Off Fringe Festival?

The Fringe is fundamentally different from other Performing Arts festivals in that it fosters a sense of community: of artists working together to create an eclectic explosion of creativity and innovation both on and offstage. In addition to the opportunity to perform in a unique venue in the city of Catania, participating artists and companies will attend speed-dates, focus panels and meet-ups in order to connect with other fellow artists and maximize potential creative opportunities. 

Catania Off is also pleased to be able to offer a number of awards to selected artists for exclusive participation agreements in national and international festivals and theatre seasons, thanks to our long-term collaborations with multiple partners across the world. Check out our awards here.

6. Who can participate in the Fringe?

Individual artists and professional companies of any nationality can participate in the FRINGE festival, with shows also in any language (preferably with surtitles, or at least a synopsis, in Italian).

 Shows can be published or new works, and shows that have participated in previous editions can participate again.

Only companies/performers who can produce INPS/EX ENPALS certificates, or equivalent certifications from their home country, may participate;

Performances/shows must be a  MINIMUM of 50 minutes and a maximum of 80 minutes long

The Fringe accepts shows from the performance categories listed in the Artist Application Guidelines.

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

Yes, there are different ways to participate in the Festival. Any artist or group with a complete or developing artistic or cultural proposal can take part outside of the general artist application by joining the "OFF-OFF" section. This part of our festival hosts various cultural and performance events at different spaces affiliated with the Festival, offered for free to the general public. Depending on the circumstances, the Festival can provide reimbursements to participating performers. To register, simply submit your project online on the Fringe website.

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 progra 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 lists 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 thevartists' 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.

Renato LOMBARDO and Francesca VITALE
tel. +39 347 6372592

Information: info@fringeitaliaoff.com
info - tel/Whatsapp +39 391 1418299

Cultural Association LA MEMORIA DEL TEATRO
Via Giacomo Leopardi, 141 - 95127 Catania
Via Fontana, 22 - 20122 Milano



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