From 1997-2001, the Houston Fringe Festival was produced by Gerald Labita and TheaterLab Houston,an intimate and historic Houston theater on the outskirts of Montrose. The festival brought in talent from all over the United States and showcased groundbreaking work such as Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues.
In 2007, FrenetiCore invited Gerald Labita to collaborate on a new Fringe Festival in 2008. With this new partnership in place and generous funding from the City of Houston Special Initiatives Program through the Houston Arts Alliance, FrenetiCore produced the 2008 Fringe Festival at TheaterLab Houston on August 15-31, 2008. The festival included 4 separate programs over 3 weekends showcasing Houston’s finest cutting-edge dance, theater, music, and film. The festival closed with an ‘Anything Goes’ Night, in which invited artists’ performances were limited only by their imaginations a 10-minute time restriction. Performers in the 2008 festival included BrazosPort Lil’ Players, Mildred’s Umbrella, Liz Gilbert, Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theater, Elizabeth Seabolt, Visions in Dance, Mary Ellen Whitworth, Keith Reynolds, Lindsey McGill, and many more, totaling over 100 performers in all. The festival closed on August 31 with a closing night party and awards ceremony.
In 2009, FrenetiCore moved the festival to their newly-renovated theater space, Frenetic Theater in Houston’s East End, and increased the number of performance nights and scope of talent. The Festival was held August 7-23, 2009, and included performances from Loueva Smith, Kinetic Architecture, Massive Improv, Jere Pfister, Toni Valle, Slump, Roy Hamlin, Jim Pirdle, and many more. 2009 marked the festival’s first year to bring in a performance group from out of state (Kinetic Architecture–New York), the first year showing international films (Kutiman–Israel), and the first year to exhibit visual arts in Frenetic Theater’s 80′ exhibit hall. The greatest success has been the audience response to not only the individual performances, but to the pairing of so many different types of performances in each night of the festival.
In 2012 the festival expanded to multiple venues, including Super Happy Fun Land and Bohemeo’s, taking over the East End for art! This year the festival includes 3 venues in addition Frenetic Theater.
Audience comment: “I’ve just gotten home from the Fringe, and I just wanted to write to you to say how exciting all of the dance is. It’s just stunning. I’ve never seen short plays paired with dance before, and it is an experience that is very compelling. After it was over I had this feeling that the Houston art community is very lucky to have you here.”