Six years ago, Josh Short, artistic director of the Wilbury Theater Group, got together with Michael Gennaro, then-executive director of Trinity Rep. Conversation turned to the fact that there were no local outlets that celebrated the work of independent performing artists – so they created one. The first Providence Fringe Festival was held over the course of a week in July 2013 in five different venues and featured 25 local performing artists. Since then, FringePVD has grown as artists from New York, greater New England, and even states as far flung as Alaska and Hawaii have submitted applications to participate.
This July, FringePVD presents a special program, The Olneyville Expo: A Chautauqua-style Celebration of Olneyville Past, Present, and Future under a revival tent in Donigian Park. It will include performances about the history of Olneyville and its indigenous and industrial heritage, the arts and music scene of the 1980s and ‘90s, the water and creatures of the Woonasquatucket River, plus film, live music, and interviews with current and longtime residents of the neighborhood. Hosted by actor Phoenyx Williams, each evening will end in a dance party.
Created by James Stanley, Darcie Dennigan, and Jesse Hawley, The Olneyville Expo... is presented by The Wilbury Theatre Group with support from the Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism and the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts Project, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and the Rhode Island Foundation.
FringePVD runs from July 22-27 with an opening party on July 22. Performances of The Olneyville Expo are July 25, 26, and 27.