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Starting today, the Virginia Arts Festival will bring 20 different performances to six different venues in Norfolk’s NEON art’s district for the areas first ever Fringe Festival. With something for really just about everybody, there are no excuses to get out and Binge on the Fringe.

Favored after, what some call, the largest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has over 900 performers and artists. While you won’t find that many art performances in Norfolk’s version of the Fringe Festival, we can expect nothing less than VAF’s continued mission to bring world-class artists and performers, sprinkled with some local favorites to Hampton Roads.

Making this event happen wasn’t easy. Taking the vision of Robert Cross, Executive Director of the Virginia Arts Festival, along with the heavy lifting from the organizational and production staff, VAF enlisted the help of the City of Norfolk’s police department, a core group of volunteers and local organizations to coordinate and produce this four-day festival – over 100 people total.

Kelly Harlan, Marketing Director of VAF states,

“We’ve always been about partnerships in this community. With the NEON District becoming a staple element of the art scene in Norfolk, we viewed this as the optimal location for the first fringe festival. The variety of spaces allows us to merge visual arts and performing arts in a wonderful way.  We also get to work with great new partners like PUSH Comedy, Glass Wheel Studio, Work Release, and some great old partners, like Downtown Norfolk Council, City of Norfolk, Virginia Opera, and Chrysler Museum. We hope this begins a wonderful relationship with these new venues so that this can become an annual event!”

Free parking is available at the Harrison Opera House, but organizers are hoping to see some people walk and bike into the District for any one of these events. The Fringe Central Bar, located in The Plot, will be a great space to meet before or after the shows and listen to live music, enjoy the food trucks, try some local craft beers and participate in events for the entire family.

For more details and a complete schedule, visit VAFest.org.

Schedule of Events

dotMaze: Get Lost!

Friday, April 29 – May 1 at Harrison Opera House

Have you ever found yourself inside a labyrinth or lost yourself in a maze? Well, now’s your chance to do both inside dotMaze: Get Lost! – dotComedy’s 50-foot square hedge maze filled with installations, soundscapes, a cast of the uncanny and a somewhat unpredictable minotaur.


Hot Sardines

Thursday, April 28, 7:30pm at The Plot at 776 Granby Street

Take a blustery brass lineup, layer it over a rhythm section led by a stride-piano virtuoso in the Fats Waller vein, and tie the whole thing together with a one-of-the-boys front woman with a voice from another era, and you have the Hot Sardines.

Tickets $15

National Theatre of Scotland’s – The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

Thursday, April 28 – Sunday May 1st, 8pm | Harrison Opera House – Black Box

Here’s an incredibly inventive and entertaining piece of theater, live music and strange goings-on, so pull up a chair and whet your whistle—because this show is performed live at the Harrison Opera House Black Box Theatre. And in this pub setting, you’ll see unfold the story of Prudencia Hart, an uptight academic whose serious research into ancient Scottish ballads is drawn astray by those who sing them best…with a glass or two of whisky.
Recommended for ages 14+

Tickets $20

Kishi Bashi

Thursday, April 28, 9pm @ Work | Release

Indie rock violin master Kishi Bashi has been the go-to guy for artists like Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, of montreal, and others when they’re in need of some tasty violin licks. Now he takes tracks from his prior albums and arranges them to be performed live with string quartet.

Tickets $25

A Night of NYC Comedy

Thursday, April 28, 9pm @ Push Comedy Theatre

Katherine Williams, Frank Liotti, and Steve Leventhal hail from their comedy clubs in New York City to take the stage in a full night of stand-up comedy!

Tickets $15

Your Love Our Musical

Friday, April 29, 7pm & 9pm @ Push Comedy Theatre

Here’s how it works: Your Love, Our Musical features Rebecca and Evan interviewing a real couple in the audience for details on how they met and fell in love.  Moments late they use those details to create a completely improvised musical about the couple’s love story.

Tickets $15

Ken Peplowski with the John Toomey Trio

Friday, April 29, 9pm Work @ Release

Jazz clarinetist and saxophonist Ken Peplowski is not only an adventurous, open-minded interpreter but also an insightful jazz historian.

Tickets $25

Family Fun with Help Save the Monkey!

Saturday, April 30, 10am & 2pm & Sunday, May 1, 10am & 2pm @ The Plot at 776 Granby Street

Howard and Lillian must race to save Lillian’s pet monkey when he lands from space!  The whole family will enjoy this puppet show, complete with craft time after the show!

Tickets $5, children under 2 are free!

Selected Shorts

Saturday, April 30, 8pm & 10pm @ Push Comedy Theater

Recorded LIVE for future broadcast on WHRV and podcasts nationwide, Selected Shorts features Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), Valorie Curry (American Pastoral), and Sam Underwood (The Following) in”Uncharted Territories” with moving, comical stories about unexpected encounters!

Tickets $35

Akua Allrich & Kris Funn

Saturday, April 30, 8pm @ Glass Wheel Studio

Jazz vocalist Akua Allrich, a musician of extraordinary talent and passion, is joined by bassist Kris Funn, who has played in many major international jazz festivals.

Tickets $20

Slavic Soul Party!

Saturday, April 30, 9pm @ Work | Release

NYC’s official #1 brass band for Balkan Soul Gypsy Funk!

Tickets $15


Sunday, May 1, 4pm @ Glass Wheel Studio

PQ’s innovative programs span the classical canon, contemporary works, original compositions, and open-form improvisations that expand beyond the traditional string quartet.

Tickets $20

Mark Mobley

Sunday, May 1, 5pm @ Push Comedy Theater

Writer, NPR Music editor, programmer, and performer Mark Mobley will captivate all with his one-man-show.

Tickets $15


Sunday, May 1, 7:30pm @ Work | Release

Musician, actor, playwright, author, awesome.  She attracted national attention as a contestant on the CBS reality television show Rock Star; Supernova.
Patron Advisory: Contains profanity & explicit language.

Tickets $25