Royal Kung Foolery, a physical theatre ensemble from the United Kingdom.
Royal Kung Foolery, a physical theatre ensemble from the United Kingdom.

The “beautiful, the bizarre and the unexpected” becomes mainstream this week as San Diego hosts its fourth International Fringe Festival.

The San Diego International Fringe Festival with over 100 separate acts runs June 23 to July 3. Artistic groups from San Diego, Tijuana, Australia, New Zealand and Canada will perform at theater and arts venues throughout the city and in Tijuana. Buskers will appear in free shows throughout the event at Seaport Village.

Supervisor Roberts with the Mysterium majic troupe.
Supervisor Dave Roberts (left) with the Mysterium magic troupe. Photo by Chris Jennewein

County Supervisor Dave Roberts is the honorary chairman for the second year in a row.

“Not only is this an international event, but it helps emerging artists,” said Roberts. “What I like about it is that there’s something for everybody.”

He said the open, uncensored performances give emerging artists an opportunity to be discovered. “Don’t be afraid to step out on the edge,” he added.

Performances range from “Qaddafi’s Cook” by Lance Belville, “Cocooned in Kazan” by Royal Kung Foolery from the United Kingdom, “SILO” by Somebodies Dance Theater and “The Black and The Jew Go Buddhist” by Epstein and Hassa.

The fringe concept began in 1947 when eight groups appeared uninvited to the newly formed Edinburgh International Festival and performed “on the fringe” of the main festival—in church basements, storefronts, streets and alleys.

While the main festival still exists, the Edinburgh Fringe is now the largest performing arts festival in the world.

The San Diego festival is produced by Contact Arts, a nonprofit founded in San Diego in 2003. Tickets are available online and range from $27 for three shows to $72 for 10 performances.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.