Istanbul Fringe Festival

Istanbul Fringe Festival, which has been organized since 2019, is an international performing arts festival that aims to bring together innovative and unique works produced by emerging artists from all around the World and Turkey, with audiences of Istanbul art scene.

By Roger Green - Scan of original item


In the city of Edinburgh in 1947 eight theatre groups turned up in uninvited wanting to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival, an initiative created to celebrate and enrich European cultural life in the wake of the Second World War. Not being part of the official programme of the International festival didn’t stop these performers – they just went ahead and staged their shows anyway.

Today, world-wide fringe festivals, which happens in various cities and capitals of the world, are hosting more than 170 thousand artists & 19 million spectators, in 250 different venues and 60 thousand events. Fringe festivals, which are held in different scales and forms in each city, often provides an opportunity for emerging artists, who produce alternative and innovative works, to showcase their works in an international and dynamic platform.

How Did Istanbul Fringe Festival Start?

The idea of organizing Istanbul Fringe Festival came about in 2017 among a group of friends who have followed and experienced other Fringe Festivals in different countries and cities. The group found the idea of organizing a Fringe festival in Istanbul really exciting.

After an intense period of communication with World Fringe Network working on the project, the group started working on Istanbul Fringe Festival 2019 for the first edition.

In its first year, the Festival received an unprecedented interest from both artists and viewers. The open call received more than 150 applications from artists all over the world and in September 2019,  festival hosted more than 100 artists both from Turkey and abroad in 20 different shows and reached a total of 4000 viewers.

With that, the group brought an international performing arts festival to Istanbul which offers the works produced within the fields of performance, dance and theater along with a rich program of  workshops and talks. 

Memberships & Networks

Istanbul Fringe Festival, since its first year, is a recognized member of World Fringe Network and the International Fringe Festival Association. The international Fringe Festival Association set up to serve the global Fringe community, including festival staff, venues, performers & artists, agents, audiences, suppliers, media, sponsors & supporters, and wider industry professionals.

World Fringe organizes and facilitates one-to-one meetings, conversation and spreading the word about existing Fringe Festivals as well as consulting with new and developing Fringes. World Fringe hosts networking events, conferences, talks and workshops on where to go and how to get involved. It offers advice on whose who, what’s on where and how it can be useful. World Fringe educates the festival sector and audiences on the importance of ‘Fringe’.
World Fringe Network - Website

Istanbul Fringe Festival has been a member of the European Festival Association since its first year, has the EFFE logo, which is given to the notable art festivals of Europe, which is in contact with the society and contributes to the development of international dialogue. 

Istanbul Fringe Festival was also earned the EFFE Label 2021 Creativity Award, which was specially designed for the pandemic period, thanks to its rapid adaptation and new procedures it implemented during the pandemic measures. The award, given by the European Festivals Association, celebrates festivals that show strong will to meet their artists and audiences under the difficult conditions of the 2020-2021 period, and that give examples of resilience and creativity.

European Festivals Association - Website

Istanbul Fringe Festival has also become a partner of Aerowaves Dance Network in 2023.  Aerowaves is a hub for dance discovery in Europe, began back in 1996 at The Place in London. It aims to identify the most promising new work by emerging dance artists and then promote it through cross-border performances. 

Aerowaves’ network of partners in 34 countries enables these younger choreographers to bring brand new dance to brand new audiences. It plays a unique role as a connector between choreographers, dance programmers and dance enthusiasts across Europe. The network brings together the professional knowledge, personal insight and love for dance of 44 members.

Aerowaves Dance Network - Website

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Our Team

Zeynep Uğur

Cultural Policy Director

Emre Yıldızlar

Artistic Director

Eda Erman

Communications Director

Denizhan Çay

Venue & Operations Director

Emirhan Altunkaya

Business Development Director

Zeynep Demir

Partner and Sponsorship Manager


In Latin, the verb "fringere" means to break in order to break outwards. When we are inside something that surrounds us, to open it outwards, to create a crack through which light can enter. To go outward, into the open air, towards the other. Creating an act of going outwards, and in doing so allowing the outside to come in. Breaking the circle, jumping over the barriers.