The annual Boston University Fringe Festival, now in its 28th season, is a collaboration between the College of Fine Arts School of Music: Opera Institute and School of Theatre. Fringe’s mission is to produce new or rarely performed significant works in the opera and theatre repertoire, bringing performances and audiences together in unique theatrical settings. For over two decades, Fringe Festival at BU has celebrated and amplified new work, shown in spare and minimal productions.

Spurred by the dynamic and diverse programs within BU College of Fine Arts, this year’s Fringe features additional programming from BU School of Visual Arts and School of Music.

You’re invited to experience the innovation and artistry at this year’s performances!

Fringe 2023


The School of Theatre New Play Initiative presents a series of Next Stage workshops, scenes, and plays. These Next Stage pieces are directed by undergraduate directors and will flower as the next step in the fruition of these new plays by BU students.

The nature of the presentation and the work is determined by the needs of the play. Curated by playwright Kirsten Greenidge, Associate Professor and director of BU School of Theatre’s Playwriting track, this “on-its-feet” workshop or play experience focuses on different areas of the writing or specific parts of a project in the process of development.

The Next Stage Workshops offer free admission. Contact for more information.


A co-production of BU Opera Institute and School of Theatre

OCTOBER 13-15, 2023

Music by Melissa Dunphy
Libretto by Jacqueline Goldfinger
Music Director • Allison Voth
Stage Director • Claire Choquette
Studio ONE

Alice Tierney explores the mythic stories surrounding the death of the real-life 19th-Century “dissipated woman” Alice Tierney. Tierney was found hanging by her own petticoats on a fence in a seedy Philadelphia neighborhood early one morning in 1880. Despite suspicious circumstances, the death was ruled accidental and never investigated by police. But who was Alice? Can four grad students investigating the site discover the truth? –


Presented by BU School of Theatre

OCTOBER 20-22, 2023

By Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Rosalind Bevan
Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre

Marcus is sixteen and “sweet.” Days before Hurricane Katrina strikes the projects of Louisiana, Marcus keeps having dreams about a mysterious man and a ton of rain. The currents of his life converge, overflowing into his close-knit community and launching the search for his sexual and personal identity on a cultural landscape infused with mysterious family creeds. The poignant and fiercely humorous coming-of-age story of a young gay man in the South, Marcus is the stirring conclusion of The Brother/Sister Plays.


A co-production of BU Opera Institute and School of Theatre

OCTOBER 27 – 29, 2023

Music by Philip Glass
Libretto by Allen Ginsburg
Music Director • Matthew Larson
Stage Director • Sarah Dahnke
Studio ONE

Created as a portrait of America from the 1950s through the 1980s, Hydrogen Jukebox was composed after a chance meeting between composer, Philip Glass, and Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg. Through Glass’ minimalist style, and Ginsberg’s poetry on topics ranging from the anti-war movement to the environment, the opera touches on many of America’s enduring social issues.

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The Gutter

Presented by BU School of  Visual Arts

On view from September 15 – October 2, 2023

CFA Commonwealth Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Ave., Boston (first floor)
Reception • Friday, September 29, 7pm, Commonwealth Gallery

The Gutter is presented by BU School of Visual Arts and its MFA Visual Narrative Class of 2024. “Although most of the action happens inside the panels, all of the rhythm and flow of storytelling happens in the gutter,” say curators and MFA Visual Narrative students Sadie Sauders (CFA’24) and Ella Scheuerell (CFA’24). “When a drawing protrudes into the gutter, it can be dramatic. When a page has no gutters or too many gutters, it can be overwhelming. When the gutters are evenly spaced and clear, it can provide readers with a sense of order and tranquility. The gutter has the power to influence the reader without their even knowing. In all its meanings, the gutter is a necessity, despite its sometimes-negative connotation. Without it, rainwater would damage our homes, and bowling balls would become wrecking balls. Comics might not make sense. So perhaps next time you meet a cartoonist, instead of telling them to get their minds out the gutter, perhaps encourage them to get their minds into the gutter, because that is where all the magic happens.”


Presented by BU School of Music

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave., Brookline
Noon performance followed by an open discussion with the artists

Presented by the BU College of Fine Arts School of Music. Featuring Dr. Jennifer Bill (saxophone) and Linnea Maas (visual artist), BRUSH|REED is a collaboration between artist and musician to explore the parallels of painting and sound through live performance. BRUSH|REED engages an audience through color, pitch, representational lines, rhythm, intensity, and expression: an aural visual experience. The artists join together to explore the parallels between painting and music via live performances. Jennifer transforms the printed notes of her musical score into lush soundscapes, Linnea further interprets the music into visual color and form on her fresh canvas. The live art that blooms at every BRUSH|REED performance captivates and resonates with the audiences. The paintings that emerge establish a visual memory of the sights, sounds, and emotions of each intimate affair, impressing upon each audience member a feeling of symbiosis between the two disciplines presented to them. Learn more at

Sutasoma: The Tale of a Buddhist Prince

Presented by BU School of Music

Saturday, September 30, 2023

CFA Concert Hall, 855 Commonwealth Ave., Boston

Presented by the BU College of Fine Arts School of Music, the Balinese Shadow Play Music Ensemble at Boston University presents Sutasoma: The Tale of a Buddhist Prince, directed by Associate Professor Brita Heimarck. “We will present an adaptation of this 14th century kakawin (Old Javanese) text from Indonesia. The story follows Buddha, reincarnated as Sutasoma, the son of the King of Hastina. Pious Sutasoma had no desire to marry and become a king, so one night he fled the palace, sought refuge in the forest, and found his way to a monastery in the mountains. Through meditation his spiritual power grew, and many kings urged him to fight a demon king (Purusada or Kalmasapada) who was ravaging the land and killing many people. Nymphs and a god disguised as a goddess tried to tempt Sutasoma into marrying and taking his rightful place as a warrior of peace. But Sutasoma transformed his enemies into disciples seeking the spiritual path. Finally, he agreed to marry the beautiful daughter of King Dasabahu, and he discovered that she too had achieved an exalted level of spiritual insight.”


Fringe in the News

performance photo from Alice Tierney

All the World’s a Stage at 27th Annual CFA Fringe Festivall

A BU Today article features the 2023 Fringe Festival performance lineup, which included an expanded series of opera, theatre, and visual arts events celebrating new and unconventional works

Read More

Opera students in La Hija de Rappaccini as part of Fringe Festival 2022

Curtains Open on 2022 CFA Fringe Festival

Annual showcase of opera and theater pieces includes works-in-progress by BU students. Read more in BU Today!

Read More

performance photo from Proving Up, 2021 Fringe Festival

25th Fringe Festival

A BU Today article features the 25th Fringe Festival performance lineup, which included two operas, Proving Up (music by Missy Mazzoli (BUTI’98, CFA’02), libretto by Royce Vavrek) and The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace (music by Kamala Sankaram, libretto by Rob Handel).

Read More


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