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Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you’re joining us for the very first time or often see our work, we want to make sure you have all of the information you need in order to most enjoy your audience experience. As we usher in our 24th annual Fringe Festival with an almost entirely digital format, here are the answers to some of the big questions you may be asking, as well as overviews of popular platforms you will experience during the Festival. If your question isn’t listed here, we want you to ask it! Reach out to our Patron Services team at patronservices@fringearts.com or 215-413-1318 and they can point you in the right direction.

What changes is FringeArts making in response to COVID-19? How are you keeping your artists and audiences safe?

FringeArts continues to work closely and diligently with City of Philadelphia officials on the most up to date regulations and recommendations for public gatherings. We are monitoring news reports daily and continually reassessing if shows that take place out of doors can still be presented. Please note: all events that are not digital are subject to change at any time pending public health recommendations. 

How does my virtual ticket work?

When you purchase a ticket to a virtual event you will get a confirmation email – hang on to this email! It contains your specialized link to the event. At the time of the event, click the link in the email – if you click the link a few minutes before the event starts, you’ll see a countdown screen. Once the event has started, you will click a Launch link and be redirected to the site of the performance – Zoom, YouTube, or whatever else. You won’t be able to share the link from your virtual ticket – it is just for you.

I’m attending an outdoor event. What should I expect?

All artists are required to follow current Philadelphia and Pennsylvania regulations in regards to outdoor performances. It is an expectation of both artists and audiences that these outdoor experiences will wear masks and will keep socially distant (at least 6 feet away from people who are not in your immediate household).

What are all these websites? Zoom? Vimeo? Instagram? I’m lost.

We hear you! We don’t want you to need extensive digital knowledge to participate in this year’s Fringe Festival so we’ve prepared some how-to guides below for the most common online platforms. If you have a specific question about these platforms or you’re interested in a show using a different platform, you can contact our Patron Services team at 215-413-1318.

What kind of ticket discounts do you offer?

There are a number of discounts for our tickets that are available on a regular basis, but with this year’s Festival, many shows are free, low cost or donation based. If you are a FringeArts member, you still get a 20% off discount on tickets over $15 as part of your membership. We also offer a FringeACCESS membership at FringeArts – eligible to those who have a Pennsylvania or Philadelphia ACCESS card. This membership gets you up to four (4) $2 tickets to any of our curated programming.

Where do I go to learn more about a presented artist and their work?

There will always be introductory information to read through on our show event pages, which will not only include helpful information about ticketing and timing, but will include links to press and pages about the artist’s work. If you want to learn more you can explore the “Go Deeper” section of our website. There you will find our podcast, Happy Hour on the Fringe, where we have a drink with artists, community partners, and other Philadelphia talent about their work. You can also find our blog, where our staff and guest writers share insider looks at our upcoming programming and happenings. You will also find our Digital Playbills in this section, which include artist info, collaborator bios, contextual information and events, and anything else you might need to know about the show.

I want to rent your space. How do I do that?

If you want to rent our theater for an event, you will contact our Patron Services Manager, Mary Menchel at MaryM@FringeArts.com. If you want to rent La Peg for an event, you will contact them directly at Info@LaPegBrasserie.com. If you want to rent both our space AND La Peg’s space, contact MaryM@FringeArts.com. Please note that there are different rates per space.

You guys are awesome. I work for a company that wants to sponsor your festivals. Who should I talk to about that?

To chat with our Development team about sponsorship opportunities, you can reach out to our Individual Giving Manager, Jennifer Shorstein at Jenn@FringeArts.com or visit this link to our sponsorship page on our website.

How-To Guides for Digital Platforms

Zoom

Zoom is a video-conferencing platform that allows you to video chat with many people simultaneously. You can use Zoom on any device that connects to the internet – a computer, tablet or smartphone. Zoom uses a large amount of bandwidth, so try to use the best internet connection available. If you don’t have a quiet place to join the Zoom meeting, use headphones so that you will be able to hear better and avoid ambient noise.

Start by downloading the Zoom application here – for a laptop you’ll want to use the very first download link on that page. For a phone or tablet scroll down to “Zoom mobile apps.” It’s helpful to have Zoom already downloaded before you head to attend a Zoom event, because the download will take a couple of minutes.

When you click a link to join a Zoom event, you will be prompted to open the Zoom app. When you do, you might be asked to enter the meeting ID, which can be found with your link, and your name. The name you enter here will appear next to your video and can be seen by everyone else in the Zoom call (performers and audience members). If you’re not happy with the name that is displayed, just right click it and select “rename,” then type whatever you’d like to be seen as.

When you join a Zoom event, the first thing you will see will probably be a waiting room, or a window with text saying something like “Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon.” Don’t worry! All Zoom performances will have team members specifically dedicated to monitoring the waiting room, so you will not get stuck on this screen forever. 

When the host lets you into the meeting, a pop-up will prompt you to “Join with computer audio.” If your computer doesn’t have speakers or a microphone, there will also be an option to join with your phone’s audio by calling a phone number, which will be listed on that pop-up window.

When you’ve joined the meeting you might see many small boxes on your screen containing the video streams of other participants, or you might see one big box containing a performer, and some small boxes to the side. Sometimes, a performer will share their screen, so you will see something that is happening on their computer. If you want to change your view to see more or less people, you can switch between gallery view and speaker view in the top right corner. Gallery view will show you small boxes of everyone in the call, and speaker view will show you a large box of whoever is speaking. If you always want to see a large view of one specific participant, you can right click their video box, and select “pin video.”

When you’ve joined a meeting you will want to mute yourself by clicking the microphone icon labeled “mute” in the bottom left corner of your screen. This is important so that ambient noise from wherever you are watching does not interfere with the performance. If the performance is interactive and you would like to speak, you can unmute yourself by clicking the same button, or you can press and hold your space bar while you speak. At some performances, artists may be able to mute and unmute you, but at other performances you will need to do it yourself. You can also turn your video on and off with the camera icon next to the mute button.

There are a couple functions you may want to use during a performance. The chat function allows you to send a message to everyone participating in the call. To see the chat, select the speech bubble icon labeled “chat” in the bottom of your screen. A chat window will pop up, and you can read messages or send them by typing into the field at the bottom. If you don’t want to see the chat window anymore, you can close it at any time. The chat function will mostly be used for interactive performances. Another function is reactions. If you select the smiley face icon at the bottom of your screen, you can choose either a thumbs up or an emoji of clapping hands. If you click these pictures, they will appear on top of your video. They are a way to show reactions without speaking.

When you’re ready to leave a Zoom meeting, select the red “leave” button in the bottom right of your screen. You will be prompted to click “leave meeting” one or two more times, and then the meeting will end.

If you’d like to learn more about Zoom, they offer many video tutorials as well as daily live training webinars. You can also join a test meeting to get a sense of what the meeting will look like and check your audio connection.

YouTube

To access a YouTube video, you will simply click the link either on the FringeArts website or inside your virtual ticket. You will then be directed to YouTube and will see the video. You do not need to download anything, because YouTube is a website that you can load on your browser. For videos that are pre-recorded, you can press pause and play as much as you like, by clicking on the video, clicking the play or pause icon in the bottom left corner of the video, or pressing your space bar. For YouTube live videos, do not press pause as the content is happening in real time.

When you click on a YouTube video you will see a medium-sized box containing that video, as well as a description of the video, other videos YouTube recommends for you, the YouTube icon, and a search bar. If you would like to make the video full screen, you can press the rectangle icon in the bottom right corner of the video.

Some YouTube live videos will have a chat function. It will appear to the right of the video. You can only participate in the chat if you have a YouTube account. The chat will not appear in full screen mode. When you send messages in the chat, everyone else watching the YouTube video can see them. The artist who is performing probably cannot see your chat messages. YouTube videos also have a comments section. If you have a YouTube account you can leave a comment, which can be seen by anyone who has the link to the YouTube video. The creator of the video can also see your comment. 

Some YouTube videos have the option to turn on closed captioning, by pressing the “CC” icon on the bottom of the screen.

For more information about how to create a YouTube account, check out this tutorial. You don’t need an account to watch videos, only to make comments or send chat messages.

Vimeo

To access a Vimeo video or stream, you will simply click the link either on the FringeArts website or inside your virtual ticket. You will then be directed to Vimeo and will see the video. You do not need to download anything, because Vimeo is a website that you can load on your browser. For videos that are pre-recorded, you can press pause and play as much as you like, by clicking on the video, clicking the play or pause icon in the bottom left corner of the video, or pressing your space bar. For Vimeo live videos, do not press pause as the content is happening in real time.

When you click on a Vimeo link you may see a large box containing the video, or a medium-sized box containing the video, as well as a description of the video, other videos Vimeo recommends for you, the Vimeo icon, and a search bar. If you would like to make the video full screen, you can press the icon with 4 arrows pointing outward in the bottom right corner of the video.

Facebook Live

You can watch a Facebook Live video with or without a Facebook account. When you click the link for the live video you will be brought to the FringeArts Facebook page or the Facebook page of the artist who is streaming, and you will be able to hit play on the live streaming video.

If you have a Facebook account, you can leave comments on the live video that everyone watching the video will be able to see. You can also use reactions on Facebook, like the “like” (thumbs up) or “love” (heart), as well as others. When you click on these pictures they will show to everyone watching the video. You may see reactions on the video from other audience members as you watch.

If you make the Facebook video full screen, you will not see comments or reactions.

Instagram Live

To watch an Instagram live video you can use the Instagram app on a phone or tablet, or instagram.com on a computer. You will need an Instagram account in order to access the video. You can either make an Instagram account using your Facebook account, or using a phone number or email address.

The Instagram account for the live video will be linked on the FringeArts website. When you go to the Instagram account you will see the artist’s profile. A circle on their profile will contain the word “LIVE.” Click on this circle to tune into the live video.

When you click on the live video you will see the video as well as comments and reactions from viewers. You can leave a comment which all viewers will see, or hit the heart reaction button, which will cause everyone to see a heart.

Twitch

When you click the link to the Twitch stream, you will see the live stream playing on your computer. You do not need to download anything because Twitch is a website that runs through your browser.

Underneath the video you will see a description of the live stream, as well as the artist’s profile on Twitch. You may see a chat window next to the live stream. Everyone else watching can see  these chat messages. To send chat messages, you need to have a Twitch account. You can make an account with your email address by clicking “sign up” in the top right corner of the screen. If you would like to make an account in advance of the performance, visit twitch.tv and click “sign up” in the top right corner.

If you would like to make the live stream full screen you can click the rectangle icon in the bottom right corner of the video or press “f” on your keyboard. When the video is full screen you will not see the chat.

Discord

Discord is a platform for text and video chat. It is a website that you can run through your browser. You can also download Discord here if you would prefer to use the application on your computer, phone or tablet.

You will need an account in order to use Discord. You can sign up here.

For the performance, you will be invited to join a Discord server. This is like a chat room. Only the artists and audience members will have access to this specific server. When you join the server you will be able to chat and see messages from other users.

Navigating the 2020 Fringe Festival

Have questions about digital works and how to experience this year's Festival? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions and How-To Guides for different digital platforms.

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