Boston’s Best Fringe Theater

November 8, 2010 2:02 AM

(credit: AP)

For theater newcomers, and even for veterans who rarely venture beyond their subscription packages to Boston’s larger companies, the local fringe theater scene can be difficult to navigate.

It can seem dauntingly geared towards insiders and, without a high-budget publicity machine behind it, difficult to follow. But, these companies consistently do some of the most interesting work in town, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Neophytes will enjoy the ticket prices that are low enough for any budget, and buffs will appreciate the fresh voices and showing their support for these up-and-comers.

Boston has a thriving fringe scene and these picks only represent a small cross section of what’s available. Check with the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston or for more. – Bryce Lambert

whistler Bostons Best Fringe Theater


Whistler in the Dark

Some of the smartest and most human theater in town comes from Whistler in the Dark, whose artistic direction and emotional intensity give life to plays you probably wouldn’t see anywhere else. Intellectual merit and a talented group of regulars make Whistler a full service stop for edgy theater that doesn’t sacrifice pathos for intellectual abstraction.

charlestown Bostons Best Fringe Theater


Charlestown Working Theater

Short runs and eclectic programming mean you’ll have to keep your eyes on CWT’s calendar to catch some of the gems that pass through this small venue near Sullivan Station, which have included a world premiere of a Tennessee Williams play. Look for CWT Co-Directors Jennifer Johnson and John Peitso’s signature production “The Odyssey,” a richly imaginative take on Homer’s epic.

badhabit1 Bostons Best Fringe Theater


Bad Habit Productions

Bad Habit’s diverse repertoire of lively theatrical productions and monthly improv comedy shows shine with the community spirit they pride themselves on. A penchant for comedy, solid casting, and clever technical personnel who do a lot with only a little, make Bad Habit a go-to for an evening of smart laughs.

bu Bostons Best Fringe Theater


Boston Theater Marathon

Each May, the Boston Playwrights’ Theater puts on a ten-hour charity marathon of fifty ten-minute plays, each by a different area playwright and acting company. The audience is free to come and go throughout the day, though the hours usually fly by in this always smoothly produced event that provides an indispensable yearly sampling of local fringe companies, actors, and playwrights.

Bryce Lambert blogs on the Boston arts scene at, offering the occasional review and commentary on local shows, concerts, and art exhibitions.