Chicago Fringe Steps Into High Gear
by Carrie L. Kaufmann
The trickles of talk about the first annual Chicago Fringe Festival exploded this week, and Sarah Mikayla Brown is a little blown away by it.
Brown, the executive producer who conceived of the Chicago version of a fringe fest last year after performing at the Minnesota Fringe Fest, thinks that the combination of 45 performance groups sending out press releases and e-mails to their constituents has coalesced into a “fervor and energy” that has created a groundswell of curiousity.
But she thinks her fest will live up to the hype. And, she adds, while it’s modeled on other U.S. and Canadian festivals, there is something about this one that is uniquely Chicago.
“It really reminds me of a neighborhood festival, translated through the lens of a performance festival,” says Brown.
The Chicago Fringe Festival will run September 1-5 at eight different venues in Pilsen. Brown says they’re all walkable, though it might take up to 20 minutes to go between the two most distant spots. And it’s not just about theatre. It’s about the atmosphere. It’s about community. She stressed that theatre people are welcome to party at “Fringe Central” at 1714 S. Racine anytime after 10 p.m., whether or not they’ve seen a show.
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