St. Lou Fringe

St. Lou Fringe Festival is back for a fifth year, running Aug. 19-27 in Grand Center, and features everything “avant-garde, independent and brand-new” that “you wouldn’t see in other theaters here in St. Louis,” said Matthew Kerns, the festival’s new executive director.

This year’s Fringe features acts from Colorado, Nashville, as well as those native to St. Louis. All the acts are one hour or under.

Participants enjoy being part of the 2015 "Act Your Pants Off' St. Lou Fringe event.
Allan Crain

Five-year-olds are known for their openness to new experiences and their steady growth. In its fifth year, the St. Lou Fringe festival is no different.

As the Fringe gears up for 2016, it’s adding new events and positioning itself as a five-month-long series rather than a nine-day festival.

Promotional photo for "House"
Joe Hanrahan

What’s it like to have a mother whose seven-foot-tongue slices your arm (eight stitches!) and a wife who greets your boss in thigh-high boots and consistently claims she's on the phone with "nobody?"

St. Lou Fringe Festival Left, Em Piro; Middle, Alicen Moser; Right, Joe Hanrahan
Alex Heuer

Four years ago, St. Lou Fringe set out on a “passion project” to create an event that provided a networking platform for emerging artists to gain exposure. The project became known as the “St. Lou Fringe Festival,” which includes 10 days of performances from a diverse variety of art forms, including slam poetry, magic, fashion design and street performance. The overall goal of the organization is to promote St. Louis as a “hotspot for cultural and economic vitality” through arts culture.

John Skaggs

It might seem odd to use the word tradition in connection with a festival as independently-minded as the St. Lou Fringe, but with the first fringe festival held some 60 years ago, St. Louis is indeed following in the tradition of Edinburgh, Scotland and hundreds of other cities in hosting its own Fringe. The festival is dedicated to providing performing opportunities to an eclectic group of artists, and making those performances accessible to a wide-range of people.

photo of Em Piro
Courtesy of Em Piro

If you or your group is seeking a spot in St. Louis' 2014 Fringe Festival of performing arts, you’d better have your fingers on the keyboard Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. sharp.

Last year, available slots for online submissions filled up in less than two seconds, according to Fringe founder Em Piro.

(Courtesy: St. Lou Fringe)

The St. Lou Fringe Festival debuted last year and is back for a five day festival this month which takes place at performance spaces throughout Midtown.

Em Piro, founder and executive director of St. Lou Fringe told Cityscape host Steve Potter, “the fringe model has been used worldwide for over 60 years and it was a really exciting opportunity to bring it here to St. Louis.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Pity the driver at the intersection of Grand and Washington boulevards on a Saturday night. As crowds flock to and from the Fox Theatre’s national acts, Powell Hall’s St. Louis Symphony and other venues and galleries, traffic must yield to the arts, the grand institutions of Midtown.

But a few blocks from that intersection, backstage and on the fringes, the grassroots of independent artists and small organizations are taking hold.