Matthew Kerns | St. Louis Public Radio

Matthew Kerns

Playwright Shannon Geier (at left) is headlining the 2019 St. Lou Fringe Festival with her play "Check In." Matthew Kerns is the executive director of the festival.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

To describe the St. Lou Fringe Festival as a theater event is something of a misnomer. There are plenty of actors, playwrights and other theater professsionals involved in the annual six-day-long extravaganza that gets underway this Tuesday. But there are also poets, dancers, performance artists, sculptors, burlesque performers and improv acts.

This year’s offerings also run the gamut with pieces by established and experienced playwrights as well as emerging artists and previously untested work. That’s by design, according to organizer Matthew Kerns.

“The idea of a fringe festival is that it is uncensored and unjuried,” the executive director of the festival told St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske on Monday’s show. “We offer opportunity where opportunity is not given anywhere else in this region. So if you have a piece of work that you are passionate about that is very experimental, we are the place for that to be done.”

Madelyn Boyne, Matthew Kerns and Omega Jones are involved in the 2018 St. Lou Fringe Fest.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“You can kind of do whatever you want, and it’s still art, it’s just not what people would see as mainstream,” actor Omega Jones said about the 2018 St. Lou Fringe Festival on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

The festival brings together independent performing arts such as theatre, dance, storytelling, burlesque, visual art and more for a 10-day event beginning Wednesday, Aug. 15. Host Don Marsh discussed the upcoming event with Jones, Madelyn Boyne, managing director of the company Whale of the People, and Matthew Kerns, executive director of the festival.

Dan Viggers' Fringe play "Liberals vs Zombies vs Conservatives" traps people of opposing political persuasions in a house with zombies.
Provided | St. Lou Fringe

The 2017 St Lou Fringe festival of performing arts opens Thursday with a new menu of choices. For example, paying for one show will get you a free “Meatball” on the side.

“Meatball Séance,” to be exact. That’s the name of one of two dozen non-highlighted productions this year. When you buy a ticket to one of the three main performances — “A Song for Vanya,” “Snow White” and Ashleyliane Dance Company’s “Evolution” — you get a voucher for “Meatball” or other non-headliners including “Liberals vs Zombies vs Conservatives,” one of two zombie-themed shows this year.