Step Right Up, One and All! Wonders Never Before Seen Await You at The 14th Annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival

CFF17 logo

Know Theatre has something for everyone at the region’s largest and longest annual arts festival — that’s Kinda weird. Like you! Featuring hundreds of live performances, visual art experiences, Family Friendly offerings, nightly after-parties, and everything between, this year’s 14th Annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival (May 30-June 11, 2017) endeavors to engage more artists and audience members than ever before — and in brand new ways!

Work on the 2017 Cincy Fringe began last summer as we overhauled integral aspects of the festival in an effort to create the best experience for audience and artists alike. This year’s Festival implements a 60 minute limit for performances, which allowed us to create a schedule featuring standardized start times. Along with other advancements, we’re now able to optimize the patron experience in a number of ways:

  • Patrons are guaranteed the ability to see at least 3 Performances Fringe shows every day. Think you’ve seen a lot of Fringe before? Think. Again.
  • Audiences now have at least 15 minutes to travel to their next performance, eliminating the need to run in a full-out, flush-inducing sprint to make it in time. Save your breath for all the post-show hooting and hollering!
  • A sponsorship from OTRimprov allows us to interconnect all venue box offices, so there will no longer be cut-off times for patrons purchasing tickets online.
  • BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! Literally, more Fringe! We’ve extended the Festival to 13 Days, with Sunday, June 11th set aside for Encore performances from the 6 Pick of the Fringe winners (if available), who will be announced — along with performance times — at 10:30pm on Saturday, June 10th. 

NOTE: Admission to Encore performances will be guaranteed by Single Ticket purchase only. More information available below. 

There wouldn’t be anything for patrons to enjoy, of course, without the involvement of hundreds of local, national, and international artists. And this year we’re working with more than ever before. From a record-high 111 applications, open submissions, and numerous artistic partnerships, Cincy Fringe has gathered together: 

  • 50 Performance Fringe productions (including 3 FringeNext shows, a FringeDevelopment project, and several Special Events) to entertain at 13 venues across Over-the-Rhine.
  • Numerous Visual Fringe art galleries, works, and projects from local artists, including Higher Level Art, Mikki Schaffner, Dan R. Winters, Cal Harris and YOU!
  • A brand new street performance component of the Festival, Fringe on the Streets, a collaboration with Art on the Streets, a local organization that encourages art in public places to help make our communities unique, exciting, and fun.

After taking in all that creativity, patrons can end each day back at Know Theatre’s Underground with the traditional Fringe Bar Series, which features nightly themes and events that provide opportunities for artists, patrons, staff, and volunteers to grab a drink, mingle, have fun, and make some sweet Fringe memories. 

You can find more details about each component of the Festival below.

“Welcome to a brand new version of the same ol’ Fringe,” says Know Theatre’s Fringe Producer, Chris Wesselman. “Some of this year’s changes have been years in the making, others are brand new concepts we’re trying for the first time as the Festival continues to grow and evolve; but, it’s all in the interest of ensuring Fringe continues to be a vibrant and welcoming experience for all of Cincinnati’s extraordinary artists and patrons. We’re incredibly fortunate to have such an energized arts community in our region and Fringe exists so everyone can come together and bask in the marvelous amount of expression, creativity, and acceptance generated here, and share our passions with visiting artists from around the world.” 


The backbone of Cincy Fringe since its inception, Performance Fringe is comprised of all the venue-specific live entertainment offered over the course of the Festival.

This year’s venues include: Know Theatre, Art Academy of Cincinnati (home to 3 venues), Memorial Hall (home to 2 venues), Over-the-Rhine Community Church, Coffee Emporium, 1201 Main Street (an Urban Sites property), The Mini Microcinema, MOTR Pub, The Woodward Theatre, and Gabriel’s Corner (at Salem United Church of Christ).

This year’s Performance Fringe lineup was curated with the help of a 37-member jury comprised of local theatre professionals and educators:

Alice Flanders, Alyssa Michaud, Andrew Hungerford, Andrew Ian Adams, Betsy Shank, Burgess Byrd, Buz Davis, Cal Harris, Chris Wesselman, Daniel Winters, Darnell Pierre Benjamin, Dave Levy, Derek SnowDylan Shelton, Eric Vosmeier, Heather Britt, John Bromels, Josh Steele, Julie Engebrecht, Justin McCombs, Kim Popa, Lissa GapultosLynn Meyers, Maggie Lou Rader, Mia Vera, Mike Flohr, Mike Sherman, Miranda McGee, Patrick Phillips, Piper Davis, Rebecca Bowman-Bromels, Regina Pugh, Richard Hess, Shannon Rae Lutz, Tamara WintersTed Weil, and Torie Wiggins.

As one of the few Fringes that adjudicates submissions, our jury is essential in providing feedback regarding themes, disciplines, genres, and more, to help ensure the Fringe contains as balanced and diverse a selection of offerings as possible. 

Performance Fringe is divided into the Primary Lineup (which includes FringeNext productions), FringeDevelopment, and Special Events:

Primary Lineup Details

This year’s Primary Lineup totals 41 productions and features 21 local shows, 19 from across the country, and 1 international participant from Liverpool, UK.

Just over 50% of shows are from groups or artists new to producing at Cincy Fringe, with 26 productions joining us for the very first time.

Speaking of firsts, 2017 will also mark only time we’ve ever included an out-of-town FringeNext production. Started in 2011, FringeNext provides the opportunity for high school-aged artists to submit to the Festival, and this year we selected 3 productions to join the Primary Lineup and get a taste of theatre-ing as adults. Our two locally-based FringeNext productions (affiliated with Notre Dame Academy and Highlands High School) are joined by a production populated with students from in and around Lexington, KY (SCAPA Lafayette High School, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, and STEAM Academy).

FringeDevelopment Details

Fringe provides a unique opportunity to tap into a creative energy found at no other time in the region. Every year we feature a production that is workshopped during the Festival and then given a single ticketed performance. This year’s Development production, If a Tree Falls, comes from local playwright Robert Macke.

Along with that production, FringeDevelopment will also offer a variety of Master Classes led by Festival artists, for both the general public and artists only. Information on available public classes will be listed in the Fringe Guide, issued in mid-May.

Special Events Details

Over the course of Fringe we offer a variety of events that exist outside of the Primary Lineup. These are often venue-specific events or productions that don’t meet the criteria of the Primary Lineup for one reason or another.

Seasoned Fringers OTRimprov will appear both at Kick Off on 5/30/17 at Know Theatre and at an Improv Festival of Cincinnati preview event on 6/5 at The Woodward Theatre, the latter of which will feature talents from across Cincinnati’s burgeoning Improv community.

Speaking of which, we’ll also offer a presentation of Comedy Sportz, the newest addition to Cincinnati’s improv scene, which features competitive comedy improv for everyone.

5/30’s Fringe Kick Off will also feature a multi-sensory musical performance developed with Covington-based band Common Center, who will perform from within Jackson Street’s natural amplifier, The Gateway Garage. 

The music continues later on in Fringe as Cincinnati-based band The Infinity Ball presents a performance of their concept album/pop-opera Saturday Night on Tuesday, 6/6 at The Woodward Theatre.

Returning once again is the perennial storytelling presentation from True Theatre, trueFRINGE, which will offer true tales from 5 Festival artists on Thursday, 6/8 at Know Theatre.

Capping off this year’s Special Event offerings is Two Truths: Notes from a Cinematographer, a collaboration between The Carnegie, Chase Public, and The Mini Microcinema featured at The Mini Microcinema on Main Street during select days throughout the Festival.

See full details on all Performance Fringe productions at the end of this release.


Cincy Fringe is more than just live performance. Every year we explore new ways to involve the large amount of visual artists in the city through Visual Fringe, which features a series of projects, galleries, and works presented across the Festival footprint.

Project Title: 2017 Fringe Murals
From: Higher Level Art
10-word Description: Mini-murals abound on various vehicles.
Full Description: For every year of the past decade, Higher Level Art has adorned a side of Know Theatre with one of their stunning mural projects. After the installation of last year’s permanent mural on the south wall, fears were immediately expressed over the assumed end of the north wall’s cherished “Looking Good” mural in 2017. Well, fear not, “Looking Good” lovers. This year, Higher Level Art will be tackling a handful of smaller mural projects on vehicles belonging to local businesses and Festival staff members. Patrons will be able to get right up in the face of artistic creation as artists tackle these projects in the Fringe ARTing Lot on the north side of Know Theatre.
Artist/Company Biography: Higher Level Art is a company that specializes in murals, signs, and a variety of exclusive custom projects. The Higher Level Art team is a group of creative, well rounded artists and craftsmen. Our artists have a wide range of skills and experiences that enable our team to adapt to various client requests.

Project Title: Fringe Faces
From: Dan R. Winters Photography
10-word Description: Portable photobooth to capture Fringe portraits of Festival-goers.
Full Description: Fringe Faces features a portable photo booth that will appear during specific Fringe events. Patrons can have their portrait taken by Dan Winters in no more than 5 minutes and a collection of the best photos will appear in a digital display at Fringe Headquarters, as well as online, as the Festival goes on. Fringe Faces captures the frantic joy of Fringe while keeping up with its frantic pace.
Artist/Company Biography: Dan Winters is an art photographer who specializes in abstract images of everyday life, nudes, experimental nature images and more.

Project Title: II bear [Ed. Note: pronounced “to bear”]
From: Noelle Wedig-Johnston and Brandon Johnston
10-word Description: Refugee Crisis larger than life and in your face.
Full Description: Approaching the refugee crisis with large wearable sculptures: Confrontational, imposing, yet approachable through suggestive interaction. As They become less threatening and more humanized, they bring about challenges to the viewer’s’ initial perceptions. II bear will be a featured as a co-component of Visual Fringe and Fringe on the Streets.
Artist/Company Biography: Noelle and Brandon met in art school and kept in touch over the years by following each other’s art. Joint projects followed and they were joined in marriage July 2016. They continue they collaborate artistically in many mediums and at a variety of venues.

Project Title: Tiny Tarbells
From: Mikki Schaffner and Olivia Leigh
10-word Description: This year’s Fringe image outtakes get arted on.
Full Description: Mikki Schaffner supplied us with a plethora of amazing photos during our shoot for this year’s Fringe marketing materials with local celebrity Jim Tarbell. We asked Jim to pantomime several actions and then had local artist Olivia Leigh doodle in what he was doing. The resulting images will be featured throughout this year’s festival decor and will also receive a gallery at Fringe Headquarters where folks can bid to take home a Tiny Tarbell of their very own.

Project Title: On the Fence
From: Various Artists, and YOU!
10-word Description: An interactive art installation along the Fringe ARTing Lot fence.
Full Description: Multiple panels will be installed along the fence just south of 12th on Jackson Street, with some featuring original works of art and others featuring games or blank canvas for pedestrians to interact with. Connect the dots, fill in the blank, tell us why you’re Kinda Weird, and more with On the Fence.

Project Title: Cal’s Kinda Weird Art
From: Cal Harris
10-word Description: Cal’s art is kinda weird. LOOK AT IT.
Full Description: Cal Harris’ kinda weird at will be displayed near venue box offices to help provide an appropriate Fringe atmosphere for patrons no matter where they go. YOU CAN’T ESCAPE THE WEIRDNESS DON’T EVEN TRY.
Artist/Company Biography: Cal Harris is very excited to be to be making his Visual Fringe debut. Cal is a graduate of Morehead State University with his B.A. in Theatre and Visual Communications.  At Morehead he starred in several productions such as Chicago, Blood Brothers, How I Learned to Drive, and Learned Ladies.  He has also been a part of Know Theatre, the Jenny Wiley Theatre, Kincaid Regional Theatre, as well as Cincinnati’s Landmark Productions, and the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

Project Title: Sick Beet Stitch
From: Robyn Novak
10-word Description: Showcasing hand embroidery inspired by all things weird and wonderful.
Full Description: Sick Beet Stitch is displaying their favorite embroidery pieces in a collection that reflects Robyn’s turbulent thoughts and feelings of being a 20-something in 2017. This includes reactions to our current political environment, Robyn’s love/hate relationship with pop culture obsessions, and her constant search for clarity as she defines her adulthood.
Artist/Company Biography: Sick Beet Stitch was created one lazy September afternoon in 2014, when I was compelled to stitch a Beyonce lyric. Since then, I’ve designed and stitched 150+ original hand-made pieces of hoop art, selling them through my Etsy store and at various craft shows. I also create commissioned pieces, where customers can request their own personalized stitches; great gifts for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. My designs range in size from 1″-14″ hoops (includes necklace options), and can ship anywhere in the U.S.


At our mammoth-sized sister Fringes across the globe, street performers are a common sight. This year, Fringe has teamed up with Art on the Streets to activate even more of OTR with live public performance during this year’s Festival. We’re taking the artists out of the venues and onto the sidewalks with two components of Fringe on the Streets Programming.

Scheduled Performances
At select times and locations to be listed in the Fringe Guide and our website in mid-May, we’ll present free public performances in an effort to infuse Over-the-Rhine with even more creative energy. Among these performances will be a Family Friendly block of programming and activities over the first weekend of the Festival in the newly dubbed Fringe ARTing Lot, which, by day, is the parking lot located at the 12th and Jackson, north of Know — a space generously donated to us for use during the Festival by our Official Fringe SuperFriends™, ArtsWave and Art Works. More information about these performances TBA.

Open Busking
Art on the Streets’ mission includes the belief that artists shouldn’t need a specific event or organization to entice them to perform publically, so we’re also keeping true to this by also encouraging local artists to take to the streets at any time and anywhere during the Festival and share their talents with the community.


Ever since Know Theatre moved into its current home at 1120 Jackson Street, it’s served as the destination for post-performance drinks and merriment. This year’s Bar Series sees the same blend of traditional programming alongside new themes and events that will provide Festival-goers with a great capper to every night.

Starting off each Bar Series Event is an edition of Fringe’s infotainment mainstay, the Channel Fringe Hard-Hitting Action News Update, where Fringe Producer Chris Wesselman and Know’s Artistic Director Andrew Hungerford fill you in on all the “important” happenings that day alongside guests, friends, and an ever changing cast of characters.

Full Bar Series Lineup:

Tuesday, May 30th
Fringe Kick-Off Party
Doors open at 7:00pm and Fringe officially begins. Channel Fringe starts things off, followed by a fundraising performance from OTRimprov (The Fringe Show: Covenant) and multi-sensory musical performance developed with Covington-based band Common Center.

Wednesday, May 31st
60 Second Previews
It’s the first night of Primary Lineup performances, so at Bar Series we’ll give each production 60 seconds to preview their show for you.

Thursday, June 1st
Calm Before the Storm
Fringe is a marathon, so three days in and we’ll give you a night to take a deep breath and relax with some live background music that won’t disrupt your conversations about the first shows you’ve seen.

Friday, June 2nd
Fringe Olympics
We’ll start off the first weekend of Fringe with a battle of wits, stamina, and weirdness. Teams of artists, patrons, and volunteers compete in various Feats of Fringe to become 2017’s Fringe Olympic Champions.

Saturday, June 3rd
Fringe Prom – Ska-jama Jam
Ska Music + Pajamas = Fringe Prom. Throw on your onesie and start skanking (that’s a form of dancing popular to ska, ska punk, hardcore punk, reggae, jump-up and other similar music scenes and now that we’ve had to explain it this seems really silly).

Sunday, June 4th
Warm up your vocal chords and grab some liquid courage. With costumes and back-up dancers at your disposal, this is Karaoke, Fringe-style.

Monday, June 5th
Everyone’s An Artist Night
Artists get discounted drinks at Fringe, and on this night YOU DO, TOO! Enjoy a $1 off beers, well liquor, and select wines.

Tuesday, June 6th
Craft Cocktails with Molly Wellmann
Cincinnati’s It Mixologist joins us behind the bar to whip up some speciality drinks.

Wednesday, June 7th
Alternative Tunes and Transport
The Garage OTR joins us in the Fringe ARTing Lot to provide lessons on Segway riding while we feature some laid-back live music inside.

Thursday, June 8th
Come cosplay as, well, whatever you want! We’ll be nerd-ing out upstairs with a LIVE game of Dungeons and Dragons if you need us.

Friday, June 9th
We celebrate Cincinnati’s rich German heritage with, what else, a lot of beer. Representatives from local craft breweries join us to present some of their tastiest treats.

Saturday, June 10th
Pick of the Fringe Awards
There are 6 Pick of the Fringe Awards bestowed (Audience Pick, FringeNext Audience Pick, Critics’ Pick, Full Frontal Pass Holders’ Pick, Artists’ Pick, and Producer’s Pick) this night, and we’ll also be announcing times for Sunday’s Fringe Encore Performances!

Sunday, June 11th
Closing Night Party
We’ll give Fringe one last “Hurrah!” before we all go back to the real world on Monday.

Select foods will be available at most Bar Series events by donation or via food truck.


  • 50% of all Box Office revenue is given to the Performance Fringe artists.
  • All passes are currently on sale at or by calling the Know Theatre Box Office at 513-300-5669 between the hours of 11:00am and 6:00pm, Tuesday through Friday, until 5/29/17. Single tickets and
  • During the Festival (5/30-6/11/17), tickets and passes can be purchased online 24 hours a day, over the phone (513-300-5669) from 11:00am to 9:30pm, or at individual venues 30 minutes prior to showtimes.
  • Single tickets to the 2017 Cincy Fringe are $15.
  • The Full Frontal All-Access Pass ($250) is good for one entry into as many productions as one person can see.
  • Our 6-ticket Voyeur Pass ($75) can be used in any combination of shows or individuals.
  • Ticket sales for Sunday, June 11th’s Encore performances are currently scheduled to begin at 10:30pm on Saturday, June 10th. Until the venue box office opens thirty minutes prior to showtime on Sunday, reservations will only be available for via $15 Single Ticket purchases. At the time the venue box office opens on Sunday, any unsold tickets will be issued to any present passholders in an orderly fashion. More details about Encore performance ticketing will be available in the Fringe Guide and on on May 17th.


Following is a detailed list of all the productions set to appear at the 14th Annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Details of the line-up are subject to change. Please visit or see the Official Fringe Guide (available May 17th) for the most up to date information.


Show Title: 8×10
Group Name: Solitary Project
From: Brooklyn, NY
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Drama, Political Themes, Social Justice)
Rating: R (Violence, Adult Language)
10-word Description: A one-man show about the effects of solitary confinement.
Story for the Press: 8×10 started when Paul Adolphsen and Jared Culverhouse visited a Johannesburg prison where anti-apartheid activists were once held in solitary confinement. Struck by the stories of this prison, Jared and Paul committed to creating a piece illuminating the realities of solitary confinement in the U.S.
Full Description: Imagine you’re locked inside an 8”x10” room twenty-three hours a day. You’re allowed to exercise for one hour a day in a small chain-link cage. You haven’t touched another person in decades. You don’t know when you’re getting out. This is the reality of solitary confinement in the U.S. An intimate and harrowing experience, 8×10 tells the story of one man’s path to solitary, and illuminates his fight against the invisibility he experiences there.
Artist/Company Biography: The Solitary Project combines the personal passions and artistic obsessions of collaborators Paul Adolphsen (dramaturgy), Jared Culverhouse (directing), and James Savage (performance). Adolphsen is a dramaturg, educator, and writer with an MFA in dramaturgy from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He’s worked as a dramaturg at Book-It Repertory Theatre (Seattle, WA) and Arena Stage (Washington, DC) among others, and recently completed a Fulbright grant in Cape Town, South Africa. Culverhouse is a New York-based director and actor with an MFA in directing from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He teaches at the New York Film Academy. James Savage is an Ohio-born, NYC-based actor with an MFA in Acting from The Pennsylvania State University. He teaches at the New York Film Academy and The New School and has acted in NYC and Regionally. 

Show Title: Anonymous
Group Name: T[HERE]
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Dance (Dance, Play w/ Music, Storytelling)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Faceless strangers. True stories. Compelling works of art.
Story for the Press: When I set out to develop T[HERE], a professor told me I should stop trying to change the world and stick to drawing pictures. But T[HERE] isn’t about changing the world. It’s about blending honesty and creativity to give a voice to stories that deserve to be heard.
Full Description: Anonymous uses the language of dance, poetry, and original music to explore challenges of identity and belonging in a city where it’s too easy to remain unseen. Directed and choreographed by Mandie Reiber with a script devised from hundreds of nameless letters written by citizens of Over-the-Rhine, Anonymous creates an honest, intimate window into the challenges and victories that make up this city.
Artist/Company Biography: T[HERE] began when Art Academy of Cincinnati student Mandie Reiber set out into the streets of OTR to interview people about their challenges. Over the course of a year, those anonymous stories evolved into an hour-long performance stuffed with dance, poetry, and original music. The performance, entitled “T[HERE],” was presented at AAC in 2016 as Mandie Reiber’s thesis exhibition. The production was awarded the Stephen H. Wilder Traveling Scholarship from AAC and proceeded to perform at SOS Art Festival and on the streets of Rochester, NY. The next installment in the project, “The Devil Made Me Do It,” performed at Contemporary Dance Theater in November 2016 and focused on depression and suicide. Every production is devised from true stories collected from citizens of OTR. T[HERE] is passionate about using art as a language to tell stories that don’t have voices.

Show Title: Balls of Yarns
Group Name: Paul Strickland Presents
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Comedy, Play w/ Music, Storytelling)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A weird-larious one-man musical adventure. Songs! Yarns! Balls!
Story for the Press: This will be the first time I’ve returned to writing in the “solo show” form since “Papa Squat” in 2014. There will be a few voice-over cameos from local beloved actors you should keep an ear out for. Also, my creaking bathroom door has several very important and moving lines.
Full Description: 4-time Best of Fest Winner Paul Strickland’s new hilarious one-man musical adventure! David Lynch meets The Wizard of Oz. Songs! Yarns! Balls! In a strange town where creaky doors sing with you, libraries are separate from truth-braries, and extraordinary stories are shared through yarn and tin can, an ominous lurking evil has threatened to make things normal. NOT ON PAUL STRICKLAND’S WATCH. Jokes! More Yarns! Again, Balls!
Artist/Company Biography: Paul Strickland is a professional writer, performer, and musician.  In 2016 the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) called Paul’s play “Papa Squat” a 5 Star “minor miracle” and he won “Best of Fest” at Calgary Fringe.  His play “My Left Teeth,” which he also directed, was listed as one of Cincinnati Enquirer’s Theater Top Ten of 2016.  He lives and works with his partner in art and life, Erika Kate MacDonald, in a script, sheet-music and shadow puppet strewn apartment in Covington, KY.

Show Title:  bed (a fever dream)
Group Name: Performance Gallery
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre (Comedy, Physical Theatre, Political Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Unique, funny, surreal theatre exploring the world of our beds.
Story for the Press: We are immensely proud to have earned a spot in every Cincy Fringe since its beginning but, this year, we are challenging ourselves to surprise and delight our fans in new ways. We are exploring new techniques and new ways to collaborate. We can’t wait to share this year’s creation.
Full Description: Sex or sickness? Laziness or comfort? Messy or well made? What does “bed” mean to you? You were probably born in bed and might be destined to die there. If you are lucky, you will sleep in one tonight. Beds are a strange mixture of comfort, pleasure, vulnerability and pain. We live there in dreams or nightmares. Join us for this theatrical exploration in words and movement of this mysterious and intimate place – our bed.
Artist/Company Biography: Performance Gallery is a Cincinnati-based collaborative of theatre artists who come together on no set schedule (but mostly at Fringe time) to produce and promote challenging works of theatre, usually written within the company or devised in rehearsal. We are often outlandish, sometimes profound and strive to be unpredictable. We were founded in 2002 and for a company that rarely produces more than once or twice a year, we have quite a devoted fan-base and are proud to be the only group to have participated in Cincinnati Fringe since its beginning.

Show Title: Busted Bumpers and Other Metaphors
Group Name: Alexx Rouse
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Dramaedy, Storytelling)
Rating:  PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A non-whiny solo show for anyone with a dad.
Story for the Press: My dad would encourage me to write a one woman show about us from the time I was fourteen. It began one day on the way to school, just mentioning that “we should write some of this stuff down.” So I did. And seeing it come together is unbelievable.
Full Description: We all have those friends who tell us every detail about their lives. That person isn’t usually your father. Told in entries taking place on the car rides to school Busted Bumpers and Other Metaphors is a heartfelt, funny one woman show about what it’s like to realize that maybe your perfect nuclear family isn’t exactly all it’s cracked up to be. So hop in the car with Alexx. There’s White Castle in here.
Artist/Company Biography: Alexx Rouse has been a Fringe fan since she was seventeen and is thrilled to make her (kind of?) Fringe debut. A recent graduate from NKU with a BFA in playwriting, some of her credits include her first full length play The Trouble with Boys that debuted at NKU, 25 Sweet Potatoes at Show Us Your Weird, and her Serials collaborations with Andy Simpson to write #roxybalboa and with Robert Macke to write A Rolling Stone Gathers No Loss. Alexx also travels to Sri Lanka every summer to teach a theatre based ESL program begun by her and Dr. Daryl Harris at the Sri Lankan International Buddhist Academy. It’s also entirely possible that you saw the VERY first play she ever wrote You Will Have 25 Minutes when it debuted at FringeNext 2012. If you didn’t catch that one, don’t worry. Her new one is way better.

Show Title: FloatBriliiance
Group Name: dropshift dance
From: Chicago, IL
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Dance (Dance, Women’s Themes)
Rating: Family Friendly (This production features no foul language, violence, suggestive or adult situations of any kind and may actually be geared specifically towards children.)
10-word Description: An immersive dance experienced through vibrant and evocative imagery.
Story for the Press: This show was built from many hours in the studio with four women sharing stories of support, embodiment, and empowerment. These stories have been woven into the abstract performance world of FloatBrilliance and work to create a sisterhood amongst the work’s all female cast.
Full Description: FloatBrilliance explores honest physicality, how we embody fulfillment, and sense being whole. Movers combine in duet, trio, and quartet sequences to explore timelessness, a soft sternum and heart, and quirky gestural conversations between bodies. The work is performed with a dynamic tapestry of folk-inspired acoustic instrumentals, lo-fi electronica, and environmental sounds that place the artwork within its own germination.
Artist/Company Biography: dropshift dance is a provocative, inquisitive and authoritative investigator of movement. Conceived through a collaborative incubation laboratory of movement, sound, and visual installation, the work engages audience with dialogue, choice and experimental practice. DSD works through a rigorous process of studio investigation to create work that energizes the space and creates an alternate world for the performer and viewer. Using specific directives of quality, imagery, and trajectory DSD creates movement environments that allow the viewer an opportunity to connect and engage with what is abstract by layering the physical experience with one that is human and authentic.

Show Title: Gen and Mabel
Group Name: Caps Lock Theatre
From: New York, NY
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre (Dramaedy, LGBTQ Themes, Women’s Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Two women trying to fall in love – and failing.
Story for the Press: This is playwright Leta Tremblay’s first full-length play! Usually, Mariah writes plays and Leta directs them. With Gen & Mabel, for the first time, they will be switching hats. After Mariah fell so in love with Cincy Fringe last year, she encouraged Leta to submit this year. Leta said yes!
Full Description: From last year’s Producer’s Pick Award winner comes a heartbreaking queer dramedy! Gen and Mabel like each other. A whole lot. So why can’t this relationship seem to get off the ground? As they try to shortcut their way to intimacy by baring their souls to each other, they break each other’s hearts repeatedly in tiny, devastating ways – and then come back together. A story about trust, lust, and the quest for connection.
Artist/Company Biography:
Funny. Ugly. Human. These are the kinds of plays we do. We like plays where people are at both their worst and their best; where people screw each other–or themselves–over, and have to find a way to deal with it; where people’s hearts hurt, or open, or blossom. We also believe in fun. Our plays will probably make you laugh. Probably more than once. And, we believe in creating art by whatever means necessary. If we are fortunate enough to piece together enough resources for lavish sets and fabulous special effects, awesome. If (more likely) we have to make work on a shoestring budget, on-the-fly, in an unconventional location, then we’ll do that and still knock your socks off. We’ve won some awards (including last year’s Producer’s Pick Award), and the New York Times has called us “a lot of fun.” We’re New York-based. And we love you.

Show Title: God of Obsidian
Group Name: Gideon Productions
From: Queens, NY
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre (Drama, Mental Health Themes, Masculine Themes, Political Themes, Social Justice, Storytelling, Women’s Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A dark fairytale about a gaslighting relationship.
Story for the Press: Playwright Mac Rogers was eager to return to theater–and to Cincy Fringe–after writing international podcast hits THE MESSAGE and LIFEAFTER. He was working on an entirely different script when the election happened, which got Mac thinking about truth, lies, manipulation, and dependence. GOD OF OBSIDIAN is the result.
Full Description: You have to cross a bridge to get to Nathan’s house. Crossing in is tricky. But crossing out – as Alice soon discovers – is almost impossible. From the writer of the global hit podcast THE MESSAGE and the creative team behind CityBeat Critic’s Pick LIGATURE MARKS comes a dark fairytale about a psychologically abusive relationship, as one woman seeks the story that will take her back across the bridge and set her free.
Artist/Company Biography: Gideon Productions crafts gripping plays that explore what’s strange about being human and what’s human about being strange, using familiar genres and cultural touchstones as a springboard to something wholly unexpected. Gideon primarily produces work by playwright Mac Rogers, including LIGATURE MARKS (CityBeat Critics’ Pick, Cincy Fringe 2014), THE HONEYCOMB TRILOGY (Advance Man, Blast Radius, and Sovereign), which garnered Critic’s Picks from The New York Times, Time Out NY, and was listed on The Guardian’s “Top 10 NY Theater of 2015,” UNIVERSAL ROBOTS, ASYMMETRIC, FRANKENSTEIN UPSTAIRS, VIRAL (Outstanding Production, FringeNYC 2009); and HAIL SATAN. Gideon’s own Blueprint Project presents four playwrights’ profoundly different takes on the exact same plot. Gideon has also produced several musicals by Williams/Rogers/Williams, including FLEET WEEK (Outstanding Musical, FringeNYC), AIR GUITAR, and THE FIRST ANNUAL ST. IGNATIUS CHANNUKAH PAGEANT. Gideon playwright Mac Rogers’ two podcasts THE MESSAGE and LIFEAFER were downloaded were’ downloaded six million times.

Show Title: Home
Group Name: Homegrown Theatre
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre, Interdisciplinary (Drama, Mental Health Themes, Multimedia)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A psychological thriller questioning the feeling and safety of home.
Story for the Press: HOME aims to mess with the audience. As the story unfolds through onstage action and dialogue, voice over and live music, and interactive projections, the audience is taken on a journey where it’s not clear who the guilty party is, or even if there is truly a guilty party. The live music will keep folks on their toes and the projections will surprise and intrigue. While this production is Homegrown Theater’s sixth Cincy fringe production this is the first time we will incorporate live music, specifically washboard. Another interesting fact, this year Homegrown’s creative team involves three artists who graduated from the same class at Walnut Hills High school; our producer, our playwright and our instrumentalist all graduated together in 2005. This project also brings together the same team that was responsible for BOO-BOO in 2016 and PULLING OFF PROCREATION (2013).
Full Description: Rachel struggles to write her next book after a home invasion leaves her unable to feel safe. Hoping to work in peace, she takes a job watching a vacationing couple’s apartment, but is distracted by a suspicious neighbor, Tasha. Slowly, both women become convinced something nefarious happened to the Coopers. From the artists responsible for BOO-BOO (2016) and OCCUPATIONAL PLEASURES (2015) comes a psychological thriller told through text, multimedia projections and live sound effects.
Artist/Company Biography: Cincinnati’s very own ragtag group of local actors, writers, directors and screwballs, Homegrown has been producing new and original plays for the Cincinnati Fringe Festival since 2012. Homegrown has also been behind several episodes of SERIALS at Know Theatre, starting in 2015 and continuing on to this day. With works focusing on modern themes such as the role that technology plays in our lives, and the growing wanderlust that comes with an ever-shrinking world, we know that our youthful perspective must be as present on stage as our years of experience. We aim to disrupt the line between the fantastic and the everyday while broadening the medium with a healthy dose of satire.

Homegrown is theater for the backyard dreamer, free of pesticides and preservatives, fresh from our imaginations to yours.

Show Title: Invisible Girl
Group Name: ImagiNation Incorporated
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (African-American Themes, Women’s Themes, Shadow Puppetry)
Rating: R (Simulated Sex Acts)
10-word Description: Black girl seeks sewer for rent and confronts societal specters.
Story for the Press: Invisible Girl, essentially, came out of my yearning for more sneakers. I remember the day I realized I wasn’t Beyoncé, and it was honestly one of the greatest days of my life. That day I realized black femininity could exist in Converse sneakers as it could six inch heels.
Full Description: Sarah is the Invisible Girl; a fugitive who has taken residence in the bottom of the city sewer to avoid being bought and sold for currency in an alternate America. Her refuge, however, is short-lived as she is haunted by a series of specters that force her to confront her societal wounds. Loosely based on the Ralph Ellison novel, “Invisible Man”, Sarah’s invisibility is psychological rather than literal; a transformation through a series of vignettes.
Artist/Company Biography: Originally from West Louisville, KY Syreeta Briggs began her career at fifteen years old as a spoken word performance poet. Since finishing her B.F.A. in Playwriting from Northern Kentucky University, her work primarily focuses on expanding the narrative of black femininity. Her voice as a playwright, poetess and self-proclaimed “black girl magician” champions for “the brilliantly strange black girl”, a girl that Briggs states “has yet to be imagined in mainstream theatre, film and television”. “ImagiNation Incorporated” thus expands from Briggs’ voice and vision to form a collective of self-producing theatre artists with a fervor for celebrating the strangeness of historically marginalized communities. “ImagiNation Incorporated” is as much a movement as it is a company; a freak of nature and a force to be reckoned with.

Show Title: Is That All There Is
Group Name: Cincinnati LAB Theatre
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Dramaedy, Play w/ Music, Sibling Rivalry)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Spotlights fade, music sours, wigs fray…so let’s keep dancing?
Story for the Press: What started as a comedic cabaret by Jared Doren has transformed into a relationship play written by Sara Mackie, with music by Sean Michael Flowers. Developing an idea, workshopping a script, and producing it for the stage is the essence of Cincinnati LAB Theatre’s mission.
Full Description: Ronald Ryan, known professionally as cabaret star “Rita,” prepares for one final performance. Amidst the wigs and gowns are also regrets, booze, and broken relationships. Will this finale – and an encounter with his sister and former duet partner – provide the closure he’s looking for? Or will Ronald leave the stage wondering “Is That All There Is?”
Artist/Company Biography: Cincinnati LAB Theatre established itself as a theater company focusing on new plays by Cincinnati area playwrights. First was a workshop production of “Buckeye”, an original play by Elizabeth a. Harris. The following summer LAB Theatre presented “Identity – An Evening of Three Twenty-Minute Plays.” Three artistic teams were challenged to each create a twenty-minute play, each having the theme of “Identity” and referencing the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Gay Marriage. “An Evening With Stephen Crane” by local playwright Phil Paradis was presented in the winter of 2016. In the spring of 2016 Cincinnati LAB Theatre became an official division of Falcon Theatre, which hosted LAB Theatre from its inception. The summer of 2016 Cincinnati LAB Theatre presented its first New Works Festival featuring two workshop productions and two staged readings of original plays. The second annual New Works Festival will be produced this August in Newport, KY at Falcon Theatre.

Show Title: kates
Group Name: Cait Robinson
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Multi-Cultural Themes, Physical Theatre, Women’s Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: An Orkney Island fairytale reimagined in an Americana rock dreamscape.
Story for the Press: kates is part of a creative exercise by playwright Katharine Sherman in which she writes plays as gifts for artists in her life. The fairytale it’s based on was a childhood favorite of director Cait Robinson; the twinning of the characters mirrors the creators’ experiences as schoolmates and longtime collaborators.
Full Description: Accidentally given the same name, sisters Kate and Kate keep getting confused—until their power-hungry mother puts a stop to it by having one of them turned into a sheep. To find a cure, the two girls take to the sea, where they find redemption and romance come at a steep, Faustian price. kates is a world premiere retelling of an Orkney Island fairytale about sisterhood, dark magic, and the seductive power of forgetting.
Artist/Company Biography: Cait Robinson is a freelance director and the resident assistant director at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Most recently, she directed Proclamation Project (American Repertory Theater), Winesburg, Ohio and Carrie (Stoneham Theatre), The Singularity (Science Fiction Theatre Company, featured in American Theatre online), Gideon’s Knot (Dramatic Repertory Company), and The Maids and 4.48 Psychosis (Portland Stage Company Studio Series). Favorite assistant directing credits: Jitney and Little Shop of Horrors (Cincinnati Playhouse) and Some Brighter Distance (City Theatre, Pittsburgh). She is a proud member of SDC and alumna of the Celebration Barn Theater’s devising intensive, Directors Lab West, and Bowdoin College. Up next: Lincoln Center Directors Lab and directing Pinocchio for Cincinnati Playhouse.

Show Title: Lady Macbeth and Her Pal, Megan
Group Name: Cornfed Productions
From: Iowa City, IA
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Comedy, Political Themes, Women’s Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Comedian uses Shakespeare to examine hilarious things like misogyny.
Story for the Press: When I wrote the play, I thought Hillary Clinton was going to be president and a show about female ambition would feel like a comic grace note after a historic win. Instead, the play became depressingly relevant. Before, I wanted to do this show. Now I need to do it.
Full Description: When comedian Megan Gogerty is informed that she can’t play Lady Macbeth – because Lady Macbeth is a tragic figure of powerful darkness, and Megan is the human equivalent of a golden retriever – she sets out to prove them all wrong. Silly, theatrical, and complex, Megan attempts to answer the question, “What’s it like to be a woman comedian?” Spoiler: it’s murder.
Artist/Company Biography: Megan Gogerty is a comedian and playwright. Based in Iowa City, Iowa, USA where she teaches playwriting at the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution listed her solo show Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant in their yearly Top Ten Best Plays. Megan’s musical drama Love Jerry was produced in the New York Musical Theatre Festival where it won three Talkin’ Broadway Citations and four NYMF Excellence Awards including Excellence in Writing (Book). Other plays include: Housebroken (Riverside Theatre, Hollins University); Save Me, Dolly Parton (Original Works Publishing; named among Best Plays in Atlanta by Creative Loafing), Bad Panda (Original Works Publishing; Theatre Without Borders, Beijing; Iron Crow Theatre Co.; WordBRIDGE Boomerang Playwright honoree). Megan was a Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow, a WordBRIDGE alum, and she earned her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin. She’s also visiting faculty at the Playwrights Lab at Hollins University.

Show Title: Larry 13:2
Group Name: Muwhahaha Productions
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Dramaedy, Women’s Themes, Religion)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A blasphemous exploration into the power of choice.
Story for the Press: Serials successes join forces for Fringe festival production. Rebecca Bowman Bromels, who has seen success directing numerous productions for the Serials series at Know Theatre, teams up with playwright Tracy Hoida whose play Archie & the Ashes delighted at Serials Thunderdome in 2016 and came back for a remount on the Know stage last November.
The inaugural production of the newly formed company Muwhahaha Productions brings together staples of the Cincinnati stage along with newcomers. Rory Sheridan has fast become a favorite actor in the local theatre scene, participating in numerous productions across the greater Cincinnati area, including productions and projects at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre, Know Theatre, The Carnegie, and many more. Rory joins newcomer Kathleen Mitchell, a recent graduate of Xavier University who found success as an ensemble member in Trey Tatum’s Slut Shaming this past fall and as Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Hamlet this past winter at her University.
Full Description: On a stormy night, a man who isn’t a doctor, waits in a hotel room that isn’t very nice, for a girl who isn’t what she seems. Her request may threaten his understanding of choice and alter his world for better or worse. By turns playful and blasphemous, the conversation builds to a decision that hinges on belief in oneself and humanity’s ability to change. Larry, chapter 13, verse 2: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers…”
Artist/Company Biography: Muwhahaha Productions is a newly formed company dedicated to alternative perspectives and inspiring debate. The company strives to offer challenging subject matter in order to open the door to conversation and hopefully, eventually, connection.

Show Title: Mind Mechanics
Group Name: Hannah Scott/Western Kentucky University Dance Company
From: Bowling Green, KY
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Dance (Dance, Mental Health Themes, Social Justice)
Rating: PG-13 (13+) – While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.
10-word Description: A look into the inner workings of the tormented mind.
Story for the Press: This show was built upon themes of mental illness utilizing the techniques of the collaborative, research-based dance company, Dance Exchange, alongside a long-term analysis of the conditioned featured within it. Throughout the process, delicate considerations of those who suffer from such conditions was taken into account whenever possible, with a main goal being to gain a multidimensional understanding of their experience. Mind Mechanics aims to evoke empathy, curiosity, and conversation regarding current scenarios surrounding mental health, and to inspire further artistic conversations of the topic in the future.
Full Description: Mind Mechanics is the product of ongoing research funded by a Faculty Undergraduate Student Engagement (FUSE) grant. Throughout the process of building the works featured, much time was spent investing in educating the dancers regarding the illnesses they represent and merging their own, individual movement interpretations with my outward understanding of the mental health field.
Artist/Company Biography: Hannah Scott, a senior at Western Kentucky University, found her love of movement at a young age. Starting from a small studio in southern Kentucky, Hannah expanded her dance training in her teen years by attending summer intensives with the Alvin Ailey School; the Joffrey Ballet School (ballet and contemporary/jazz programs); and, most recently, the Orlando Ballet School. Upon reaching the collegiate level, however, Hannah found a desire to explore dance from a psychosocial perspective, and, through a grant provided by her university, attended a winter institute with the Dance Exchange (formerly Liz Lerman Dance Exchange) was able to study their methods for creating experience-based choreography in January of 2017. Today, Hannah continues to strive toward a deeper understanding of the connection between mental wellness and movement, and hopes to one day explore the subject further as a dance/movement therapist.

Show Title: mOTHER
Group Name: Odds & Ends Productions
From: Pittsburgh, PA
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Storytelling, Women’s Themes)
Rating: R (Adult Language)
10-word Description: One woman’s journey of exploring and ultimately rejecting motherhood.
Story for the Press: From 2005-2008 my theatre company, Odds & Ends Productions, opened four plays at Cincy Fringe (Britney Spears And All The Other Shit We Deal With! (2005), Running My Ass Off & Getting Nowhere! (2006), I Take It Back! (2007), Better/Worse (2008)). In the time since, I took a hiatus from writing and performing to become a yoga teacher and open two yoga studios in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. The break has been enriching and spanned the past ten years of my life. A decade is a long time to stay silent in this way… I am ready to share again and I have something new to say based on my experience of contemplating motherhood.
Full Description: What happens when you find yourself questioning a perceived norm and ultimately choose to step outside of it? This is the query that the solo show mOTHER examines through one woman’s first person journey of exploring and ultimately rejecting motherhood.
Artist/Company Biography: Stacey Vespaziani is a yoga teacher, actor, writer and storyteller. She earned her BFA in Dramatic Performance at the University of Cincinnati, CCM. Her plays include Britney Spears, And All The Other Shit We Deal With!, Waterproof and her one-woman show, I Take It Back. Her work has been produced by Odds & Ends Productions, The Cincinnati Fringe Festival, The New Voices Series and Bricolage Production Company – B.U.S. 2 & WordPlay. Stacey is the owner of South Hills Power Yoga in Pittsburgh, PA. 

Show Title: My Darling Dilophosaurus
Group Name: The Autumn Kaleidoscope
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre (Comedy, Puppetry, Dinosaurs)
Rating: Family Friendly (All ages) – The production features no foul language, violence, suggestive or adult situations of any kind and may actually be geared specifically towards children.
10-word Description: Being a parent is hard, especially to a baby dinosaur!
Story for the Press: A lifetime’s obsession of dinosaurs combines with giant puppetry in this world premiere of My Darling Dilophosaurus. Autumn Kaleidoscope, the same company that brought the world Furlesque in 2016, returns to the Cincinnati Fringe Festival with a play that feels like 115 million years in the making.
Full Description: Amateur paleontologist, Artemis “Artie” Lattimer, is obsessed with dinosaurs. Her fiancée would like her to pay more attention to something that hasn’t been extinct for 115 million years. After some progress, Artie’s life gets unexpectedly turned upside down when she becomes the parent of a baby dilophosaurus. To win back her fiancée and show that she can be responsible, Artie comes up with the only plan to save the relationship: Win the State Pet Competition!
Artist/Company Biography: Autumn Kaleidoscope is thrilled to return to the Cincinnati Fringe Festival for the second year, with the world premiere of My Darling Dilophosaurus. This production is the culmination of a lifetime’s obsession of dinosaurs and giant puppetry. Writer and Director of My Darling Dilophosaurus, Sean P. Mette, will get to highlight more than a decade’s worth of experience in working with giant puppets in this production. Sean P. Mette’s experience in giant puppetry started when he began touring with the Cincinnati based national touring puppet company: Madcap Puppets. Autumn Kaleidoscope’s first production, Furlesque, premiered at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival in 2016 to lots of laughter in packed houses.

Show Title: Nine Short Plays for the Theatre
Group Name: Joe Stollenwerk
From: Vermillion, SD
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre (Comedy, Women’s Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Fast, fun, and eclectic collage of short pieces exploring performance.
Story for the Press: The play is something of a variety show: some of the plays grew out of my love for live theatre, others arose from frustrations in creating, attending, or teaching it. The plays comprise a wide range of styles, from realism to meta-theatre, autobiography to absurdism, parody to poignancy.
Full Description: Nine Short Plays for the Theatre is a fast-paced and fun collection of short pieces that explore various facets of theatre, performance, and storytelling, ranging in topics from race and casting to falling in love with theatre, and from Henrik Ibsen to Shirley Bassey. It is an eclectic collage in a variety of styles from realism to meta-theatre, autobiography to absurdism, parody to poignancy, including group pieces and monologues.
Artist/Company Biography: Stollenwerk made his legitimate stage debut in the first grade, playing a daddy longlegs in the ecofeminist The Nature of Little Things. Since then, he has received a B.A. in Drama from Kenyon College, an M.A. in English and M.Ed. from Xavier University, and finally a Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama from Indiana University. A native Cincinnatian, he spent nine years as the Artistic Director of Ovation Theatre Company and has worked at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Covedale Center for the Arts, and other local theatres. His award-winning adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has received four professional productions, including Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Know Theatre. In 2016, he moved to Vermillion, South Dakota, to join the faculty of the University of South Dakota’s Department of Theatre as Assistant Professor, where he oversees the MFA Directing program.

Show Title: pet fish are for killing by accident somehow it’s really quite inevitable
Group Name: Dehydrated Mermaid Productions
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Dramaedy, LGBTQ Themes, Women’s Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Pet fish exist to die. Just like love.
Story for the Press: One Easter, my mom discovered my sister’s angel fish, left in her care, floating belly-up in its aquarium. Oops. From this discovery, my insensitive brain spawned the joke “Hey, sweetie, Christ is risen, but your fish is dead!” Months later, at a playwriting conference at Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, I had to write a play – any play – for my peers to critique, and, panicking, I decided that my dead angel fish joke would be a great metaphor for the inevitability that love will die. Thus was borne the first ten pages of this play. I like to joke that I write in the genre of “twenty-somethings taking their problems too seriously in absurd ways,” but now I have a group of badass women in a room turning the absurdity into an honest story of intimacy, isolation, and the hyperawareness and anxiety with which we often see ourselves and the world. Go figure. Shit got real.
Full Description: Tabitha is questioning her relationship of nine years with Marc – with a “C.” Antioch is smugly secure in her relationship with grad school. And whiskey. Marla has a pet fish. Also, everything is terrible. What is love? Baby don’t hurt me.
Artist/Company Biography: Dehydrated Mermaid Productions is the hive mind of Cincinnati locals Shelby Becker and Sara Tripp, who are, in fact, mermaids. Thirsty in the face of a world of water, these mermaids plan to make theatre about reaching – personally, politically, aquatically… starting with “pet fish are for killing by accident somehow it’s really quite inevitable.” Becker, the director, and Tripp, the playwright, are excited to present this absurd breaking-up play to the Fringe audience. Here’s hoping you’ll swim along!

Show Title: Place/Setting
Group Name: Pones
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Dance, Interdisciplinary (Dance, Drama, Hispanic Themes, Multimedia, Multi-Cultural Themes, Physical Theatre, Play w/ Music, Social Justice, Storytelling, Cooking Show)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Discover true stories of local immigrants around the dinner table.
Story for the Press: Topical Relevance: The current political climate is hostile. We want to share stories of fellow Cincinnatians to help build understanding and bridge divides.
Workshops: We hosted four workshops with 14 immigrants from around the world. Led by the artistic team and community organizer, Dan Joyner, these workshops involved story harvesting, deep learning, and food. Collaboration: In typical Pones fashion, we are not just creating a dance show. Spoken word artist, Jyreika Guest is joining from Chicago; local musician Ian Gullet is composing a piece; and the show involves 4 actors, 9 dancers, 3 choreographers, 1 playwright, documentary video and ceramic place settings by 8 artists.
Full Description: Food – it connects us all. But, where is your seat at the table? Performers from Pones Inc., visual artist Pam Kravetz, and documentarian, Ian Forsgren invite you to sit down, share a meal and discover stories of local immigrants around our table. This fast-paced piece changes from family dinner to art gallery, cooking show to dance. PLACE/SETTING breaks down barriers, diffuses stereotypes, cultivates empathy and challenges us to explore ideas of belonging and home.
Artist/Company Biography: Pones performers use their bodies to speak their minds. The collective uses its signature ‘pedestrian-inspired’ movement to spark collaboration, connection, and community. Pones provides artistic opportunities for community growth by creating engaging new ways for audiences to experience dance. Founded in 2008, Pones has collaborated with over 200 artists and 80 arts and service organizations. The company creates site-specific performances through a fusion of movement and dance with other art forms. Pones’ accessible and participatory performances have been seen in over 90 Greater Cincinnati locations, as well as Indianapolis, Chicago, and internationally in Italy. Ongoing programs are available year round for artists and art groups, schools, and businesses. Pones believes that art creates powerful change.

Show Title: Romeo + Juliet + Anybodys
Group Name: The Functional Shoes
From: New York, NY
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Play w/ Music, Women’s Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: There’s a place for us…but not for Anybodys.
Story for the Press: The playwright (a native Ohioan) played Anybodys in her high school’s production of West Side Story. Almost a decade later, she returns to Ohio from New York City to perform the play she wrote to finally give this overlooked tomboy her say.
Full Description: She’s a loudmouth rascal with a wicked roundhouse kick. She puts the POW in Girl Power. And she could save those two dumb lovebirds—if somebody would just listen! Ladies and Gentlemen, the musical character you love to forget: Anybodys! Featuring original grunge folk music, this play will make you wanna laugh, squirm, dance, and burn the patriarchy to the ground.
Artist/Company Biography:
The Functional Shoes is an artistic collective based in New York City.
We make plays. We make music. We put them together.
We love: Magical realism, Frida Kahlo, Polaroid cameras, Bikini Kill, algebra, Charles Mee, Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and circus arts.
Claire Edmonds (Director) photographs egg shells and is a sommelier in her spare time.
Marlena Mack (Co-Composer) cuts hair in her kitchen and knows a lot about 80s pop music. Zak Houston (Co-Composer) is a budding yogi and cooks a mean omelette. Hayley Palmer (Choreographer) is an amateur tarot reader and has her motorcycle license. Genevieve Simon (Playwright) collects unusual maps and still regularly sends snail mail.

Show Title: Rumi’s Field
Group Name: Lakshmi Sriraman
From: Lexington, KY
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Dance, Storytelling, Indian)
Rating: Family Friendly (This production features no foul language, violence, suggestive or adult situations of any kind and may actually be geared specifically towards children.)
10-word Description: Dance work exploring our relationship with the elements of nature.
Story for the Press: Rumi’s Field was born on a stormy day last Spring. The sky was dark with rain bearing clouds, the wind was howling, the earth was covered with young life. All of life seemed to come alive and I found my soul humming a love song, a new work was born!
Full Description: Rumi’s Field is a dance-theater work that reaffirms our intimate connection the elements, earth, water, wind, fire, and space. Using a rich Indian classical and semi-classical soundscape as the backdrop, this work speaks of nature in close and intimate terms. Whoever has not heard of passion described in terms of fire? Don’t we all crave both closeness as well as ‘space’ in our relationships? Isn’t it true that we sometimes desire to feel more ‘grounded’?
Artist/Company Biography: A world renowned Bharatanatyam artist, Lakshmi takes the absolute precision of the sacred movements in Bharatanatyam to weave stories that have touched audiences around the world. Her urge to broaden her knowledge took her through contemporary dance-theatre forms that use movement and text in exciting ways. Dance to Lakshmi is at once sacred and sensual. Her life and dance is an exciting dialogue between tradition and change. Her work continues to be shaped by her life as a woman, an immigrant, an inhabitant of a diverse cultural space, and her conviction that art can help us transform the way we live.
Lakshmi just completed a ‘Artist in residency’ program at the University of Kentucky. A recipient of the ‘Art Meets Activism’ grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Lakshmi has also been juried into Kentucky Arts Council’s ‘Performing Arts Directory’ program. Her work is highlighted in Kentucky Education Television’s “Dance Toolkit for Middle Schools.”

Show Title: Sa’idah
Group Name: The Brink Theatre Co.
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Multi-Cultural Themes, Political Themes, Social Justice)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Sa’idah, a Syrian refugee is adopted by white celebrity couple.
Story for the Press: The Brink Theatre Co. is the creative child of Miami University Professor Saffron Henke and University of Pittsburgh doctoral student Emma Squire. Looking for an outlet to explore new work and re-vision work of the recent past, they began doing readings of plays they felt passionate about and assembled a team of artists to do creative work they were passionate about.
Full Description: In Arabic, the name Sa’idah means happy, lucky, or fortunate. In the aftermath of civil war and continuing violent conflict in Syria, families have been destroyed. The now orphaned Sa’idah, fulfills her namesake and becomes one of the “lucky ones-” White A-list American celebrity couple, Kristen and Taylor, are on mission to change the world starting with the adoption of with Sa’idah.
Artist/Company Biography: The Brink Theatre Co. is dedicated to putting on new works by contemporary playwrights using environmental and creative staging. Established in November 2015 by Artistic Director, Saffron Henke and Executive Producer Emma Squire- Brink works to stage readings and shows that deal with current social issues and highlight new work. Cara Hinh is an Associate Artist with The Brink and a recent graduate of Miami University where she received a BA in Theatre with a minor in Classical Humanities.

Show Title: Spy in the House of Men
Group Name: Penny: For Your Thoughts
From: Rochester, NY
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Dramaedy, LGBTQ Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A One-Woman Show with Balls.
Story for the Press: “You should write a book,” my Facebook friends would comment after reading my stories of my struggle and acceptance of my being transgender. “I don’t wanna write a book,” I told them. So I settled on doing a show. “You should take it on the road,” everyone said after seeing it. So that’s what I’m doing.
Full Description: Forgo the frill, abandon pretension, and dig in for 50 minutes of humble and humorous insight as Penny Sterling relates the very true story of her fictitious life as a man, and her true life as a transgender woman. Rochester comedienne, parent, TV producer/director, improv artist, storyteller, and now informant, Penny will report the findings from her 54 years as a SPY IN THE HOUSE OF MEN.
Artist/Company Biography: PENNY STERLING hasn’t always been Penny, but she has always been funny. She received her BA in Drama from Ithaca College in 1981, and has performed on stages and in comedy clubs across New York and in Canada–as an actor, stand-up comedian, and as a member of several improvisational troupes. Penny has also been the principal writer for The North Pole Times website. Penny makes her living behind the camera, as a Producer/Director for Spectrum Sports in upstate NY.

Show Title: Sumatran Rhino
Group Name: Hugo West Theatricals
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre (Theatre of Cruelty)
Rating: R (Adult Language and Very Adult Situations)
10-word Description: Would you continue the human race?
Story for the Press: I started writing this by trying to answer this question: if you and a member of the opposite sex were the last two people on earth, would you continue the human race? It just sort of snowballed from there.
Full Description: At one time, the numbers of the Sumatran Rhinoceros were in the thousands. The count has now dwindled to under a hundred. Our conservation efforts are being met with criticism, as there are ethical concerns, and we would like an opportunity to answer them. Please attend our conference as we explore the aspects of these issues and explain why this species is so vital. Presented in partnership with Hugo West Theatricals.
Artist/Company Biography: Hugo West Theatricals is the lunatic hobbyhorse of Cincinnati-based writing and producing team of Mike Hall and Joshua Steele. Accused of being “inveterate showmen” by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Hall and Steele are actors, producers, playwrights and composers with deep ties and investment in the thriving Queen City theatre scene.
Founded in 2012, Hugo West Theatricals has produced award-winning stagings of both original and existing works: CESSNA: A DRAMA NOIR, DON’T CROSS THE STREAMS: THE CEASE AND DESIST MUSICAL; A KLINGON CHRISTMAS CAROL; HOT DAMN! IT’S THE LOVELAND FROG!; and ZOMBIE-LOGUE. 

Show Title: The Disappearance of Nicole Jacobs, part 1: The Sister
Group Name: Bridget and Trey
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre (Drama)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: The town searched for Nicole. Her sister searched for strength.
Story for Press: N/A
Full Description: Everything in Crystal’s life has stalled since her sister, Nicole, disappeared in the woods behind their house. Since then, her family’s focus has been on running the Volunteer Center in charge of the search for Nicole. Now, months later, on the day the Volunteer Center closes, Crystal’s life is changing again as she searches for meaning in a life post-Nicole.
Artist/Company Biography: Queen City Flash is a community-centric theater company dedicated to open access to the arts. By untethering the performing arts from physical space, prohibitive costs and traditional theatrical expectations, Queen City Flash unites local artists and their communities to create impactful theatre. Previous Fringes: The Midnight Express (2016), Shelter (2015 w/ PONES, Inc.) and Slut Shaming (2014). QCF is Bridget Leak and Trey Tatum.

Show Title: Fight for 52₵
Group Name: Howard Petrick
From: San Francisco, CA
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Drama, Political Themes, Social Justice)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: The organizer of the most influential strike in US history.
Story for the Press: Petrick was twenty when he met V.R. Dunne in 1965 and would talk to him about his life and participation in the 1934 Minneapolis truck drivers strikes. Fight for 52₵ is Petrick’s presentation of Dunne as he knew him, modest about his life, but electrifying when talking about worker’s solidarity.
Full Description: V. R. Dunne’s whole life and character had prepared him for the Minneapolis truck drivers strike of 1934. The workers knew him as a good organizer, who smoked union-made cigarettes, was fond of the movies, didn’t get drunk, and was honest. He never raised his voice or wrote someone off without giving them a chance. The men followed his leadership and many of them, if the occasion offered, would be willing to die for him.
Artist/Company Biography: Petrick’s solo performances have all been stories about his experiences in the struggles of working people fighting for a better life. Meeting the revolutionary union organizer V.R. Dunne provides another. Petrick, portrays Dunne in Fight for 52₵ telling his story about conditions that are like what is happening in America today.
Petrick’s “Breaking Rank!” (“Outstanding Solo Performance” Cincy Fringe 2013), is an autobiographical piece about his experiences speaking out and organizing against the Vietnam War while in the US Army in 1966-68.
“Never Own Anything You Have to Paint of Feed”, 2014, was his story of working on the railroad in 1965 and meeting hobos and taking to the road himself. A story of learning from the stories of elder Wobblies and socialists who lived on the fringes of society.

Show Title: The Great Invention
Group Name: Panda Head Theatre
From: Cashiers, NC
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Comedy, Physical Theatre, Puppetry)
Rating: Family Friendly (This production features no foul language, violence, suggestive or adult situations of any kind and may actually be geared specifically towards children.)
10-word Description: Two gibberish speaking humanoids build a malfunctioning teleportation machine.
Story for the Press:  We created the show in Italy. We had very few resources, so we used junk that we found on street corners–which included a shopping cart. Since we didn’t have a car, we ended up using the cart to transport props back and forth over 2 miles of ancient Italian cobblestone. The locals knew us well.
Full Description: Caught in an urban wasteland, two beings attempt to build a machine that will transport them to paradise. The Great Invention synthesizes object theatre, elements of Commedia dell’Arte, and physical storytelling into a quirky, heartwarming, and visually captivating adventure that celebrates the power of imagination.
Artist/Company Biography: Panda Head Theatre is the passion project of Jess Bryant and Peter Seifarth–artistic partners from the southeast. They first met 10 years ago while performing in their high school’s circus program. They then reconnected when they both attended the same college, Coastal Carolina University, as students of the BFA physical theatre program. Soon their studies led them to Italy, and there Panda Head was born. Drawing from their backgrounds of physical storytelling, as well as their current Italian influences, they used what little they had to create The Great Invention–a show which kindled their desire to create original theatre that is accessible to people of all ages, languages, and cultural backgrounds.

Show Title: The Monster Songs
Group Name: Dr. Dour and Peach
From: Washington, DC
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Musical (Comedy, Storytelling)
Rating: Family Friendly (This production features no foul language, violence, suggestive or adult situations of any kind and may actually be geared specifically towards children.)
10-word Description: Two clowns sing songs about monsters.
Story for the Press: The first Monster Songs were born when Toby watched Night of the Living Dead after a 10-hour retail shift during the holiday season. That night he dreamed of zombies devouring people, underscored by Bing Crosby’s “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” He hasn’t stopped writing since.
Full Description: Dr. Dour pours forth tales both horrible and wondrous in a torrent of musical stylings. And Peach helps. Together they deliver never-before-told tales of lovesick mummies, giant lizards, bargain-hunting zombies, and other hapless creatures of the night in a cabaret cocktail of original songs. The mysterious is scrutinized. The strange is eternalized. And the dangerous is epitomized in song. Dr. Dour (vocals, 10-string touch-guitar) and Peach (cello, banjo, cute) elucidate all.
Artist/Company Biography: Dr. Dour & Peach (Toby and Rachel Mulford) are based in Washington, DC, and have appeared at the Capital Fringe Festival, the Clown Cabaret, the DC Weirdo Show, Shenandoah Fringe, and the New York Clown Theatre Festival. 2016 marked the release of their studio album The Monster Songs, available now on When they’re not singing about monsters, Toby and Rachel are actors and teaching artists with Faction of Fools Theatre Company, a company devoted to performing and preserving Commedia dell’Arte. They are on the teaching staff at Traveling Players Ensemble where Toby is Associate Artistic Director. Toby also teaches at George Washington University and Rachel is an American Sign Language & English interpreter. Toby received an MFA in Physical Ensemble Theater from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, and Rachel has a BA from the University of Maryland and training from the National Theatre Institute and Gardzienice.

Show Title: The Pink Hulk: One Woman’s Journey to Find the Superhero Within
Group Name: Valerie David
From: New York, NY
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Comedy, Drama, Women’s Themes)
Rating: R (Adult Language)
10-word Description: Cancer diagnosis means only one thing: Time to get laid!
Story for the Press: When I was performing in Baltimore, sitting in the front row was a bald woman. I had cancer survivors in the audience, but not an actual cancer patient until then. I was taken aback. Afterwards, she approached me: “Your show inspired me to fight.” It was the best day ever!
Full Description: What’s the first thing Valerie does when she’s diagnosed with cancer for a second time? She tries to get laid. Battling breast cancer after fighting off lymphoma, Valerie’s afraid she might lose “the girls” and takes them out for one last hurrah. Does she succeed? Come see it to find out! This sexy, adventurous solo show follows the triumphant journey of one woman seeking her own “hulk-like” strength to find her superhero within! Written and Performed by Valerie David; Directed by Padraic Lillis.
Artist/Company Biography: Valerie is an actor and playwright. A JMU and AADA graduate, her credits include the Off-Broadway A Stoop on Orchard Street, Cookie in Rumors and Claudia Shear’s Blown Sideways Through Life. Films: How I Became that Jewish Guy and Bridges and Tunnels. Memberships: LPTW, AEA and SAG-AFTRA; cowrote and starred in the two-person show Wanted: A Few Good Men and Two-mur Humor: He’s Malignant; She’s Benign. Valerie performs in her autobiographical solo show, The Pink Hulk, which was accepted into 11 festivals. At its Manhattan world premiere in Planet Connections, nominations: Best Solo Performance, Best Overall Production of a Solo Show; and won Best Direction of a Solo Show, Congeniality and Planet Activists Awards. 2017 SaraSolo Festival awarded her “The Queen’s Medal for Valour,” presented to an exceptional performer bringing bravery, grace and humor to extraordinary circumstances. Special thanks to Chris, Cincy Fringe and the staff. Visit and

Show Title: Totally Untrue Stories- Totally Unlike Any Nocturnal Flying Insect
Group Name: Lepp Fabrications
From: South Charleston, WV
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Comedy, Storytelling, Alternative Facts)
Rating: Family Friendly (This production features no foul language, violence, suggestive or adult situations of any kind and may actually be geared specifically towards children.)
10-word Description: Hilarious, honest but untrue storytelling and comedy
Story for the Press: I played two seasons of T-ball. Never got a hit. So, I went into the Arts. My only talent is making up funny things. And I had a boring childhood. I reinvented my early-life so I can lie to my kids about what I did when I was their age.
Full Description: Totally Untrue Stories- Totally Unlike Any Nocturnal Flying Insect: I lie. I started telling stories at the West Virginia Liars’ Contest. You can see why I’m chagrined that the sort of storytelling sweeping the nation is all about the Truth. Who cares about the Truth? I mean, there’s a time and a place for Truth, but in storytelling? Storytelling is about Truths- eternal, ephemeral, spiritual, societal- but that doesn’t mean it has to be true.
Artist/Company Biography: Bil Lepp comes from a family in which the truth is fluid. Nobody ever tells the truth and it is understood that it is up to the listener to decide what is true. Lepp is five time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, and a nationally touring storyteller, humorist and comedian. He has been a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival sixteen times, as well as at major festivals around the country, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. He even did a show at Comedy Central’s Theatre on Hudson which went…nowhere. His books and audio collections have won awards ranging from a PEN writing award to Parents’ Choice Gold Awards. Lepp and his stories have appeared on various nationally syndicated NPR shows, SIRIUS Radio and in magazines, but who cares, right? Just come see him Fringe.

Show Title: Vapers at the Gate
Group Name: The Burying Beetles
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre (Comedy, Environmental Themes, Political Themes)
Rating: R (Violence, Simulated Drug Use and Sex Acts, Adult Language)
10-word Description: Refugees from Trump World kidnapped by Che Guevara’s Elvish twin.
Story for the Press: “Vapers at the Gate” started out to be a solo experiment in how much verbally-gymnastic scatological language and Hollywood trivia a broken-down old theater rat like me could get away with before getting pelted with tomatoes. Having a cast of four makes me harder to hit.
Full Description: Three people: a survivalist, an artist and a Silicon Valley bro – hunted refugees blown out of their comfortable lives by a universal catastrophe. Hopeless, exhausted, they meet a “coyote” – a guerilla fighter with fashion sense – who will take them to the New World only if they expose their true selves through Native ritual and Hollywood trivia: Ultimate Vetting at the end of the world.
Artist/Company Biography: The Burying Beetles crawled together in 2010 to create a theatrical response to Neoliberal capitalism. With years of experience in both traditional theater (CCM, Playhouse) and punk-rock show biz (TS&M Productions), the Beetles have created performances and stage shows grounded in scholarship and packed with raunchiness, bad jokes, gratuitous animal nudity and Brechto-Shakespearean allusions, all to the purpose of getting us past our present demented predicament and into a more environmentally-sustainable, more just, and a dirtier world.

Show Title: What She Found There
Group Name: InBocca Performance
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Interdisciplinary (Physical Theatre, Puppetry, Women’s Themes)
Rating: R (Violence, Nudity)
10-word Description: Be bold, be bold, but not too bold…
Story for the Press: We’re using the dead wives as a Greek Chorus. The job of the chorus was to reflect to the heroine the reactions of her community. We want to do the same: use these women to show the wife the danger she is in, but that the risk may change everything.
Full Description: In What She Found There, a young woman opens the bloody chamber of her husband’s secrets. Will she suffer the fate of the wives that came before her? In this retelling of the french fairy tale of Bluebeard, we examine the danger in asking for what you have been shown you may not have–and what happens when a woman shatters the masculine world of power with her refusal to obey the rules forced upon her.
Artist/Company Biography: InBocca Performance is a Cincinnati theatre group created in 2011 by Caroline Stine. Our goal is to create high-quality and cutting-edge performances and inspire people of all ages to be creators. With humble beginnings in a backyard in Fort Thomas, KY in 1997, we have now grown to perform work at Southgate House Revival (Newport, KY), The Mockbee (Cincinnati, OH), Naropa University (Boulder, CO), and abroad in Arezzo, Italy. We create devised and deconstructed work, specifically with local members of our community, no matter their age. We specialize in movement theatre, dance, and using found spaces to tell and re-tell stories. We believe in taking risks, making mistakes, and going for broke. In bocca al lupo. Get defiant.

Show Title: Where There Were Woods
Group Name: Samara Lerman
From: Seattle, WA
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Drama, Social Justice, Storytelling)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A journey of survival, courage and the power of storytelling.
Story for the Press:  My grandmother told me bedtime stories that filled me with tales of adventure. She evoked vivid scenes of children running through the woods in disguise, hopping trains and outsmarting the wicked. These were the true stories of her survival, of her escape from the death that claimed her entire family.
Full Description: Where There Were Woods begins in the Ukrainian village of Manievitch in the 1930’s. The true survival story of a fierce young Jewish woman is interwoven with the traditional Jewish folktales Samara’s grandmother told her as a child. Traveling from the swampy forests of Ukraine to the streets of Uzbekistan, Where There Were Woods is a journey of courage, loss, and the power of storytelling.
Artist/Company Biography: When not playing in the land of imagination, Seattle based actress Samara Lerman spends her days tromping through the forests of the Pacific Northwest and her nights getting lost in music, and telling tiny four minute stories one partner dance at a time. Samara has been seen on the stages of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare Company and Book-It Repertory Theatre. She is perhaps best known for her role as the heroic Myriad in the cult fantasy film The Gamers: Hands of Fate. Samara stars in the film Chasing the Sun which following its lengthy festival circuit run had its television debut on PBS affiliate KCTS and streamed on the SIFF Selects channel for Alaska Airlines. Her upcoming film IRON in which she plays a tenacious young woman working on the railroad during WWI is set to release in 2017.

Show Title: Wilderness Survival
Group Name: Jimmy Grzelak
From: Philadelphia, PA
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (Comedy, Political Themes, Campfire)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: An Eagle Scout’s doomsday prep for 2017.
Story for the Press: Jimmy Grzelak was really a boy scout. He has used his scouting skills (planning, emergency preparedness, fire-building, etc.) to travel the world meeting people who claim to be God and to launch a solo performance career.
Full Description: Jimmy Grzelak is an Eagle Scout, spiritual voyager, and “winningly offbeat imagination” (Washington Post). Sometime in the early 2000s, somewhere in rural America, young Jimmy was initiated into the ways of a world ruled by adolescent boys. In 2017, older Jimmy woke up and realized that knowledge is now nationally relevant. He comes to Cincinnati to do his duty as a scout – to serve as your guide into the wild of his native culture.
Artist/Company Biography: Jimmy Grzelak is a practical theologian and theater artist. Immediately after turning in his final college paper, Jimmy launched the U.S.-Canada tour of his solo show mostly about the Boy Scouts titled HOW TO BE A TERRORIST (DCMTA Best of Fringe). In 2013-2014, he spent one year traveling Eurasia by train, living with and learning from some of the newest religious groups in the world with the support of a Florence Chandler fellowship, which funds 365 days of independent study and international travel undertaken with “imagination, moral sensitivity and resourcefulness.” In 2015, Jimmy developed – in collaboration with NYC-based set designer Cate McCrea – a touring gastro-liturgical event, ST. JIMMY CELEBRATES “The Food at Our Feet” (DCTMA Best of Fringe, Favorite Solo Show, Favorite Performer, Favorite Show; Pittsburgh Fringe National Award).Now, Jimmy lives in Philadelphia, performing and working on projects there and elsewhere.

Show Title: Zelda and Hadley: Together At Last
Group Name: E Cubed Productions
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Dramaedy, Improv, Women’s Themes, Radio Drama)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an
mount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A revenge dramedy radio show inspired by infidelity.
Story for the Press: I asked two super talented women whom I respect and value artistically to join me on a whackadoodle journey. They said yes enthusiastically and without ever seeing a single word of the script. They jumped onto a moving train and never bothered to ask where it was going. That’s awesome.
Full Description: Zelda and Hadley: Together At Last-the entirely fictional, absolutely true story of what happens when F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway’s wives have had enough of their husbands’ philandering ways and get even using a radio drama. To begin, the audience decides which literary masterpiece to tackle. The ladies then improve that story by playing all the characters, creating all the sound effects, and reminding the audience that “hell hath no fury…” Also, there’s gin.


Show Title: Play for Now
Group Name: Unleash the Cookie Crew
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre (Drama, Mental Health Themes, Death)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A little boy deals with a sad part of life.
Story for the Press: When I was about three, my grandfather passed away. However, I still imagined him being around. My mom always told me she’d ask what I was doing and I’d tell her, “I’m playing with grandpa!”. That’s why I relate to Sam, as I have experienced something similar.
Full Description: Play for Now follows an eight-year-old named Sam and his best friend, Charlotte. These two have an unbreakable bond as Sam relies on Charlotte to protect him from the everyday bullies at school. However, a sudden accident changes Charlotte forever. After the accident, she starts morphing into a manipulative monster that wants nothing more than to control Sam’s life. He is then forced to realize the truth about her and finally accept what has happened.
Artist/Company Biography: Unleash the Cookie Crew is headed by first-time playwright Vicky Alcorn and assistant director Lydia Wira. This is their first time working together on such a big production. Both are extremely ecstatic is be a part of FringeNext, and hope that everyone can relate to the show in some way. They are also both active in the theater scene at their high school. In addition to their school’s shows, Alcorn participates on her school’s Speech and Debate Team and Wira plays the violin for the Chamber orchestra. The rest of the group consists of 8 students who make up the cast. Each have a love for theater, and are excited to be performing in the show. Unleash the Cookie Crew would like to thank the Fringe Festival for making this production possible, and Jason Burgess for being their producer and helping out through the process!

Show Title: Reagachev
Group Name: Blackburn & James
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Musical (Comedy, LGBTQ Themes)
Rating:  PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description:The Cold War gets hot, heavy, and (interestingly enough) musical.
Story for the Press: Julia and Fiona, the minds behind Reagachev, were inspired while studying for a history test. The phrase “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down these pants” came up when they were describing “friendly” relations between the USSR and USA. It was then they decided they needed to write a musical of it.
Full Description: The year is 1986, and both Russia and USA are desperate for an end to their Cold War tensions. When Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev meet at the Reykjavik Summit, however, they discover that they share a different kind of tension…sexual. Reagachev is the historically inaccurate, musical, satirical chronicling of that very summit that some call “brilliant” and others call “just plain weird”. So join in the thrill, betrayal, and romance that is Reagachev.
Artist/Company Biography: Fiona Blackburn is a graduate from Notre Dame Academy. She’s always harbored, throughout her academic career, a deep love for history, English, and theatre. Oftentimes, she likes to combine all three of her loves into a Frankensteined amalgamation of unfinished plays based around historical events. She only actually came to be a part of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival by extensive prodding when she presented one of these unfinished works. Nevertheless she is happy to be a part of it, and couldn’t have made it so far without her co-writer/co-director, Julia James.
Julia James lives in Fort Mitchell with her family, but most importantly her tail-less cat named Lilly. Furthermore, she plans to study politics when she gets older in order to follow in the footsteps of her hero, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Show Title: Reaper
Group Name: Blackbird Dance Theatre
From: Lexington, KY
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Interdisciplinary (Dance, Drama)
Rating: Family Friendly (This production features no foul language, violence, suggestive or adult situations of any kind and may actually be geared specifically towards children.)
10-word Description: An original dance concert about facing your fears.
Story for the Press: Reaper is, in many ways, a tribute to our hometown of Lexington, KY. The show is not only set in Lexington, it features a script written by a Lexington student, music from several local artists, and a cast made up of students from high schools around the city.
Full Description: Set in our hometown of Lexington, KY in the 1960s, Reaper is an original dance theatre piece about facing your fears and chasing after the things you want. To promote as much collaboration and creativity as possible, the show uses a script written by a student, an original score from local artists, a student-led production design, and student choreography.
Artist/Company Biography: Blackbird Dance Theatre is a dance school and performance company in Lexington, Ky under the direction of Jenny Fitzpatrick. Blackbird offers classes in jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and tap with a foundation in ballet technique. The studio provides dance training for all ages geared toward theatre performance and concert dance performance. It is a professional and accelerated program for not only dancers but actors too.


Show Title: If a Tree Falls
Group Name: Tongue of the Mind
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre (Comedy, LGBTQ Themes, Women’s Themes)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: A fallen tree troubles a couple with communication issues.
Story for the Press: This play is inspired by a blog post where a woman laments over the fact that she has run out of things to say to her husband. She is rather distraught about it, but the main purpose of this post is to share a creme brulee brownie recipe.
Full Description: Gayle and Arnisha are happily married, except they have nothing to talk about. When a tree falls through their home, Gayle hires Ann, an arborist, to remove it. Arnisha find herself drawn to Ann, being able to have conversations with the arborist that Arnisha once had with Gayle.
Artist/Company Biography: Robert Macke graduated from Northern Kentucky University in 2015 and complete his first year at University of Idaho, where he is pursuing his MFA in Playwriting. His play “The Road through Damascus” has received a reading at University of Idaho and production at Clifton Performance Theatre. Several of Robert’s plays have premiered as part of the Know Theatre’s Serials, including “A Rolling Stone Gathers No Loss” and “Space Pornography 2000: A Crowdsourced Musical” co-written with Alexx Rouse and James Allen respectively. In 2016, Robert has his Cincinnati Fringe Fest debut with “Golconda” in which it was praised by CityBeat Magazine as “an amazing empathy machine.”
Robert is happy to be back with Cincinnati Fringe festival and Tongue of the Mind. Happy Fringing!


Show Title: ComedySportz Cincinnati
Group Name: OTRimprov
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Theatre, Improvisational Comedy
Rating: Family Friendly (This production features no foul language, violence, suggestive or adult situations of any kind and may actually be geared specifically towards children.)
10-word Description: Competitive comedy improv for everyone.
Story for the Press: With over 100 games in the arsenal it’s always a challenge to get just the right mix of games, players and audience. But somehow it always works out.
Full Description: Two teams battle it out for laughs and points while improvising scenes based upon audience suggestions. The teams are under the command of the Referee and at the mercy of the fans, who control the outcome of the match! Our show is entirely improvised. A ComedySportz match only works with your suggestions. Just keep them clean or the Referee could call a foul and you’ll be wearing a bag on your head.
Artist/Company Biography: ComedySportz started in Milwaukee in 1984 and has grown to include 26 cities in the US from Portland, OR to San Antonio to New York. In addition there are teams in Manchester, UK and Berlin, Germany. After becoming a player in 1991, playing in cities all over the country, joining the rosters of Houston, Indianapolis and Philadelphia, performing in 14 Championships and ranking as a National All Star Kirk Keevert pursued the dream of bringing ComedySportz to Cincinnati and with the help and support of OTRimprov that dream has become a reality. ComedySportz Cincinnati performs most Friday nights at Memorial Hall in Over-The Rhine.

Show Title: OTRimprov: IF Cincy Awakens
Group Name: OTRimprov
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre, Improv Comedy
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Inventive Improv Comedy with OTRi and Friends
Story for the Press: N/A
Full Description: In just 6 short months, improvisors from all over the country will descend upon Cincinnati for one reason: no, not the World Series. NO, not the Grammys. It’s the 4th Annual Improv Festival of Cincinnati, lovingly known as IF Cincy (September 5th-10th). But since we don’t know what will happen between now and then, we thought you needed a sneak peek. Join our crew for short performances by some of our favorite local and visiting troupes, plus a headlining performance from OTRimprov. Keep checking back at for details on this year’s festival!
Artist/Company Biography: IF Cincy: Improv Festival of Cincinnati is produced by OTRimprov. OTRimprov is an improvisational comedy troupe that makes its home at Know Theatre of Cincinnati as part of the Jackson Street Market. This year, OTRi is proud to host the 4th Annual IF Cincy, which will feature artists from all over the country. In addition to performances, the week will include improv workshops from veteran improvisors and performers and an improv jam.

Show Title: OTRimprov: The Fringe Show: Covenant
Group Name: OTRimprov
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Theatre, Improv Comedy
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Inventive and interactive improv comedy
Story for the Press: In the five years since OTRi took the stage as an official improv troupe, we’ve grown from 1 show a month to more than 5 per month plus a training center, corporate classes, an improv festival, and the acquisition of the ComedySportz license in Cincinnati. Our dreams of fostering a vibrant improv community are happening, and we could not be more excited!
Full Description: OTRimprov presents an evening of pure Cincy Fringe: epic storylines, intriguing plot-twists, and surprising emotional connection exploring the true nature of art. There is also the chance we explore the true nature of kindergarten. Or Bollywood. Or carpet salesman.
We’re doing improv, people! Starting from your suggestion, our talented actors create stories and characters never seen before and some, thankfully, never seen again. Join us for this special Cincy Fringe event and see what happens when we let loose the Fringe Mind.
Artist/Company Biography: OTRimprov (OTRi) began in 2010 as a collection of wayward improvisers looking for like-minded performers and a place to play in Cincinnati. After headlining shows for the Little Big Night at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, we formed our own partnership with Know Theatre’s Jackson Street Market, a resource sharing program for fledgling companies, and began producing shows independently. This continued partnership allows us to call Know’s Underground space on Jackson St. in Over-the-Rhine home.
We explore a variety of styles and formats, and are focused on creating a strong improv community populated with smart, engaging people while doing work that is collaborative, curious, and sometimes a little bit daring. We foster new talent through training and a welcoming atmosphere, where all performers feel inspired to explore and take risks. Members of OTRi have studied and performed with a variety of improv theatres and groups around the US, including Second City, iO, iO West, ACME Comedy Theatre, Mission IMPROVable, SmartyPants, Wit’s End, and Incredulity.

Show Title: Saturday Night
Group Name: The Infinity Ball
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Interdisciplinary (Multimedia, Musical)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: Musical story of friendship, psycho ex-girlfriends, tacos, and love.
Story for the Press: When I first brought the idea of a concept album to the band they thought I was crazy. I mapped out the concept with a flowchart depicting each song as a plot point and perhaps a musical style (blues, rock, pop), emotion (moody, angry, despondent, funny), and a few lines of lyrics. The first song written for the project was a slow blues called “Lament At The Taco Bell” where we find our drunken hero berating himself for not getting the number of a beautiful girl he met at a bar. Once the lyric “Like the sauce on this taco, the Fire in my belly is the fire that burns in my soul!” was written, I knew the tone of the record was set.
Full Description: Musical story of a man, his friends, his psycho ex-girlfriend, tacos, and love lost and found. Guitar driven prog/pop/rock with catchy melodies and dry humor wrapped up in a multimedia presentation. Designed as a full story/album with a companion comic book, the live event incorporates images projected behind the band.
Artist/Company Biography: The Infinity Ball is a four piece rock band with strong vocals and harmonies. Similar in sound to Barenaked Ladies, the band consists of Rick Reed (vocals and guitar), John Stickney (guitar and vocals), John Hoerr (bass and vocals) and Tom Jansing (drums). The Infinity Ball formed in 2006, immediately began working on their first demo and soon after performed at Midpoint Music Festival. Both their first full length CD, “Undressed For Success” (2009) and second CD, “Saturday Night” (2014) were recorded with Jeff Monroe at Group Effort Studios in Crescent Springs, KY. They are currently recording their next CD currently known under the working title “Maybe We Should Speed Up Our Recording Process And Finish This Bad Boy Already”.

Show Title: trueFRINGE
Group Name: True Theatre
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: Returning
Category (Tags): Storytelling (True stories, Live music)
Rating: PG-13 (While containing some adult content, there is not so gratuitous an amount that young teenagers would be an inappropriate audience.)
10-word Description: True stories from 5 Fringe artists from this year’s Festival!
Story for the Press: Our shows take up to 3 months to produce, including finding and working with the storytellers. Every year for the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, we compress that schedule down to 2 weeks. It’s a wild ride which has delivered some wonderful and harrowing stories and the Festival’s first on-stage proposal!
Full Description: See their shows, then come hear the true, personal, behind-the-scenes stories about their lives as artists and what makes them tick! 5 talented people from other shows in this year’s Festival will share their stories at the 7th installment of trueFRINGE. Make your Fringe experience complete with this one-night only annual Fringe tradition!
Artist/Company Biography: True Theatre has been producing quarterly storytelling events in Cincinnati since 2010, based on the sincere belief that the sharing of personal stories is the fastest way to building Community. Every 3 months, True gathers 5 people from all walks of life to share their true, personal stories based on the theme of the evening. Prepared, but not scripted… Told from memory, but not memorized, the stories have an immediacy and rawness that endears the audience to each teller. Now in their 7th season, True Theatre has featured over 150 unique storytellers on their stage… and you could be next!

Show Title: Two Truths: Notes on the Cinematographer
Group Name: The Carnegie, Chase Public, The Mini Microcinema
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Interdisciplinary (Multimedia, Audience Participation)
Rating: PG-13
10-word Description: Explore the relationship between cinema and theatre in real time.
Story for the Press: We are three local organizations that make completely different kinds of art. The Carnegie is theatre and visual art. Chase Public is based in writing, poetry, and composition. The Mini Microcinema is about showing and promoting outsider film. Yet, we all share the same mission- to increase access to the arts in people’s lives and to support art makers. We thought it would be cool to find an intersection for our mediums, especially an intersection in which audiences could also play a role in both creating and responding to the piece. So we chose a celebrated text that will be explored through film and theatre, and created a participatory performance structure for audiences to both create the show and respond to it in real time. It’s super meta, but we think it’s also super cool.
Full Description: Two Truths: Notes on the Cinematographer is an avant-garde mixed media mashup of Robert Bresson’s celebrated book on film making. Audiences will choose between pairings of notes that probe the dividing line between film and theatre. For each note selected by the audience, a film or live scene created in response to that note will be shown. Every show will be different and every audience will have the opportunity to create a unique performance experience.
Artist/Company Biography:The Carnegie, Chase Public, and The Mini Microcinema are arts organizations based in the Cincinnati area whose missions center on expanding access to the arts and supporting/developing the work of independent artists in the realms of theatre, visual art, writing, and film making. We urge you to check out our various venues and events for more opportunities to connect through the arts in your community.  

Show Title: White Privilege
Group Name: Mad Prophet of Doom
From: Cincinnati, OH
New or Returning Participant: New
Category (Tags): Solo Performance (African-American Themes, Men’s Themes, Social Justice)
Rating: R (Adult Language)
10-word Description: The Whitest Man in America comes clean about his white​ privilege.
Story for the Press: White Privilege was inspired by a Washington Post article from Sept 7, 2016  called “It’s time to stop talking about racism with white people” by Zack Linly, performer/activist in Atlanta, and Cincinnati Citybeat Dec. 14 editorial “White-on-White Silence” by Christina Brown.
Full Description: White Privilege tells the story of a middle-age white man and what it took to finally wake him from his privileged slumber.  A hard humorous look at racial bias, and the uncomfortable conversation that White America needs to start having with itself.
Artist/Company Biography: Jim Hopkins is a Shakespearean actor gone rogue after the disastrous 2016 presidential campaign.  Hot-headed and full of big loud opinions, Mr. Hopkins has decided to take leave from his rantings on his Facebook profile and inflict his boisterous blustery soap-boxery upon the rest of us in the forum he knows so well: live theatre.  Mr. Hopkins would like others to view him as a champion for social justice, though is ultimately resigned to be dismissed for the ass he is.

Know Theatre is Cincinnati’s Theatrical Playground. The Know showcases unexpected voices, new works, and plays that embrace the inherent theatricality of the live experience. Know Theatre seeks to be a place where artists and audiences feel welcome to take artistic risks, creating work that is cutting edge and accessible.

Know Theatre’s work is made possible, in part, by the generosity of community contributions to the ArtsWave Campaign.  The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Know Theatre with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

Know Theatre is also supported by The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, helping to change our communities for the better through collaboration and innovation, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which provides a simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to giving.

 Know Theatre is a member of Theatre Communications Group and an Associate member of the National New Play Network.

The 2017 Cincinnati Fringe Festival is made possible through a grant from the William O. Purdy Foundation of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Additional support provided by the Wohlgemuth Herschede Foundation.



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