The Artists of Tomorrow Get Their Shot with the NEXTival

CAST_FringeNextival logoThree institutions team up to offer additional opportunities to high school students in conjunction with the Cincinnati Fringe Festival

Cincinnati, OH – Commonwealth Artists Student Theatre (CAST), The Carnegie, and Know Theatre of Cincinnati are thrilled to announce a collaboration with the annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival. The three institutions are teaming up to evolve Fringe Next’s mission of creatively empowering high school-aged artists with the creation of the NEXTival.

“Our mission with Fringe Next has always been to give these up-and-coming artists a taste of what it takes to produce your own work in the real world and help prepare them for whatever comes next,” says Fringe Producer Chris Wesselman. “It can be a daunting task to present at Fringe, so we’re excited to offer a unique opportunity for students to dip their toes in the water and present at the NEXTival.”

The NEXTival is an original works festival featuring innovative and new plays from high school students in the Greater Cincinnati area. Students involved in the productions come from Highlands, Taylor, Walnut Hills, Turpin and more.

“When I approached Chris with this idea, I thought he was going to think I was insane,” commented CAST Artistic Director Jason Burgess. “Know has so many things going on with the Cincy Fringe itself, their MainStage Series, One Minute Play Festival, Serials and so on. I didn’t want them to think that I was trying to put more on their plate. The idea is to actually take something off their plate. We want to help them with their educational outreach. We want to expand the scope and variety of Fringe Next and since our mission and focus is on high school students, we thought it was a perfect fit.”

In celebration of this collaboration, CAST will host the NEXTival on Friday, May 24 and Saturday, May 25 at the Lincoln Grant Scholar House in Covington, KY. The Lincoln Scholar House was originally built in the 1930’s and served as Covington’s public school for African American students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. It was desegregated in 1965 and continued to operate as an elementary school until 1976 under the name Twelfth District Elementary. Subsequently, the building served as a community center providing education, cultural experiences and fellowship for the people of the Eastside Neighborhood District. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as an African American Heritage Site by the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission. The auditorium is operated by The Carnegie.

“We’re so excited to support the NEXTival and bring life to the newly renovated Lincoln Grant Auditorium,” says Carnegie Theatre Director Maggie Perrino. “When The Carnegie agreed to operate the space, we saw it as a place for community groups, new works, and educational experiences- partnering with CAST perfectly fulfills this vision.”

The three plays featured at the NEXTival are:

3:36 am – Four teenagers find themselves in the middle of the street in the middle of the night. A boy seeks to land the girl of his dreams, a girl wants comfort, an idiot wants to cover up past wrongdoings, and a basket case wants to uncover a neighborhood mystery.

A Doll’s Life – Scarlett was a girl who loved to play with her dolls. However, her dolls tell a much deeper tale of her abusive family. Using her dolls to process the events in her life, both a child and teenage Scarlett attempt to navigate the dark thoughts inside her head.

Monsters Have Hearts – Featuring a dysfunctional family including: a loving mother, an alcoholic father, an imaginative daughter, and a gentle son; Monsters Have Hearts is about a mother recovering from an illness. The father wishing, she needed him again and he taking actions into his own hands.

Tickets are $10 per show. Tickets are GENERAL SEATING only.  Purchase tickets in advance at or by calling (859) 957-1940. Tickets can also be purchased at the door thirty minutes prior to each show.

About CAST: Commonwealth Artists Student Theatre is a Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati theatre collaborative, that through professional quality productions, arts instruction and developing community relationships, empowers students to achieve their artistic potential under the leadership of professionals. More information about CAST is available at or by calling (859) 545-0770.

About Know Theatre of Cincinnati: Know Theatre of Cincinnati’s goal is to create an artistic playground where artists and audiences can come together to produce and experience work that could not be done anywhere else. More information about Know Theatre is available at or by calling (513) 300-5669. 

About The Carnegie: The Carnegie is Northern Kentucky’s largest multidisciplinary arts venue providing theatre events, educational programs and art exhibitions to the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati community. The Carnegie facility is home to The Carnegie Galleries, the Otto M. Budig Theatre, and the Eva G. Farris Education Center.  More information about The Carnegie is available at or by calling (859) 491-2030.

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Press Releases

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.