The return of InFringe Fest, New Orleans Independent Theater Arts Festival, Nov 15 – 19

Conceived in Spring 2016 as a one-time event so that the local performing arts community didn’t endure a “skip year” in boasting a fringe festival of its own, InFringe Fest makes it return in the previous festival’s traditional time slot: November 15 – 19, the weekend before Thanksgiving. InFringe Fest 2017 is this festival’s bid to become an annual New Orleans event.

“After the withdrawal of the New Orleans Fringe Festival and the redirection of its designated successor, Faux/Real, into an all-arts event, the need for a new theatre- and performance-exclusive event seemed obvious,” said InFringe Fest founder Michael Martin. “And by ‘new’ I mean ‘old.’ If I and my friends were going to put in the time and effort to re-start a fringe festival after the frustrations and disappointments local theatermakers had endured, it was going to return to first principles.”

InFringe Fest is explicitly modeled on the original fringe festival started by Dennis Monn of the AllWays Lounge over a decade ago: One weekend of intense artistic activity in multiple downriver venues (some traditional theatres, some not), focused on local, independent, DIY theatremakers who work across the board of performance forms. InFringe Fest 2017 will present a slate of almost 40 shows, at nine venues, including theatre, burlesque, poetry, comedy, puppetry, performance art, and storytelling. “Only dance is lightly represented in this edition,” said Martin.

Over a dozen plays will premiere during InFringe Fest, including eight by local playwrights, including “Transposing Omaha,” a memory drama by the late and beloved poet Danny Kerwick. Other highlights include new multimedia poetry shows by Moose Jackson and A Scribe Called Quess?; documentary theatre about Storyville and life along the U.S.-Mexico border, by District Productions and Latino Theatre Initiatives; the return of Sara Fellini, FreakShow Deluxe, and Michelle Embree and LadyBabyMiss; and new monologue shows by comedian Ace Denison, mystery writer Michael Allen Zell, and acclaimed Chicago performance artist Jenny Magnus. There will be a mini-slate of gorgeous puppet shows at Pandora Gastelum’s Mudlark Public Theatre.

“InFringe Fest is intended for local artists first, but the number and quality of out-of-town submissions was just amazing,” Martin said. “And the visiting artists certainly helps broaden the perspective of the festival. I haven’t done a count, but I think it’s about half-and-half.”

Because the stakes are higher as an annual event, a number of New Orleans’ most effective theatre people have stepped forward to help run this edition in various capacities. Most prominent is the owner and artistic director of the Valiant Theatre and Lounge, Richard Mayer. Mayer serves as Director of Venue Relations, with Martin becoming the Director of Artist Relations. “Richard brings the professionalism to the table,” Martin admitted. “Soembody should.”

A complete lineup of confirmed productions and their assigned venues will follow by the end of the week, with photos. Ticket prices for InFringe Fest will be $10 per show, with a weekend pass available for $90 before November 1, $100 thereafter.
For more information, contact Press Liaison Bohrs Hoff,
For some additional background on InFringe Fest, see / The Times-Picayune

This daily newspaper regularly publishes features and reviews of locally produced and touring stage productions.

Check out Theodore P. Mahne’s roundup of his top plays and musicals of 2016.

The Advocate

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Gambit Weekly

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Ambush Magazine

From their website: “The Gulf South’s oldest and largest LGBT+ Entertainment/Travel Guide serving Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida since 1982.” They regularly publish reviews by Brian Sands


PopSmart NOLA

From their website: “Intelligent coverage of New Orleans culture by David Lee Simmons.”

You can listen to David’s 2016 roundup, including a discussion with theater critics from the Time-Picayune and Advocate here.


American Theatre

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