In the Media

Press Releases & Materials

Press release, July 7, 2017:

“The Chicago Fringe Festival Joins The World In Commemorating World Fringe Day, Tuesday July 11”

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Older Press Releases

Press release, July 28, 2016:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Celebrates Its Seventh Year and Announces 2016 Schedule and Venues”
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Press release, July 15, 2015:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Line-Up Finalized for 2015 Festival, September 3-13”
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Press release, December 4, 2014:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Announces New Kids Fringe And The Application Dates For The 2015 Festival”
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Press release, August 1, 2014:

“Chicago Fringe Festival, presented by Blue Moon, Announces the 2014 Schedule and Venues”
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Press release, February 21, 2014:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Announces Its 5th Lottery Party Is Saturday, March 1”
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Press release, April 15, 2013:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Announces 2013 Festival Design Winner”
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Press release, February 20, 2013:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Announces New Location for 2013 Fringe Festival: Jefferson Park”
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Press release, March 13, 2012:

“Chicago Fringe Festival 2012 Lineup Chosen, Design Contest Upcoming”
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Press release, August 7, 2012:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Announces 2012 Schedule, Venues, and Special Events”
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Press release, August 24, 2011:

“Chicago Fringe Festival and HumanThread to Commemorate 9/11: Special events are scheduled throughout the Fringe Festival, September 1-11”
Download here

Press release, Nov 2, 2010:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Presents A Public Talkback, Gears Up For the 2nd Annual Fringe Binge, and Announces New ‘First Come, First Serve’ Slots for the 2011 Chicago Fringe Festival”
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Press release, August 10, 2010:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Announces Final Schedule & Fringe Central Details”
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Press release, July 17, 2010:

“Chicago Fringe Festival Announces 2010 Pilsen Linup & Venues”
Download here


Fringe In The Media

Fringe Fest Sees Bump In Ticket Sales Despite Protest, Stolen Equipment

“About 3,900 total tickets were sold for 187 performances, registering a 3 percent bump in attendance compared to last year’s festival, festival director Anne Cauley said. One of dozens of global offshoots of the 70-year-old Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Chicago festival intentionally promotes outside-the-box, avante-garde theater by choosing its plays through a random lottery instead of screening them.” Read entire article.

Media from 2015 Festival

Chicago Fringe Festival Celebrates Wild And Wacky Theater

By Elizabeth Diffin, Chicago Parent, August 28, 2017

“When you aren’t being awed by the kid-friendly performances, enjoy free activities and workshops, such as improv and movement classes, mask- and instrument-making programs, castle-building, bubbles, stories, games and all the other things kids love. And while the typical Fringe Festival offerings are uncensored, you can rest easy knowing your kiddos won’t be hearing naughty words or seeing anything racy. They’ll just be enjoying some not-so-typical performances and broadening their worldview.” Read entire article.

What Does It Take To Make A Great Fringe Festival?

By Peter Zimmerman, Anne Cauley, and Adrianne Guldin, WGN Radio, August 25, 2017

Executive Director Anne Cauley and Managing Director Adrienne Guldin preview the upcoming 8th annual Chicago Fringe Festival. Anne and Adrienne talk about how a fringe festival differs from other theater festivals, they way performers are chosen to participate in the festival, how the festival is targeted for adventurous audiences, the camaraderie of all the people that perform, other theater companies using the festival to test out work and the relationship the festival has with the city of Chicago. Read entire article.

63 Things to Do in Chicago in August 

By Jason Foumberg, John Hardberger, Britt Julious, Graham Meyer, Catey Sullivan, and Lauren Warnecke, Chicago Magazine, August 1, 2016
“At times, Chicago’s greater theater scene can resemble one giant, perpetual fringe festival. The official event, however, pulls some 50 groups from across the country. With 200 shows, Jefferson Park will become Chicago’s undisputed hub for comedy, tragedy, dance, and every theatrical permutation in between. Kid-friendly productions also abound.” Read entire article

Review of Kids Fringe at the Chicago Fringe Festival 

By Ada Grey, Ada Grey Reviews for You, September 7, 2015
“I think it is a cool idea to have a Fringe Festival for kids so that kids can see a festival that’s just for them that is not like some of the other kids theater out there that is more standard. This was more fun and unusual. I think even more children’s theater should be like this, where it is more than just fairy tales everybody has heard of put on by adults.” Read entire article

Chicago Fringe Festival offers new kid-friendly shows

By Keely Flynn, Chicago Parent, September 9, 2015
“Whether you’re planning on working your way through 46 shows in five venues, or keeping it lower key with your Under-12 crew, the Chicago Fringe Festival (with its stellar outreach programs and commitment to engaging nontraditional audiences) is worth supporting.” Read entire article

Festival Coverage: Chicago Fringe Festival

NewCity Stage, September 7, 2015
“The Jefferson Park-based festival works in collaboration with the neighborhood, giving Fringe the feel of a block party or street festival rather than the space-appropriating bacchanalia of Pitchfork or Riot Fest, where many residents witness the event from behind fences and barriers, hocking water and Gatorade to stoned white kids from the suburbs. This is a community-centric event, one where everyone is invited but only the truly adventurous choose to come.” Read entire article

At Chicago Fringe Fest, some 200 shows and no two alike

By Doug George, Chicago Tribune, September 2, 2015
“Performances start Thursday in the Jefferson Park neighborhood as part of the sixth annual Chicago Fringe Festival, with some 50 theater companies and solo artists from Chicago and around the world, each with their own particular (and sometimes peculiar) story to tell. For the first time this year is Kids Fringe, a contingent of performance groups for audiences ages 12 and younger.” Read entire article

Media from 2014 Festival

10 Things To Do

By Hank Sartin, Crain’s Chicago Business, August 28, 2014
“Every year, the Chicago Fringe Festival brings bold, strange experiments in theater to the city. This year, that means 50 works, 200 performances. It’s undeniably hit-and-miss: I’ve seen pieces that were awkward and one-note, but I’ve also seen hauntingly weird and weirdly haunting pieces that might otherwise never get to a Chicago stage.” Read entire article

‘Fringe’ festival features diversity of shows, performers

By Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times, August 27, 2014
“Just like last year, the 5th Annual Chicago Fringe Festival plays the Jefferson Park neighborhood centralized near the intersection of Milwaukee and Lawrence Avenues. It’s a neighborhood that Kling feels has been more convenient to audiences and to the 48 incoming theater companies that will be serving up more than 200 performances in five venues.” Read entire article

What? The Fringe! Fifth Annual Fest Presents Fifty Shows At Five Venues

By Raymond Rehayem, New City Stage, August 25, 2014
“Look, up on the Northwest Side, it’s the Fifth Annual ChicagoFringe Festival. What was once the very outskirt of the Blue Line is now an emergent theater hood per festival executive director Vinnie Lacey: ‘Theater happens everywhere in Chicago.To call any place a theater district is laughable to me. We found a home in Jefferson Park that has really revitalized the festival.'” Read entire article

Media from 2013 Festival

Fringe Fest Flier with Bondage Pic Was Faked to Hurt Alderman, Allies Say

By Margaret Littman, DNAinfo Chicago, September 5, 2013
“A flier received by more than 100 homes in the 45th Ward invited them to bring their “fetish, perversions and imagination” to the Chicago Fringe Festival. It includes an image of a dominatrix straddling a kneeling man — and includes a logo from the office of Ald. John Arena (45th).”
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It takes all kinds: Fringe Fest is 50 shows in Jefferson Park

By Nina Metz and Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune, September 4, 2013
“Now in its fourth year, the Chicago Fringe Festival moves from Pilsen to Jefferson Park, offering 50 shows at five venues through Sept. 8, along with ancillary shenanigans (lady arm wrestlers and an “air sex competition”) at Fringe Central, aka Fischman Liquors and Tavern.”
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Chicago Fringe Festival 2013 reviews: Not Another Teen Solo Show, Men and Dogs, Phenomena

By Keith Glab, Chicago Theater Beat, September 2, 2013
“For a long time, it could be said that there were more ways to get to Jefferson Park than things to do while you’re there. While the incredible accessibility of the Blue Line, Metra, two expressways, and a terminal housing a dozen bus routes remains, the quip about a lack of activities is no longer valid, admirably proven as the Taste of Polonia overlaps with the fourth annual Chicago Fringe Festival, which makes its first appearance in this revitalized Northwest Side neighborhood.”
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10 Things to do this weekend

By Margaret Littman, Crain’s Chicago Business, August 29, 2013
“#4. CHICAGO FRINGE FEST, an annual festival that focuses on offbeat theater in neighborhoods that aren’t traditionally theater-heavy, starts this weekend and runs through Sept. 8. Works will be shown in venues in Jefferson Park, including Fischman’s Liquors and Tavern and the Gift Theatre. Aug. 29 – Sept. 2, see website for locations and showtimes.”
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Performers ready to act up at Chicago’s Fringe Festival

By Myrna Petlicki, Franklin Park-Herald Journal, August 28, 2013
“Fifty companies and individuals from across the country will stage shows for the Chicago Fringe Festival. Three suburban residents are eagerly awaiting their chance to be part of this sketch performance/theater showcase.”
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Scottish Play Scott: Queer Fringe Fun

By Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times, August 27, 2013
“The Chicago Fringe Festival is back, and the many artists behind about 50 different lottery-invited stage shows are doing their utmost to get as many ‘bums on seats’ as possible during its run from Thursday, Aug. 29, through Sunday, Sept. 8. For instance, a ‘strip Q&A session’ will conclude transgender performance artist and writer Rebecca Kling’s latest show of personal experiences and humorous anecdotes called ‘Get Ready for the Vagina Fairy.'”
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Chicago Fringe Festival tries a change in scenery

By Hedy Weiss, Chicago sun-Times, August 25, 2013
“The spirit and content will not change. But the location is different. That’s the essential news about the 2013 Chicago Fringe Festival, this city’s still-fledgling but hugely ambitious answer to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and to a slew of other “at- or off-the-edge” celebrations of all things theatrical.”
Read entire article

Fringe Fest actors look to residents for lodging

By Brian Nadig, Northwest Side Press, July 3, 2013
“Organizers of the Chicago Fringe Festival are asking residents to open their homes to the out-of-town actors who will be performing in the Jefferson Park commercial district during the 2-week event.”
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Chicago Fringe Festival makes plans for end of summer fest

By Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times, April 15, 2013
“Summer is still a dream away, but the powers that be at the 2013 Chicago Fringe Festival, which is already gearing up for its fourth season, are deep into the planning stage. Slated to run Aug. 29 – Sept. 8 at various locations in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood (a new neighborhood for the event), the Festival has already booked 50 performance groups from Chicago, around the United States, the United Kingdom and Austria.”
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Chicago Fringe Festival Finds a New Home in Jefferson Park

By Heather Cherone, DNAinfo, February 26, 2013
“The Chicago Fringe Fest’s plans to move to the Northwest Side after three years in Pilsen will give the area’s burgeoning arts scene a shot of adrenaline, supporters said Monday.”
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Media from 2012 Festival

A Worthy Niche: Roundup of the Chicago Fringe Festival 2012

by Johnny Oleksinski, New City, September 18, 2012
“Chicago, a theater city already presenting an imposing number of plays every season, has a skewed view of the ‘fringe’ compared to many of its fellow metropolises. The city’s cavalcade of small-but-mighty storefront companies, which might just qualify as fringe elsewhere, are but steps away from being the establishment here. So, the Chicago Fringe Festival fills a unique, worthy niche in the city’s theater culture—presenting what is essentially the fringe of the fringe…”
Read entire article

The Weekend Guide

Daily Candy, August 30, 2012
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Don’t-Miss List Aug 30-Sept 5: Chicago Fringe Festival

by Kelly Kleiman & Jonathan Abarbanel, Dueling Critics, August 30, 2012
“Edinburgh has one, New York has one, so why not Chicago? For the third time, the Chicago Fringe collective is presenting a heady mix of solo shows, dance, theater and performances that defy categories. The 2012 line-up features 24 Chicago-area acts, 22 more from other parts of the USA, plus artists from South Korea, Canada and France. In all, they will offer 200+ performances showcasing 180 performers.”
Read entire article

Fringe Without Borders

by Sharon Lurye, Chicago Reader, August 28, 2012
“Some think of Chicago’s theater scene as one big, ongoing fringe fest. But in 2010 Sarah Mikayla Brown and Vinnie Lacey went ahead and founded the Chicago Fringe Festival anyway. This year’s 11-day extravaganza presents 48 shows at a variety of Pilsen venues. Here’s a little of what looks intriguing to us.”
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‘The Unmasking’ reveals grief, triumph

by Bruce Ingram, Franklin Park Herald-Journal, August 23, 2012
“Everyone has their own individual way to process grief and traumatic change, even if that means just ignoring them. Allen Green didn’t ignore all the pain he felt when Karen, his wife of 25 years, died after a sudden illness five years ago. Instead, he worked his way through it. Then he wrote a play about it.”
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On the edge — Chicago’s Fringe Festival showcases ‘organized chaos’

by Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times, August 22, 2012
“Where to begin? At first glance, the third annual edition of the Chicago Fringe Festival — the elaborate exercise in organized chaos and on-the-edge expression running Aug. 30-Sept. 9, at multiple venues in the Pilsen neighborhood — seems overwhelming.”
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Sex, Talking Sandwiches and More at 2012 Chicago Fringe Festival

by Robert Bullen, Choose Chicago, August 16, 2012
“Now in its third year, the Chicago Fringe Festival in the Pilsen neighborhood continues to bring emerging and experimental talent to the city. And if the previous two years are any indication, the 2012 Chicago Fringe Festival, taking place August 30 – September 9, will be a real grab bag of entertainment.”
Read entire article

Media from 2011 Festival

9/11 Remembrance at the Chicago Fringe Festival

by Daniel Gerzina, Time Out Chicago, Sept 18, 2011
“The Chicago Fringe Festival, the Pilsen-based indie performance art extravaganza, concluded on this prescient anniversary. The day was highlighted by a powerful yet hopeful event organized by the Pilsen non-profit HumanThread. Entitled American Armistice: The Epoch of the PeaceMakers, it featured readings, spoken word, live music, guest speakers, and art exhibits all focused on peace, unity, and moving forward with open minds and hearts as Americans.
Read entire article

The Chicago Fringe Festival’s second year

by Asher Klein, Chicago Reader, Sept 1, 2011
“People are always doing awesome, out-there stuff with puppets at fringe festivals—my first fringe experience involved tiny ninjas acting out Hamlet. Among the 47 entries in this year’s Chicago Fringe Festival is an Avenue Q-style staging of George Romero’s zombie classic, Night of the Living Dead, by Milwaukee’s Angry Young Men Ltd.”
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Mapping out the Fringes

by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times, Aug 31, 2011
“‘The scope of this year’s festival stems from your success in 2010,’ said associate producer Vinnie Lacey in a statement. ‘This year we’ve got more performers and show times slated. Our growth demonstrates how electrifying Fringe is for audiences and performers alike, and we’re thrilled to turn Pilsen into the city’s prime location for freewheeling and diverse theatrical revelry again.'”
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Chicago Fringe Festival 2011 preview

by Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago, Aug 31, 2011
“This week the Chicago Fringe Festival returns to Pilsen for its second year. The fest is expanded this time to two weeks and 50 shows, evenly divided between Chicago-based artists and out-of-town entrants from the fringe circuit. The gamble of not knowing what to expect is part of the Fringe’s appeal, but here are a few of the shows this go-round that caught our eye.”
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Living on the Fringe: Chicago Fringe Festival 2011

by Jessie Stegner, Up Chicago, Aug 29, 2011
“Going into their second year, CFF continues to be a fantastic example of the same ideals held by the original Fringe. The 2011 event will consist of 50 different hour-long productions by not only local companies, but also national groups and a few even from out of the country. CFF prides itself on showcasing acts that take bold risks. ‘These may be formal risks,’ Marketing Director Tim Mullhaney explains, ‘like the way in which they present their theatrical material.'”
Read entire article

Chicago Fringe Festival to Offer Uncensored, Unconventional Theatre in Pilsen

by Lucia Anaya, The Gate, Aug 24, 2011
“On the Map, Under the Radar. That’s the theme of the 2nd annual Chicago Fringe Festival, whose underground showcase offers uncensored, unconventional, eclectic theatre performances that amasses itself into the worldwide Fringe theatre movement.”
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Theater on the Edge

from Chicago Like A Local, Aug 23, 2011
“If you’re looking for a real taste of Chicago’s storefront scene, check out the Chicago Fringe Festival, which invites emerging and established performing artists from Chicago, the U.S. and beyond to showcase their work around the Pilson neighborhood.”
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Chicago Storefront Theater Preview

by Jessie Stegner, Up Chicago, Aug 29, 2011
“Going into their second year, CFF continues to be a fantastic example of the same ideals held by the original Fringe. The 2011 event will consist of 50 different hour-long productions by not only local companies, but also national groups and a few even from out of the country. CFF prides itself on showcasing acts that take bold risks. ‘These may be formal risks,’ Marketing Director Tim Mullhaney explains, ‘like the way in which they present their theatrical material.'”
Read entire article

Media from 2010 Festival

Chicago Fringe Festival Includes Dance in Eclectic Roster

by Eight Forty-Eight‘s Dance Critic Lucia Mauro, WBEZ 91.5, Aug 31 2010
“Three emerging Chicago dance companies take an adventurous approach to the physical and emotional aspects of dance. Rooted in a no-holds-barred post-modernism, these groups meticulously deconstruct matters of the head and the heart.”
Read entire article/listen to podcast

Chicago Fringe Steps Into High Gear

by Kerry Reid, PerformInk, Aug 27 2010
“The trickles of talk about the first annual Chicago Fringe Festival exploded this week, and Sarah Mikayla Brown is a little blown away by it.”
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Finally, a Chicago Fringe Festival

by Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader, Aug 26 2010
“Is this what America’s best theater town’s been missing? Sarah Mikayla Brown and Vinnie Lacey think so.”
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Fringe Binge: Sample solos, satires and step dancers at the new Chicago Fringe Festival

by By Kris Vire, TimeOut Chicago, Aug 26-Sept 1 2010
“When I spoke to Sarah Mikayla Brown a year ago, she laid out a vision for an annual event that would join the burgeoning network of fringe fests across the U.S. and Canada. The Chicago Fringe Festival would bring in performers from around the country to interact with our homegrown artists and audiences; an uncurated selection process would bolster the sense of discovery she’d found at fringe fests in other cities.
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Benefits of Benefits

by Kerry Reid, “Behind the Curtain”, PerformInk, July 9 2010
“Though the idea of a fringe festival in Chicago seems a bit of a coals-to-Newcastle proposition, the Chicago Fringe Festival is raring to go, September 1-5 in Pilsen.”
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Dancers at Work Forum: New Directions in Performance Presentation

Chicago Artists Resource, February 8 2010
Listen to the Podcast

The Edge of Fringe in Chicago

Midwest Media Now ep:023, January 19 2010
On the edge of creative performance you will find the fringe. Mikayla Brown and Vinnie Lacey of Fringe Chicago talked with me about their upcoming event slated for the beginning of September.
Listen to the Podcast

Arts Professional Story: Sarah Mikayla Brown, Chicago Fringe Festival

January 1 2010
How and why was the Chicago Fringe Festival conceived?
Read entire article

I Just Got Here Blog

December 7 2009
Mikayla Brown, executive producer of the Chicago Fringe Festival, joined me to talk about the origins and vision of the festival and the nuts-and-bolts for prospective performers.
Listen to the full podcast here

Theater Community Building

by Suzy Evans, Chicagoist, December 1, 2009
“The Chicago Fringe Festival, slated to debut in Pilsen next September, released applications to be a part of the event today. Festival organizers will choose participants by a lottery system, while still ensuring geographic and international diversity.”
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Does Chicago want a fringe fest? We’ll find out next year

by Kris Vire, TimeOut Chicago, Issue 236 : Sep 3 – 9, 2009
“In major cities across North America, the summer season is fringe season. Fringe festivals of low-budget, high-enterprise performing arts take place from June to September, from Seattle to Orlando. New York’s and Indianapolis’s just concluded; Philadelphia’s and San Francisco’s start this week. And Chicago’s…doesn’t exist. Are we missing out?”

“Sarah Mikayla Brown thinks so. As managing director of the now-defunct Tantalus Theatre Group, Brown traveled with the company’s show Dreadful Penny’s Exquisite Horrors to last year’s Minnesota Fringe and FringeNYC. “It was such an awesome experience,” she says, that she was struck by Chicago’s deficit. When Tantalus dissolved, she decided to found her own fest. On July 24, the Chicago Fringe Festival (CFF) was incorporated as a nonprofit, with a goal of producing its first festival in September 2010.
Read entire article