Second Annual Sideshow Fringe Festival Comes Alive in August

2012 Sideshow Fringe Festival 1Sideshow @ Actors Bridge presents the second annual Sideshow Fringe Festival: Nashville’s Progressive Performing Arts Event. The four-day festival runs in the Belmont/Hillsboro neighborhood Aug. 2-5.

The Sideshow Fringe Festival unites progressive art and adventurous audiences featuring theatre and related live presentations with an emphasis on innovation. Dance, music, puppetry, aerial arts, juggling, circus arts, spoken word, poetry, performance art and more will also be showcased in this multi-venue setting with special free outdoor events and family friendly offerings.

2012 Sideshow Fringe Festival 2Through the production of the fringe festival, Sideshow @ Actors Bridge showcases Nashville’s diverse talent by creating opportunities for artists and organizations to self-produce something outside of the standard fare. “In the spirit of Sideshow, the fringe festival gives a home to emerging initiative and creativity. We are thrilled to share space and resources as well the lessons learned on our adventure in mounting new projects” says Jackie Johnson, co-director of Sideshow @ Actors Bridge.

In its second year, the festival expands to include more venues and more performances. “It has been truly astounding to see the growth from our inaugural year to this second festival,” says Jessika Malone, Actors Bridge Ensemble Artistic Associate and Sideshow Fringe Festival’s program director. “In less than a year, we’ve joined the United States Association of Fringe Festivals and we’re proud to be able to pay 50 percent of all box office proceeds back to participating artists. We’ve developed new partnerships with organizations like the Belcourt and we’re hosting exceptional nationally touring acts that we’re thrilled to bring to Nashville. We’re even working on an infrastructure to send Nashville artists to fringes across the U.S. and internationally.”

The over 50 events include: Aerial Fabricators present Think Air Collective; Amanda Card-McCoy presents Hamlet in 90 minutes or less; El Circo Cheapo Cabaret; David Barker presents Dodging Bullets; Little Stone Productions presents Gruesome Playground Injuries; Magic with Jason Michaels; Jeffrey Ellis presents Love, Loss & What I Wore; Aerial Dance Concert presented by FALL; Thandiwe Shiphrah presents And then God Created Woman; Puppetry with the Wild Goose Chase Theatre; Shawn Knight presents Irvin Berlin: An American Creation.

A complete festival schedule will be announced at on July 16.

2012 Sideshow Fringe Festival 3The festival will be housed in the Bongo Java After Hours Theatre, the Belcourt Theatre, and an outdoor stage on Compton Avenue sponsored by the Belmont-Hillsboro Neighborhood Association as well as Belmont University’s Troutt Theatre, Black Box Theatre and Little Theatre. Performances will range in running time between 10 and 90 minutes, encouraging audiences to see multiple shows in one day or to visit restaurants and merchants while strolling by street performances and hands-on art making.

Tickets: All tickets are $10 (with the one-time only purchase of the $5 Fringe button). The $5 Fringe Button allows guests to purchase tickets to any Fringe show over the 4-day festival and gain access to special events and discounts from local businesses. Proceeds from the fringe buttons go to cover festival expenses and to facilitate outdoor free programming and workshop series. Fringe six packs are also available. All purchases can be made online at or at the venues during the festival. Outdoor festival activities are free to the public.


Fringe theatre is a term used to describe theatre and related performing arts that are not of the traditional two or three act play format. The term comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which name comes from Robert Kemp, who described the unofficial companies performing at the same time as the second Edinburgh International Festival (1948) as a ‘fringe’, writing: ‘Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before’. The term has since been adopted by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and thence by alternative theatres and alternative theatre festivals.

2012 Sideshow Fringe Festival 4WHAT IS A FRINGE FESTIVAL? (From the United States Association of Fringe Festivals)

• Theater, dance, puppetry, spoken word and the like make up the Fringe core, but festivals often include film and visual arts elements. Fringes don’t have a focus on a single genre, but are a performing-arts smorgasbord
• Easy to participate in: Ticket prices are low for audiences and production fees are low for artists.
• Festivals: They last from just a few days to a few weeks and involve boatloads of people at multiple venues
• Original: Fringes feature a huge array of original material—sometimes by design, but usually because that’s what Fringes naturally do well
• Rapid-fire: Typically, tech is minimal and time is a factor at our festivals. Shows are often kept brief and technical requirements kept simple (minor sets, streamlined cues, nothing elaborate)

Sideshow @ Actors BridgeAbout Sideshow: Actors Bridge has always taken risks on emerging talent. In 2011, the commitment reached a new level with Sideshow, a ten-month training immersion program comprised of 12 emerging artists. Each ensemble produces three professional theatre events as a supplement to the Actors Bridge main stage season including the Sideshow Fringe. Sideshow is led by three of Nashville theatre’s most outstanding emerging professionals: Jessika Malone, Jackie Johnson and Mitch Massaro.

About Actors Bridge: Actors Bridge Ensemble is a professional theatre company and actor-training program celebrating over 15 years in Nashville. Our mission is to tell the stories that impact our community by producing provocative and socially relevant theatre, creating new theatrical works, showcasing emotionally authentic ensemble acting and fostering a nurturing environment where theatre artists at any stage in their development may train and assist in the production of professional theatre.

*Photos and logo art courtesy Sideshow @ Actors Bridge.

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