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What a year! What a festival! More than ever before, I am dumbfounded by what we were able to achieve with our amazing community of performers, volunteers, staff members, board members, community partners, sponsors and donors. Thank you all! Highlights included: Creating a new logo and overhauling our website to make it more dynamic, user friendly and easier to manage behind the scenes. Undertaking a major strategic planning process that returned to our town hall roots and welcomed as many voices as possible. Guaranteeing for the first time that family friendly programming and activities would be available with the launch of the Kids and Teen Fringes. Treating our benefit guests to an unforgettable performance of The Fig Leaf Wars. Landing our first morning TV spot - WGN's Around Town with Ana Belaval.

And that only skims the surface of what made this such a momentous year. Read on to celebrate what we accomplished together in 2015! -

Anne Cauley, Executive Director

COVER DESIGN: Grab Bag Media

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ChiFringe 2015

Fringe History

The Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) began in 1947 as a post-war initiative to reunite Europe. Attracted by the good crowds and focused press interest, six Scottish and two English companies turned up uninvited to perform on the edges of the EIF. The next year more companies showed up and reporter Robert Kemp of the "Edinburgh Evening News" unknowingly coined the name that now describes one of the most famous festivals in the world.

Round the fringe of the official Festival drama there seems to be a more private enterprise than before... I'm afraid some of us are not going to be often at home during the evenings." - Robert Kemp "

Soon the Fringe gained a large and loyal following, outstripping the mainstream EIF and becoming the largest arts festival in the world and the biggest tourist draw in the UK. Fringe migrated to Canada in the 1980s. Today Canada boasts festivals from coast to coast - including the Edmonton Festival, the largest in North America. In the 1990s, the United States embraced fringe. According to the United Association of Fringe Festivals, there are currently more than 30 active US fringe festivals. The first Chicago Fringe Festival took place on Sept. 1-5, 2010. We were founded with the idea that Chicago needs an uncensored and unjuried Fringe Festival designed to meet the needs of our city: Creating a fun, immersive place where local artists can interact with professional and amateur performers from all over the world. Encouraging performers and patrons to travel outside their comfort zone. Enabling patrons to see 5 or 6 shows in one day in one place. Helping lesser-known groups to find their audience. Furthering Chicago's place on the map as a major theatrical center.


Basics MISSION The Chicago Fringe Festival (CFF) unites daring theatregoers with emerging and boundary-pushing performing artists from around the world at an annual festival in Chicago.

OUR SHOWS Our shows are uncensored and un-juried.

25% are accepted on a first come, first served basis. The remaining 75% are selected through a lottery. Our festival is comprised of 50 performing groups, 25 local and 25 non-local. We employ a diversity sub-lottery to ensure that a variety of voices are represented at each festival.


Our ticket prices are reasonable in order to encourage non-traditional audiences to take a risk, try something new and see several shows in one day.

CFF also seeks to engage nontraditional audiences through a commitment to low ticket prices and outreach into artistically underserved communities.

Participants pay a $25 lottery fee upfront. Then, if selected, they pay a participation fee of $250-550 depending on whether they wish to perform 3, 5 or 7 times. In exchange, the artists receive: box office assistance; general festival marketing support; a low-risk opportunity to test material; access to a vibrant community of artists and patrons; and 100% of their net ticket sales.

Patrons pay a one-time festival admittance fee of $5. Then all shows are $10 or PayWhat-You-Can.




639 23 $1,780 21 HIGHEST PAYOUT $25,798 186 $




FRINGE CENTRAL: Fischman Liquors & Tavern, 4780 N Milwaukee

CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF JEFFERSON PARK Meeting Hall, 5320 W Gidding The Gym, 5320 W Gidding JEFFERSON PLAYHOUSE, 4766 N Milwaukee Ave THE GIFT THEATRE , 4802 N Milwaukee A Fringe Venue Sponsored by the Gale Street Inn WINDY CITY MUSIC THEATRE , 5340 W Lawrence




Under 18 18 - 25 26 - 35 36 - 45 46 - 55 56 - 65 65+

7% 12% 25% 17% 12% 23% 4%

African�American Asian Hispanic Mixed Race White

8% 1% 2% 11% 62%

Female Male Trans

60% 38% 1%



WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY Amazing quality writing; sincere performances; wide variety of shows; volunteer staff; access to snacks between shows; community; creativity; closeness of venues; introduction of Kid's Fringe; website overhaul." - A Patron


THE NUMBERS Corporate & Foundation Support grants, sponsorships, advertising, matching funds)




Festival Driven Revenue

tickets, merchandise, concessions)


Artist Driven Revenue

lottery fees, participation fees)


Individual Support

donors, special events)








USAFF Conference Fees




Festival Expenses


venues, equipment, front of house, printing, merchandise, concessions)

3,083 109,050 24,636


Artist Payout Marketing Administrative Overhead Staff Stipend Fundraising Payment to Cash Reserves TOTAL EXPENSES

27,078 $19,314 $18,090 $10,950 $2,603 $2,979 $




Local Fringe fans expressed a strong desire for more kid friendly programming at the Festival. In response, we launched a pilot Kids Fringe in 2015 - heralding a wonderful new era of community involvement for CFF. Kids Fringe featured three shows by two Chicago-based groups and one group from England along with a panoply of free programming: Workshops in commedia dell'arte, storytelling and acting. Guest appearances by Storybook Mom, Disney Princesses and a Bubble Buddy. Endless amounts of crafts and activities.

In October 2015, CFF hosted the United States Association of Fringe Festivals Conference in Jefferson Park. Fringe producers from all over the nation gathered at the Jefferson Playhouse to brainstorm, troubleshoot and celebrate. They also enjoyed a taste of Jeff Park via some of our great festival partners: Gale Street Inn, Rex Tavern, Fischman's, Teresa's 2, Fannie's Bakery and The Gift Theatre. Thank you to the following Fringes for participating: Atlanta Fringe, Boulder International Fringe, Fort Lauderdale Fringe, Indy Fringe, KC Fringe, FringeNYC, Orlando Fringe, Pittsburgh Fringe, PortFringe, Rochester Fringe, San Diego International Fringe, San Francisco Fringe, Great Salt Lake Fringe and St. Lou Fringe Festivals!

In December, we asked for stories of what Fringe means to our volunteers, patrons, artists, interns and staff. Here are a few of our favorites... CFF is exactly what Jeff Park needs, a jolt of energy & creativity but also an economic force. Each year I get to see 20+ shows - something that I previously would not have imagined possible in my own backyard. I can't wait for the 2016 festival! -

It is thanks to my Fringe family and their love, trust & support that I am who I am & where I am today. Stacey Schriber. CFF Staffer - 5 Yrs -

Bob Schaefer, Fringe Fan

CFF launched my career as a freelance stage manager.

I was looking to make connections & to gain experience. What the volunteer posting didn’t tell me is that I was stepping into a community of dedicated, talented & passionate theatre-makers that would become my future. In the past 16 months, six of the nine productions I worked on came directly from my work with CFF. I learned to rely on my own instincts & gained technical skills all while creating art with a mélange of artists. CFF is summer camp for adults. By the end, you’ve tried new things, created lasting friendships & inevitably gotten something tie-dyed. -

I look back at all that I've done (starting as an intern in 2011) with CFF & can point to every opportunity as a step to creating me.

Emily Hitmar, 2014 Volunteer & 2015 Production Assistant

I Fringe because of the people. They are risk-takers

mavericks & form an incredibly supportive community. From the


artists, patrons, volunteers in Chicago to the larger Fringe community around the world, everyone involved in Fringe is inspirational to me. Adrienne Guldin, CFF Staffer - 8 Yrs

THANK YOU to our generous donors, sponsors and partners! Diana Ewert Avra Fainer


Josh Markou LeighAnna Sodac


Anne Cauley Emily Brouilette Amanda Dodge

Justin Fyala Bridget Hennessy

Hannah Kardon Dan Madden & Tuny Mokrauer

FRINGE DESIGNERS Susan Brown Dean Everett

Tom & Suzy Jackson Robert "Bob" Schaefer

Amir Syed




Dean Angarone Danielle Boyke Eileen Cauley Michael Hans & Ellen Dietch Marguerite Harmon Daryl Hogg Tracy Holmes Tom Lok Sue Pajakowski Tracy Wray

Mary & Michael Bezanson Patricia Conroy Anneke Higgins Tom Lang

Nan Brouliette Carl Cheramie Pamela Conroy Jake Cowan Georgina King Allen Kodish Linda McMillan Geraldine Velarde Paul Wonder

ARTISTIC AWARDS VOLUNTEER PICKS Men Will Be Boys (One T Productions) Cocooned in Kazan (Royal Kung Foolery) ARTISTS' PICK Queer Heartache (Kit Yan Productions) PATRONS' PICK Man's Dominion (Pachyderm Productions) CODA (Two Hands Productions) SPIRIT AWARDS Punch and Judy (Fool Size Theatre) Cocooned in Kazan (Royal Kung Foolery) Queer Heartache (Kit Yan Productions) Men Will Be Boys (One T Productions) NO SWEAT AWARD Zipped and Pelted (Wulfden) TOP SEAT FILLERS BY VENUE Once Upon a Zombie Apocalypse (Kids Fringe) Ladies Night of the Living Dead (CCJP - Gym) William Shakespeare Lives (CCJP - Meeting Hall) Cocooned in Kazan (Jefferson Playhouse)

Peddler of Dreams: Two Feet, One Idea, Two Thousand Miles (Windy City Music Theatre) Cajun Face (Gift Theatre - Sponsored by Gale Street Inn)

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ChiFringe 2015


CFF would not be possible without its board and year-round volunteer staff along with its crew of festival staff, volunteers and interns. During the festival alone, volunteers put in an incredible 1,900+ hours to help set up, run and take down the festival. THANK YOU! Justin Fyala -






Amanda Dodge Josh Markou Emily Brouilette Diana M. Ewert Avra Fainer Bridget Hennessy Hannah Kardon Vincent Lacey Leigh Anna Sodac

Anne Cauley - Executive Director Adrienne Guldin - Managing Director Sarah Mikayla Brown - Artist Relations Director Mari DeOleo - Fringe Central Manager Amanda Dodge - Database Manager Cecilia Falter - Volunteer Coordinator Brian Foster - Technical Director Leslie Hull - Education Coordinator Alex Karas - Billeting Coordinator Vinnie Lacey - Project Manager Carrie Moulds - Project Manager Steph Niro - Kids Fringe Manager Caroline Ruark - Marketing Manager Stacey Schriber - Box Office Manager Adam Shead - Artist Liaison Rachel Staelens - Production Manager



Adam Schulmerich

Danielle Mosley

Technical Assistant Master Electrician -

Andrew Kennelly

Production Assistant -

Emily Hitmar

Website & Graphic Designer -

Charles Riffenburg, Grab Bag Media Public Relations -

James Juliano, SHOUT Media

ADVISORY BOARD Diana Ewert Todd and Marrakesh Frugia Deborah Granite Vincent Lacey Howard Lieberman Brian Loevner Holly Payton Tracy Wray

Business Intern -

Amber Southall

Box Office Intern Technical Intern -

Dylan Young

Stage Management Interns -

Deshawn Carthen Esmerelda Medina Sussan Pril Madeline Scott Joseph Wesoloski




VENUE MANAGERS Kevin Bowman Klaire Brezinski* Taylor Brown* Heather Carper* Danielle Cattie* Colleen Debelius Lilian Dodenhoff Amy Esposito* Fiona Garretson Leslie Hull Alex Karas Katie Leisner** Nicole Marquardt Khnemu Menu-Ra Stephanie Niro* Ray Peruyera** Anson Poe Cindy Schriber Orevia Vongsa Raymond Wenk


Francesca Atian Deshawn Carthen Amanda Dodge***** Bridget Fitzpatrick Samay Gheewala***** Emily Hitmar* Rebecca Kling** Darek Lane Yingduo Liu Fareine Suarez Joseph Wesolowski

JACK OF ALL TRADES Cristy Altamirano Shellie Disalvo Victoria Fox Esmeralda Medina Jacob Reyes Madeline Scott William Staelens Michelle Zlatanovski*

FRONT OF HOUSE TEAM Kathleen Barrett Bruce Bogart****** Stephen Bowie Pam Conroy** Patty Conroy* Shannon Daly** Barbara Dau Nathaniel Fishburn Deborah Granite***** Matt Hall***** Bridget Hennessy***** Anneke Higgins Caroline Hutchison Kelsey Johnson Alexandra Kavanau Andrew Kennelly Brianna Kratz Nathan Kuffel** Carrie Lawlor* Anna Lucero

Janet Magnuson T. Anthony Marotta Conor McShane Anthony Millspaugh Danielle Minard* Carrie Moulds Christie Nyssen***** Sussan Piril NaVada Reed Andrea Rubens Christina Sellountos Ian Staelens Eve Studnicka Pam Stutzman***** Frankie Suda Matthew Teister Jeff White Chamone Williams Steph Winberg Dylan Young Tooba Zafar


Lydia Hoover Kristi Keorkunian-Rivers Jim Kirkhoff Robert Taylor Andrea Zelen


Jaaron Boger Julie Ihlenfeldt*****


Sarah Garnter Christina Jennings Moriah Southall Destiny Thomas NaVada Reed

* = Indicates each previous year volunteered


AWARDS The Bruce Award for Excellence in Volunteering


The Will Award for Excellence in Tech/Production


Best Volunteer Handwriting





After a positive response to our pilot Kids Fringe in 2015, we are expanding our programming from three to five family friendly shows and a bonus Kids Fringe Day in a local park in the summer.

Reimagining TEEN FRINGE

We are expanding our Teen Volunteer program to further tailor the experience to each participant. Interested teens can continue to work with Kids Fringe, but could also help with other aspects of festival production -- assisting with front of house, stage management and more.


CFF is run entirely by volunteer staffers, some of whom receive a small stipend in exchange for their hundreds of hours of work each year. We continue to strive to build a sustainable model for our nonprofit in order to make working with Chicago Fringe a rewarding opportunity to both improve the Festival and also grow professionally.

Hosting a SPRING Benefit

The Benefit during the festival has always created a conundrum for festival-goers who want to support the Festival but also see shows. This year we will be producing a whole new benefit on May 19, 2016 that will alleviate this problem and give us all something to look forward to in between Fringes.


ChiFringe 2015 Annual Report  
ChiFringe 2015 Annual Report