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I’ll never forget that moment in 2010 when I disbelievingly pulled back a tarp to see people, real people, buying tickets at the very first Chicago Fringe Festival. We have come a long way since then. We no longer have single plank benches as seating or tarps for walls. But the spirit remains the same. For five years we have selected 50 groups through an un-juried system. We have created venues out of people’s homes, churches and galleries. We have seen a volunteer go on to produce his very first solo show. We have seen food fights, politically charged burlesque, puppet shows, Mary Todd Lincoln, aerialists, acrobatics and a Doctor Who look alike. The beauty of fringe is the variety. The unpredictability. The community. We would not have gotten past a fringe in Chicago being a pretty good idea that "somebody should make happen someday" without a tremendously huge community of performers, volunteers, staff members, board members, community partners, sponsors and donors. This year we especially thank our departing Executive Director Vinnie Lacey. As ED, Vinnie amped up our marketing efforts, forged important new partnerships and helped to find a new welcoming home in Jefferson Park. Thank you Vinnie! Together we have pulled off five festivals. Now, it is time to think bigger. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what a Fringe Festival in Chicago is. Where do we want to be in five years? You can help us figure that out! Read on to celebrate what we accomplished in 2014 and get a sneak peak of what is coming in 2015. - Anne Cauley, Incoming Executive Director COVER PHOTOS (Top to Bottom): The Scientists (Setiawan Soekamtoputra), Black as Eye Wanna Be & Natural Novice (Ashley Deran), Ankle Boots (Jing JZhang)

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CFF2014 moments

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. Approximately ten festivals are currently held in Edinburgh in August. Collectively, the entire group is referred to as the Edinburgh Festival. 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 early 1990s, the United States embraced fringe. According to the United Association of Fringe Festivals, there are currently more than 25 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 un-juried 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.


CFF Basics 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. CFF also seeks to engage non-traditional audiences through a commitment to low ticket prices and outreach into artistically underserved communities.

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. 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 lowrisk opportunity to test material; access to a vibrant community of artists and patrons; and 100% of their net ticket sales. Our ticket prices are reasonable in order to encourage nontraditional audiences to take a risk, try something new and see several shows in one day. Patrons pay a one-time festival admittance fee of $5. Then all shows are $10 or Pay-What-You-Can.

2014 Festival VENUES


Fringe Central: Fischman Liquors & Tavern, 4780 N Milwaukee Deep Dish: Congregational Church of Jefferson Park Meeting Hall, 5320 W Gidding Early and Often: Magnolia Banquet Hall, 4751 N Milwaukee Ketchup-less: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N Milwaukee Lake Effect: Youth Company Chicago, 5340 W Lawrence Stinking Onion: Congregational Church of Jefferson Park Gym, 5320 W Gidding






Number of Performances








4,305 24.74

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

GENDER 2% 15% 27% 12% 11% 13% 15%

Female Male Trans

51% 34% 1%

RACE/ETHNICITY African�American Asian Hispanic Mixed Race White

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY Beautiful performances, Good price and I like the community vibe. I've never seen this many quality, unusual shows in such close proximity to each other. It's incredibly diverse, Personal and immediate.

8% 1% 2% 11% 62%



1. Oracle Productions, Chicago IL This House Believes That the American Dream is at the Expense of the American Negro (344 seats filled) 2. HartLife, NFP, Chicago IL Our Fair City Live (226) 3. Instinct Theatre, Washington DC Waiting for Orson (220) 4. Rebecca Kling, Chicago IL Something Something New Vagina (172) 5. Po' Chop, Chicago IL Black As Eye Wanna Be (166) 6. Lost Geneva Project, Chicago IL The Penelopiad (150) 7. Rally Theatre Company, Arlington Heights IL - Sessions (147) 8. Dream Theatre Company, Chicago IL - The Mechanical Man (140) 9. Merkins, Daniello & Sons, Brooklyn NY - The Scientists (138) 10. (TIE) Triptych, Chicago IL "they" workshop premiere / New Light Theater Project, New York NY - SIDD (128)

1. New Light Theater Project, New York NY - SIDD (106.67%) 2. Po' Chop, Chicago IL Black As Eye Wanna Be (92.22%) 3. Alrosa, Chicago IL Er'Man (91.11%) 4. Spartan Theatre Company, Chicago IL - 10 & 2 (90%) 5. Rebecca Kling, Chicago IL Something Something New Vagina (86%) 6. Lost Geneva Projec, Chicago IL The Penelopiad (83.33%) 7. Oracle Productions, Chicago IL The House Believes That the American Dream is at the Expense of the American Negro (81.9%) 8. (TIE) Merkins, Daniello & Sons, Brooklyn NY - The Scientists / Michael Kass, Los Angeles CA Ceremony (76.67%) 10. Quotidian Collective, Chicago IL - The Future (75.83%)


AWARDS Artists' Pick of the Festival: "Ankle Boots" by Kayla Lane Freeman & Sara Faye Richmond Unlimited Passers' Pick of the Festival: "Our Fair City" by Hartlife, NFP Interns' Pick - Most Creative Use of Venue: "Ceremony" by Michael Kass Volunteers' Pick of the Festival: "Body Image Project" by Danielle Pinnock Staff's Pick - Best Use of Nudity: "Black As Eye Wanna Be" by Po' Chop Staff's Pick - Best Swimsuit: "The Scientists" by Merkins, Daniello & Sons Photos by Keir Briscoe

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


$26,331 Festival Driven Revenue (tickets, merchandise, concessions) Artist Driven Revenue (lottery fees, participation fees)


Individual Support (donors, special events)




$28,686 Festival Expenses (venues, equipment, front of house, printing, merchandise, concessions) Artist Payout Marketing Administrative Overhead Staff Stipend Fundraising Payment to Cash Reserves

$28,173 $19,616 $12,695 $12,263 $2,247 $246



THANK YOU to our generous donors, sponsors and partners! Marlena Ascher Boz Bell Beth Ryan Bond Kerstin Brookman Sarah Brown Susan Brown Jennifer Callaghan Anne Cauley Lian Cheramie Stephanie Chu Steve Clark Sarah Colella Patricia Conroy Ricky Daigle Monica Dees Amanda Dodge Ryan Dodge Nancy Dribin Sophie Dye Andrew Edwards Dean Everett Diana Ewert MC Fabrications Cecilia Falter Brian Foster Kayla Freeman Dennis Frymrie Justin Fyala Mike Greiner John Grossbart Maggy Grossbart Matt Hall Kate Healy

David Helgerson Anneke Higgins Daryl Hogg Kate Ryan Hudson Kathleen Hudson Millicent Hurley Ironicus Tom & Suzy Jackson John Jennifer Pratt Johnson & Fred Johnson James Julien Elaine K Hannah Kardon Jon Kelland Joseph Kerins Nathan Kuffel Vinnie Lacey Mr. & Mrs. R.J. Lacey Brad JayhanLittle Brian Loevner Annie Logue Billy Lombardo Christine Longe Terri Luginbyhl Dan Madden & Tuny Mokrauer Joshua Markou Jamie Lee Marks David Marshall Will Matos Steven Mclellan Linda Mcmillan Joel Mensing

Caitlin Metzguer Hannah Michaelson Stephanie Miller Don Mokrauer Kevin Murray Stephen Osada Rahoe Pro & Rep Christopher Rathjen Jacob Reyes Sarah Reynolds Kenneth Roberts Carolyn Robertson Kara Rodriguez Pamela Ruedemann Bob Schaefer Margaret Schriber Stacey Schriber Marshall Shen Nery M Silva Sophronisba -Phoenix Rising Mammeleh Rachel Staelens Steve Star Mathew Stella Mandy Stertz Dayana Stetco Amir Syed Matthew Teister William Brian & Carolyn Wardman Kelli Wefenstette Kate Wolf Rissa Wray Megan Wray Maria Zeringue


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 1,600+ hours to help set up, run and take down the festival. THANK YOU! Justin Fyala - President Amanda Dodge - Secretary Josh Markou - Treasurer

Emily Brouilette Sarah Mikayla Brown Anne Cauley Diana M. Ewert Avra Fainer Adrienne Guldin Bridget Hennessy Hannah Kardon Vincent Lacey

Vincent Lacey - Executive Director Sarah Mikayla Brown - Artist Relations Director Anne Cauley - Volunteer Coordinator Amanda Dodge - Database Manager Adrienne Guldin - Business Manager Leslie MacLean - Fringe Central Manager Stacey Schriber - Box Office Manager Laura Scruggs - Intern Program Director Schoen Smith - Corporate Relations Manager Rachel Staelens - Production Manager Erik Tylkowski - Technical Director Tracy Wray - Project Manager

SEASONAL STAFF Lighting Designer - Cat Davis Master Electrician - Jessica Doyle Assistant Production Manager - Mari DeOleo Assistant Technical Director - Elaine Wesolowski-Olivia Audience Services Associate - Maggy Grossbart

Mckenzie Birmingham - Arts Administration Eric Somogyi - Marketing

Klaire Brezinski - Venue Management Shannon Daly - Fringe Central





Noah Baskes Tiffany Davis Sarah Dreis Matt Teister


Lead Designer - Jen Dorman Website Manager, Project Manager, Program Design - Charles Riffenburg/Grab Bag Media Public Relations - James Juliano, SHOUT Media

Kelly Field Michelle DiSalvo Sarah Mowaswes Michelle Locke Louise (Yingduo) Liu LucĂ­a Mier Jaimeson Werling Laura Sowers Sarah Muller Emily Ember


VOLUNTEERS Edgar Mota VENUE MANAGERS FRONT OF HOUSE TEAM Scott Myers Larry Baker Vivian Anochili* Stephanie Niro Klaire Brezinski Dan Aranda Christi Nyssen**** Sarah Mikayla Brown**** McKenzie Birmingham Shelby Quinn Benjamin Brownson Bruce Bode**** Maryellen Rieck**** Danielle Cattie Bruce Bogart**** Kenneth Roberts* Brian Foster* Heather Carper Ellen Sawyer Julie Ihlenfeldt**** Annete Cirillo Pamela Stutzman**** Adrienne Payette Patricia Conroy Lisa Vanausdall Ray Peruyera* Pam Conroy* Filtod Walker** Abhimanyu Singh Amanda Dodge**** Gail Weber Tracy Wray**** Anna Rose Epstein Melissa Wetherbee Cecilia Falter* STAGE MANAGERS Samay Gheewala**** PHOTOGRAPHERS Danielle Bennon Deborah Granite**** Leslie Adkins** Emily Hitmar Allen Green* Keir Briscoe Elaine Wesolowski-Olivia Karen Hart Joseph Delisi Bridget Hennessy**** Ashley Deran* JACK OF ALL TRADES Mary Jans* Noellia Pena Jared Kelley Candace Kowalczyk Kate Roth Ryan Madigan Nathan Kuffel* Setiawan Soekamtoputra Jacob Reyes* Carrie Lawlor Raymond Tambunan Michelle Zlatanovski Kathleen Medica* Jing Zhang Grant Minard Stephanie Moreno

* = Each previous festival volunteered



Neatest Handwriting by a Venue Manager: Brian Foster Gaff Tape/Able to Fix Anything: Matt Teister Most Likely to Be Seen On A Fringe Stage One Day: Mari DeOleo Smoothest in Time of Crisis: Tracy Wray Most Money Earned in Venue: Danielle Cattie The Will Staelens Award - Extraordinary Production Volunteer: Will Staelens Best Dressed/Best Cut T-Shirt: Stacey Schriber & Anne Cauley

Photos by Keir Briscoe

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CFF2014 moments



Launching a KIDS FRINGE

In response to requests from our neighborhood and to further our mission to make the arts available and accessible, we will pilot a family-friendly mini fringe, featuring five shows and a series of free workshops and talk backs.

Expanding Our Education Programming with a TEEN PROGRAM For interested high schoolers we will offer a new opportunity. This teen volunteer team will help to produce Kids Fringe, assisting with front of house, workshops, and marketing (I.e. Street teams).

Prioritize SUSTAINABILITY 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 have direct impact on the festival and grow professionally. .

Hosting the USAFF Conference

In October, fringe festival producers from all over the US will descend upon Jefferson Park for the 2015 United States Association of Fringe Festivals Conference. We can't wait to welcome them to Chicago!

Thinking Big - CFF2021 With five festivals under our belts, we want to daydream and brainstorm about what CFF could be in another five years. We will be going back to our roots with a series of town hall discussions to think about what role a fringe festival should play in Chicago.



more fringe is coming your way






ChiFringe 2014 Annual Report  
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