Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Photo Coverage: Sideshow Fringe 2014 FRIDAY

Nashville's acclaimed Sideshow Fringe Festival gets under way next Thursday, so what better way to get ready for this year's event than by looking back at 2014's Friday night events, captured in a series of photographs by Wesley Duffee-Braun. If 2014 looked this good...can you imagine what 2015 is gonna look like?

Led by program director Jessika Malone and technical director Mitch Massaro - and named by CNN as one of "most intriguing festivals" in the "Best of the U.S." - Nashville's Sideshow @ Actors Bridge unveils its fifth annual slate of performances for July 16-19.

Founded in 2011, The Sideshow Fringe Festival unites progressive art and adventures audiences featuring theatre and related live presentations with a special emphasis on innovative formats. Theatre, dance, music, puppetry, aerial arts, spoken word, comedy, and more are showcased in this multi-venue setting with special free outdoor events and family friendly offerings.

According to Malone, performances range in running time between 10 and 90 minutes, which she said should encourage audience members to see multiple shows in one day or to visit restaurants and merchants while watching street performances and participating in hands-on art making.

Performances in the 2015 festival, Massaro says, will take place at Belmont's Black Box Theatre and the Actors Bridge Studio with secret "pop-up" performances in unexpected locales. Tickets are $15 (50% of all box office proceeds return directly to participating artists) and may be purchased at or at all festival venues. A complete performance schedule and further information is available at

RETURING FAN FAVORITE EVENTS: The 5th annual First Time Stories @ The Fringe (now a monthly happening at Actors Bridge that first began at the inaugural fringe in 2011), #ThrowbackThursdayLive, (where Nashville notables read from their teenage journals and celebrate their former selves in a multimedia atmosphere that includes MTV Unplugged style renderings of once popular songs), Script Happens (our annual short play-making project where teams converge to devise and debut a new script within the festival's timeframe).

INCREDIBLE AERIAL PERFORMANCE: Aerial is exploding in the Black Box this summer with a trio of groups taking to the sky and challenging our perceptions of what's possible. Acts include five-time festival featured artists FALL presenting a new live collaboration with local harpist Timbre and her band, Suspended Gravity presenting Evolution In The Air featuring a variety of circus apparatus work as well as ground performance, and Altitude featuring frequent Aerial Fabricators collaborator Lizard Walker and her mother, Thérèse Keegan, accompanied by aerial violinist Alicia Enstrom, Melinda Lio on the traditional Chinese pipa, and Karen Renée Robb, sound healer and founder of Frame Drum Wisdom.

FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENTS: A block of four unique programs that are appropriate for the whole family on Saturday afternoon will run the spectrum of imagination, Malone says. Acts include SENSE Theatre (pairing children on the Autism Spectrum with their typically developing peers to create original theatrical offerings), Zero The Clown (including mask, French mime, and American Vaudeville stylings paired w/ music and dance), local alternative classical ensemble Chatterbird (performing a favorites from their inaugural season by as well as a few new works for flute/recorded theremin and a tribute to jazz great Charlie Haden) and the return of the wildly successful puppet duo, Sailors & Maidens, who will present their delightful Shmergas Bird (a collection of whimsical original short form vignettes of puppetry, music, dance and a signature blend of comedy and sweetness to invite the audience into their world of play).

NATIONAL ACTS: Sideshow presents "the best of what the national fringe festival touring circuit has to offer" and this year opens the Actors Bridge studio to both Tricia Rose Burt and her smash hit solo show fresh from NYC Fringe acclaim, How To Draw A Nekkid Man as well as Dr. Pete Ludovice's New Orleans Fringe favorite, Feel The Power of The Dork Side, which incorporates science and stand-up comedy in a unique blend of fun theatricality.

FRINGEY FUN: The fringe is all about exploding the box and innovating new ways of working, and will feature the world premieres of new experimental work such as The Guardian: I Am Edward Snowden (created by local performance artist, Matthew Marcum, based on major media coverage on the Snowden revelations) and the hilarious BEING BETTER AT BEING: TOOLS TO TRANSFORM YOUR MODERN LIKE - AN INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE SYMPFORIUM (which must be seen to believe).

HISTORY OF FRINGE: 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 has been adopted by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and by alternative theatre festivals internationally.

About Actors Bridge: Actors Bridge Ensemble is a professional theatre company and actor-training program celebrating 20 years in Nashville. The company's 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.

Regional Awards

From This Author - Jeffrey Ellis

Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 35 years. In 1989, Ellis and his partner l... (read more about this author)

Review: Nashville Story Garden's Premiere of Lucy Kirkwood's THE WELKIN Will Have Audiences TalkingReview: Nashville Story Garden's Premiere of Lucy Kirkwood's THE WELKIN Will Have Audiences Talking
September 24, 2022

Nothing engages the theaterati in Nashville and the surrounding provinces as the production of an eagerly anticipated new play no one’s done before in these parts, but about which we’ve read glowing reviews. The very promise of something new to energize the cultural zeitgeist – particularly under the aegis of Nashville Story Garden (a creative collective whose work always generates major buzz); something new and unseen from across the pond which will provide a showcase for the remarkable talents of some of the region’s most respected actors – is virtually guaranteed to be a “must-see” for a theater-going public more accustomed to titles with which they are already quite often overly familiar.

LeLand Gantt Brings RHAPSODY IN BLACK to TPAC This Weekend for Three PerformancesLeLand Gantt Brings RHAPSODY IN BLACK to TPAC This Weekend for Three Performances
September 23, 2022

As with most intelligent and clever actors struggling to find paying work during difficult times, LeLand Gantt readily admits that he was inspired to create Rhapsody in Black, which has been described as “a powerful personal narrative on racism, identity, and self-image” to provide some work for himself, allowing him to “stay in town to do more tv and film.” Now, however, as acclaim for his one-man show continues to grow, he’s finding himself “out of town” – he's based in New York – to give theater-goers all over the country a chance to see his the result of his creativity on his personal journey to transcene racism in America.

Review: Nashville Repertory Theatre's 38th Season Opens With RENT At TPAC'S Polk Theatre Through 9/25Review: Nashville Repertory Theatre's 38th Season Opens With RENT At TPAC'S Polk Theatre Through 9/25
September 21, 2022

Thanks to the rousing performances of director Micah-Shane Brewer’s talented company who have brought the show to vivid life for Nashville audiences, Rent provides a noteworthy opening to the company’s 38th season. Performed with commitment and sharp focus by a cast of young performers, this revival of Rent proves the show’s timelessness, the score’s resonance and the story’s relevance well into the 21st century.

Review: World Premiere of New DIARY OF ANNE FRANK Adaptation at Nashville Children's TheatreReview: World Premiere of New DIARY OF ANNE FRANK Adaptation at Nashville Children's Theatre
September 21, 2022

Wendy Kesselman’s new adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank – which is based upon the acclaimed 1955 play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and is an update of her 1997 script which has been widely produced since – is given a superb world premiere production by Nashville Children’s Theatre, which adds luster to the original work and makes it more accessible to contemporary audiences in director Ernie Nolan’s new iteration onstage through October 2.

Review: Roxy Regional Theatre's THE COLOR PURPLE is 'Emphatically, Beautifully, Electrifyingly Sung'Review: Roxy Regional Theatre's THE COLOR PURPLE is 'Emphatically, Beautifully, Electrifyingly Sung'
August 15, 2022

The production of The Color Purple, now onstage at the Roxy, is without doubt the most emphatically, beautifully and electrifyingly sung musical I’ve seen at the historic theatre on the corner of First and Franklin in downtown Clarksville over the past three decades. Directed with confidence by Broadway veteran/Belmont University alumnus/Austin Peay State University professor Deonte Warren, with the spirited choreography of Ebone Amos and one of the finest, most talented casts ever to grace the stage, The Color Purple clearly ranks as one of the best shows in the company’s 39-season history (number 40 gets under way next month).