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Photo Coverage: Sideshow Fringe 2014 Thursday

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 opening night events, captured in a series of photographs by Wesley Duffee-Braun. If 2014 looked this good...what does 2015 have in store?

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 www.sideshowfringe.com or at all festival venues. A complete performance schedule and further information is available at www.sideshowfringe.com.

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.

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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)


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