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St. Louis Fringe Festival Wannabes Need To Act Fast

photo of Em Piro
Courtesy of Em Piro

If you or your group is seeking a spot in St. Louis' 2014 Fringe Festival of performing arts, you’d better have your fingers on the keyboard Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. sharp.

Last year, available slots for online submissions filled up in less than two seconds, according to Fringe founder Em Piro.

"We have really cemented our reputation with artists, and we are very proud of that," Piro told St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon.

Even if you squeeze your application in, you’ll have to wait another month to find out if you’re one of 30 acts to be staged. Final selections will be made Feb. 15 through a lottery.

Piro launched the midtown St. Louis festival in the summer of 2012, inspired by Fringes in other cities and around the world. In its second year, the St. Louis Fringe doubled its ticket sales and attendance to 2,000 visitors. Among last summer’s additions were PrideFest performances, a concert series featuring collaborations between local musicians and performing artists, and a series of children’s fare called Fringe Family.

Credit Provided by STLFringe

This year’s Fringe promises more pre-festival occasions such as a “Five-Fifths” dinner-theater performance based on "Alice in Wonderland" March 21, and more street performers at the actual event, June 18-22.

It costs an estimated $100,000 to present the festival and events leading up to it. The money comes from ticket sales (which benefit only performers and technicians), grants, donations and in-kind services. Fringe is looking for more financial support as well as more patrons in the city and county. Organizers plan to increase the festival's visibility with additional posters and handbills in targeted locations.

"The folks who are into this kind of thing, where do they eat, sleep and play? That's where we'll go," Piro said.

The Fringe is throwing a submissions-night party for prospective performers and the public on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Urban Chestnut Brewery.

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.