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Cut & Paste podcast: A look back on 5 years of Fringe with departing founder Em Piro

Em Piro founded St. Lou Fringe in 2011.
Em Piro
Em Piro founded St. Lou Fringe in 2011.

From a modern-day operatic tribute to “The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg” to a woman interacting with a toy chicken, St. Lou Fringe offers entertainment that can’t be found on any other local stage.

But can the Fringe still fly without its original founder? Em Piro is leaving the organization after its fifth festival, which opens Friday.

In our latest Cut & Paste podcast, we talk with Piro about her collaborative approach, how the festival has grown in step with St. Louis’ arts community and the future of Fringe.

Here’s some of what you’ll hear Piro talk about in the podcast:

  • Why Fringe didn’t get off the ground when Piro first proposed it in 2007: “I was told, ‘Don’t do it; it won’t work because people don’t want to work together.’”
  • How the Kevin Kline Awards helped pave the way for Fringe: “They brought people together in a “way that wasn’t happening.”
  • The way in which local universities are part of the synergy that has made Fringe successful: “There is a lot of higher education that is focusing intentionally on collaborative work.”
Cut & Paste

Look for new Cut & Paste (#cutpastestl) podcastsevery few weeks on our website. You can also view all previous podcasts focusing on a diverse collection of visual and performing artists, and subscribe to Cut & Paste through this link.

Follow Willis and Nancy on Twitter: @WillisRArnoldand @NancyFowlerSTL

Please help St. Louis Public Radio find artists to feature on Cut & Paste. Tell us which artists and cultural themes deserve a closer look.

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.