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STL Fringe Fest returns for its 11th year spotlighting local artists

Matthew Kerns and Mollie Amburgey
Miya Norfleet
St. Louis Public Radio
Matthew Kerns, St. Lou Fringe president and artistic director, and comedian Mollie Amburgey

Now in its 11th year, STL Fringe Fest continues to put a spotlight on independent artists in the region while bringing a variety of shows to the stage. As theaters adjust to changing protocols around the pandemic, the opportunity to enjoy performances, both as the entertainer and the audience, is precious.

“There's a passion for people to get out and be a part of the arts and be a part of culture again,” said Matthew Kerns, president and artistic director. “There's a dynamic excitement from the artists and the work is so diverse and exciting.”

This year’s STL Fringe Fest is the biggest it has ever been — more than 40 acts are scheduled over the weeklong festival, including burlesque, one-person plays and stand-up comedy. Among the acts is the premier of the all-women comedy show, “This is Casually Happening: A Comedy Showcase” starring Mollie Amburgey, a local comic and host of the podcast “Casually Mollie.”

STL Fringe Fest returns for their 11th year spotlighting local artists

“Matthew [Kerns] very graciously gave us the platform,” Amburgey said. “That’s what STL Fringe is all about: building up community, bringing light to people who might not normally have the stage.”

In the “fringe” spirit, the comedy showcase will include a new feature: storytelling.

“We actually added a storytelling option. Because the STL Fringe Festival offers that variety, of being to step outside the box, we will take five minutes of our set to talk about a time in our life where we thought, whether it’s funny or serious, ‘this is casually happening.’”

As Amburgey and the festival artists prepare for a week on the fringe, Kerns is excited to see the venues come to life.

“I hope that people laugh," Amburgey said. "I hope people cry a little, and their eyes are opened by a few things, and they are like, ‘Wow! I never saw that coming.’ I hope they walk away and they know [that] independent arts are so important.”

Related Event

What: STL Fringe Festival
When: Aug. 15-22
Where: Various locations
More information

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Miya is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air."