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Local fringe fest opens next week

The first annual Sideshow Fringe Festival will provide local artists the chance to bring their talents to the Belmont/Hillsboro neighborhood.

This four-day performing arts event will be Sept. 29 through Oct. 2 along Belmont Boulevard and Compton Avenue.

The goal of the inaugural festival is to connect innovative artists with adventurous audiences, Sideshow Fringe Artistic Director Jessika Malone said.

Fringe is a form of performing and theatrical art including puppetry, aerial dance, spoken word poetry, interactive art and juggling, as well as premiere performances of non-traditional plays.

There will also be an open forum in Belmont’s Black Box Theatre, What’s New Nashville, addressing how the artistic community is reaching out to the public about local creative events. This forum, along with other events, will give convocation credit to Belmont students. Check the calendar on BIC for a list of convocation- eligible festival events.

The Actors Bridge Ensemble’s Sideshow theatre ensemble, a new group of rising professional theatre artists will be hosting the festival. Belmont alumni, Jessika Malone, Jaclyn Johnson and Mitch Massaro, lead the group.

Other participating sponsors include the Belmont University Department of Theatre and Dance, Bongo Java, the Belmont/ Hillsboro Neighborhood Association as well as restaurants and businesses along Belmont Boulevard and Compton Avenue.

The festival is part of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission’s Artober Nashville. Americans for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts have made October 2011 National Arts and Humanities Month. The Metro Nashville Arts Commission is working with organizations in Nashville to showcase cultural activities through official Artober Nashville events such as the Sideshow Fringe Festival.

“We pride ourselves on helping emerging artists,” Malone said about the more than 50 artists who applied to be a part of the festival. Open to the public, events will not exceed 90 minutes so audiences can attend multiple performances as well as stop by participating restaurants, businesses, demonstrations and sidewalk sales. Sideshow Fringe Festival events will be held in Belmont University’s Black Box Theatre, Bongo Java After Hours Theatre, as well as on the streets of Belmont Boulevard and Compton Avenue.

These are the kinds of talents which, by themselves, might not have an audience, but in a festival setting, can really put on a show, Malone said.

Although many events are free, audiences can purchase a festival VIP pass for $50, a festival pass for $25 or tickets for individual shows for $10. For more information and a schedule of events, visit, follow Sideshow Fringe on Twitter at ABEsSideshow or like them on Facebook via Actors Bridge Ensemble.

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