ISU Theatre’s first Student Fringe Festival will have something for everyone during its four days of student-produced work this spring. With innovative offerings ranging from interactive cabaret to a short horror film, the free festival runs April 27-30. Performances will be held at multiple locations, including Fisher Theater, the Memorial Union, the Student Innovation Center, and the Ames Public Library.
Fringe festivals exist worldwide and often showcase original work in various genres. These performing arts-focused events also tend to be accessible experiences, open to both amateur and professional work and with low-cost or free admission.
Tiffany Antone, assistant teaching professor of theatre and the festival’s faculty facilitator, said fringe festivals help theatremakers develop new work, grow their networks, and build audiences. Providing students with a similar professional experience was top of mind for Iowa State’s Department of Music and Theatre.
“We wanted to give our students a fringe experience on campus to help them prepare for the professional festivals they will encounter after graduation,” Antone said. “It’s a great way for young artists to find out what they’re capable of creating on their own, but still in a supportive environment.”
In February, ISU Theatre announced a call across campus for Fringe Festival projects. Any Iowa State student from any major could submit a project proposal for a performance-related work or event less than 60 minutes in length. ISU Theatre also posted a call board for students seeking collaborators for their projects.
“I’m very excited about the variety of projects our Fringe Fest will feature,” Antone said. “We have several new plays, a new musical, a fashion show, a stand-up comedian, and several of our students will also be singing and performing medleys. There’s also a student film, which several of our graduating seniors filmed. It’s exciting to see our students taking ownership of their craft and putting themselves out there like this!”
With five locations, 12 festival selections, and a dizzying array of set-up needs, a team of four student producers has been busy prepping for the festival.
Student producer Teddy White (’24 world languages and cultures) said each student director is working hard to bring their projects to life, and it’s exciting to see how it will all come together.
“My favorite part about the Fringe Fest is seeing the immense creativity that our community has,” White said. “Hearing everyone’s proposals and seeing the diversity is so beautiful to me! This project has expanded my skills in being a leader. I’ve never produced anything before, so it’s helped me recognize what needs to happen if I want to produce an event.”
Trevor Fitzpatrick (’26 civil engineering) is producing two festival selections during the rehearsal phase and will be helping with all events throughout the festival. Fitzpatrick said the event has been a unique professional development opportunity.
“My favorite part is getting to see and talk to everyone that is involved and seeing their different projects and skills,” Fitzpatrick said. “It has helped me grow as a leader with my communication skills and organization.”
All festival events are free admission. Some performances contain adult language and content. The complete festival schedule, with all times and locations, is available on the ISU Theatre website. Selections as described by their creators are listed below.
21 Chump Street: The Musical
Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Based on the story by Robbie Brown, which originally appeared on WBEZ’s This American Life.
Directed by Marlowe Hamilton
In this short musical comedy by Lin-Manuel Miranda, a boy named Justin Laboy finds himself enamored with his new classmate Naomi. This cautionary tale tells the dangers of peer pressure and conformity as Justin tries everything he can to gain Naomi’s favor.
Location and time: Fisher Theater – Friday, April 28 (8:15 p.m.) / Saturday, April 29 (9:15 p.m.) / Sunday, April 30 (3:00 p.m.)
Written by Dominick Ervelli, Matthew Hennessey, Samuel Huhn, and Liam Ray III
Directed by Shannon Garrels
Competition is a killer, and on one Halloween weekend, while rehearsing for a horror film audition, a troupe of up-and-coming thespians discover this truth the hard way: They’ll have to give the performance for their lives. NOTE: Rated R for bloody horror violence, terror, language, and gratuitous monologuing.
Location and time: ISU Student Innovation Center Room 2260 – Friday, April 28 (7:00 p.m.) and Saturday, April 29 (7:00 p.m.)
Count Me In
A treble-voice a cappella ensemble that draws its repertoire from a wide variety of popular music, some written for a cappella groups and some original arrangements.
Location and time: ISU Memorial Union M-Shop – Friday, April 28 (7:30 p.m.)
Rylee Foreman is a solo artist who plays pop and indie-pop music. They have released an EP and other singles on their SoundCloud and will perform in upcoming music festivals.
Location and times: ISU Student Innovation Center Stepatorium – Friday, April 28 (8:45 p.m.) and Fisher Theater – Saturday, April 29 (7:30 p.m.)
Join the Iowa State University Department of Music and Theatre for fellowship and performances.
Location and time: ISU Memorial Union M-Shop – Friday, April 28 (5:00 p.m.)
Just me playing a few acoustic tunes that I love a lot.
Location and times: ISU Student Innovation Center Room 2260 – Saturday, April 29 (8:15 p.m.) and ISU Student Innovation Center Stepatorium – Sunday, April 30 (3:30 p.m.)
Written by Valentine Chenus, Liam Ray III, and Bobbie Buie
Directors: Cameron Thrap, Caitlin Allen, and Kaushik Raghavan
Same space. Same world. Three original scenes written by three different playwrights take place in the lobby of the Hotel Kurma in a small city in western Montana.
Location and times: Fisher Theater – Thursday, April 27 (7:00 p.m.) / Saturday, April 28 (8:00 p.m.)
ISU Choose Cabaret
Directed by Ashton Hale
ISU Choose Cabaret is a project that allows actors to perform songs they might not often get a chance to, but with a twist. While there will be guaranteed songs in our performances, the audience can actively engage and select duets with randomly selected actors to perform songs each night! U get to choose!
Location and times: Fisher Theater – Friday, April 28 (8:45 p.m.) / ISU Student Innovation Center Stepatorium – Saturday, April 29 (7:00 p.m.), and Sunday, April 30 (2:00 p.m.)
Ani Lilan: My Life is a Comedy
“Ani Lilan: My Life is a Comedy” is a stand-up by Ani Lilan, who talks about her experiences in college, including being hustled by a Girl Scout and making fun of someone who took eight shower heads. Also includes stories of growing up with two grandparents, a single father, and having the worst luck when it came to vacations … and pretty much everything.
Location and times: ISU Student Innovation Center Stepatorium – Friday, April 28 (7:00 p.m.) / Fisher Theater – Saturday, April 29 (7:00 p.m.)
Memories: Fashion/Art Show
Designer Camille Danner
This show is about memories and not forgetting them. A series of photos is just life’s moments captured in snapshots. I want to show this through walking art and how it takes on a new perspective.
Location and times: Fisher Theater – Thursday, April 27 (8:15 p.m.) and ISU Student Innovation Center Stepatorium – Sunday, April 30 (2:00 p.m.)
Written by Taylor Sklenar
Directed by Emily Golden
ISU Eco Theatre Lab presents a staged reading of “Resistance,” a new play.
Location and times: Ames Public Library – Saturday, April 29 (2:00 p.m.)
Morgan Wolfe / Reily Harker Cabaret
Written and directed by Reily Harker and Morgan Wolfe
A cabaret-style performance by Morgan Wolfe and Reily Harker featuring hit songs from Broadway musicals all revolving around the harsh truths of love.
Location and times: ISU Student Innovation Center Stepatorium – Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29 (7:30 p.m.) / Fisher Theater – Sunday, April 30 (2:00 p.m.)