This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In applying for last year's Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, Kacey Spadafora had to think up a name for his yet-unformed theater company. What he came up with sounds either generic or creatively just right: An Other Theater Company.
A year later, Spadafora is the co-artistic director for the upstart company, which is returning to the Fringe Festival with its second offering, two AIDS epidemic-era Harvey Fierstein plays, "Safe Sex" and "On Tidy Endings."
Those repertory shows will serve as a kickoff for Spadafora and Taylor Jack Nelson's new Utah County theater company, which will kick off an ambitious, eight-show inaugural season in a Provo Towne Centre venue. The effort earned the support of 150 backers in May who pledged more than $8,000 to transform a retail space into a black-box theater.
In contrast, also showing at this year's Fringe Festival will be an original musical about Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie, "Curie Me Away!," by the 11-year-old Matheatre touring company. The "radioactive musical" is so new, says co-creator and actor Sadie Bowman, that she had gold spray paint on her hands from creating props as she talked about the play in a phone interview.
"The Fringe audience is the perfect platform to debut a new work," said Bowman, who with partner Ricky Coates transplanted the educational theater company from the Pacific Northwest to Salt Lake City last fall. "It's a great community to test new work and see how it lands."
These shows highlight the range of performances at the third annual Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, which will offer 200 performances by 50 companies over two weekends at Sugar House venues. Events will happen in and around the Fringe Factory, the city-owned former Deseret Industries building at 2234 Highland Drive, and at Westminster College's Jewett Center. (See box for details.)
How it works: The $5 admission to the festival scores festivalgoers a Fringe temporary tattoo, with proceeds earmarked for the festival's operating budget, paying for sound and lighting equipment, and renting the Fringe Factory building.
Show tickets are $10, with ticket proceeds earmarked for performers. Last year, the festival raised $25,262, with an average payout of $537 to each company.
New this year will be a free Thursday night opening party on Sugarmont Plaza, where performers will offer short excerpts of their work to entice audiences to see their shows. The festival is planned over two weekends, and performers hope to create some buzz during opening weekend shows to increase crowds for the second weekend.
Also new at this year's Fringe are planned afterparties at local businesses. (Partygoers are invited to follow the festivals' Twitter account or greatsaltlakefringe.org for details.) Returning this year will be free Kids Fringe, offering two shows and art exhibits about the Great Salt Lake on the second weekend at Sugar House's Sprague Library, 2131 S. 1100 East.
Planning for this year's Fringe took place during a semester-long Westminster class drawing students from departments across campus, who helped organize, raise money, and market the event, says co-founder Michael Vought. "One of our main goals with Fringe is to allow students to get hands-on experience," said Vought, a Westminster College theater professor.
The Utah festival draws upon the model of the granddaddy Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which launched in 1947 when eight uninvited theater companies performed outside the established Edinburgh International Festival. Those performances sparked similar festivals all over the world.
Organizers don't curate work at fringe festivals, which is part of the charm. Shows range from "squeaky-clean to risqué," and the festival showcases "affordable, unadjudicated, unrestricted and original works."
For college-level and professional actors, dancer, magicians and writers, the Great Salt Lake Fringe offers a chance to showcase their work and a springboard for emerging companies, such as Provo's An Other Theater Company.
Sierra DuCharme-Hansen is acting as Jack in Westminster College graduate Max Huftalin's play "1222 Randall Avenue," about a group of friends who hang out in and around Jack's house over a four-year period.
It's the second Fringe show by The TwoFifteen Project, which last year produced DuCharme-Hansen's play, "The Rental," which won Best Student Production at last year's Fringe Festival.
This year's comedy is "set in Salt Lake City, but it could have been set anywhere," says DuCharme-Hansen, who is a rising senior at Westminster. "It's completely relatable, it's hilarious, and it follows the millennial story."
Perhaps like many in the audience drawn to the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival.
Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival
The third annual festival takes place at Sugar House venues Friday-Sunday, July 28-30, and Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 3-6.
Where • Venues include theaters at the Fringe Factory, at the city-owned former Deseret Industries building at 2234 Highland Drive; at Westminster College's Jewett Center for the Performing Arts, 1250 E. 1700 South; and the Sprague Library, 2131 S. 1100 East.
Tickets • $5 for Fringe Tatoo; $10 for show tickets, with three- and 10-ticket packages; at venue box offices or greatsaltlakefringe.org.
Schedule • greatsaltfringe.org
Opening party • Free; 8 to 11 p.m., Sugarmont Plaza, 2234 Highland Dr., Salt Lake City
For afterparty info • Details will be updated on facebook.com/greatsaltlakefringe, greatsaltlakefringe.org and Twitter (twitter.com/gslfringe).
The TwoFifteen Project's "1222 Randall Avenue"
Performances • Saturday July 29, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, July 30, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 3, 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 4, 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 6, 9 p.m.
Where • Fringe Factory, Second Floor, 2234 Highland Dr, Salt Lake City
An Other Theater Company
What • "Safe Sex," directed by Taylor Jack Nelson
When • Friday, July 28, 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, July 30, 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 5, 9 p.m.
What • "On Tidy Engings," directed by Kasey Spadafora
When • Saturday, July 29, 6 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 6, 4:30 p.m.
Where • Westminster College's Courage Theatre, 1840 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City
Matheatre's "Curie Me Away!"
When • Friday, July 28, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 29, 4:30 p.m., Sunday, July 30, 3 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 4, 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5, 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 5, 3 p.m.
Where • Westminster College's Dumke Black Box, 1700 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City