Fringe Fest Arrives Bigger than Ever

A record 85 Westmont students will take part in 27 individual, new pieces of theater, dance and film at the Westmont Fringe Festival on April 20 and 23 at 7 p.m., April 21 at 8 p.m. and April 22 at 3 p.m. at various locations in and around Westmont’s Porter Theatre. Festival passes ($15 general admission, $10 students/seniors) or daily tickets ($10 general admission, $7 student/seniors) are available online at www.westmont.edu/boxoffice. For more information, please call (805) 565-7140.

Performances will use a variety of different venues, including the traditional spaces of Porter Theatre and the Porter Hall Black-Box Theatre as well as site-specific locations such as the Adams Crafts Studio, the lawn outside Adams Center and the second-story walkway outside Whittier Science.

The festival features 10 new plays developed out of Westmont’s new play development program, the Hive. “In the Hive, Westmont student directors are placed with playwriting MFA students from Brown, University of Texas at Austin and UC San Diego,” says John Blondell, Westmont professor of theater arts and faculty director of the Fringe. “Over a weeklong developmental process, the writers develop a new 10-minute play to participate in the Fringe. During the five years of its existence, the Hive has developed over 40 new plays, all of which have been fully produced as part of the Fringe.”

“The Fringe allows the space for students to flex their creative muscles,” says co-artistic director Elena White ’18.

“The mission of the theater department is to cultivate ‘theatre makers’ and the Fringe is really the place where students can freely explore their own personal artistic styles, while collaborating with other student artists of all disciplines,” says co-artistic director Anna Telfer ’18. “The festival is a key aspect of theatrical development in the department.”

“In many ways, the Fringe is the centerpiece of our program, since it creates the opportunities for students to conceive, develop and perform in brand new pieces of theater,” Blondell says. “It requires a tremendous amount of motivation, stamina and collaborative good-naturedness, and I am tremendously proud of what are students accomplish year in and year out.  In fact, I would say it’s nothing short of remarkable.  I am very proud of this aspect of our program. Very few large universities boast of this kind of program, not to mention Christian liberal arts colleges the size of Westmont.  The Fringe is a testament to the students’ entrepreneurial spirits, and their desire to communicate new ideas, expressions, and dreams through the vehicles of short-form theater and film.”