On the Edge of the Storytelling World: The Festival Circuit and the Fringe

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The National Storytelling Festival has hosted deeply felt contestations over appropriate storytelling content and form on its stages. Circulating in the wake of such conversations are various “fringe” performance festivals, which often feature a blend of genres and more mature content. This paper asks: what ideological assumptions define the traditional storytelling festival circuit? How does professional storytelling on the circuit and on the fringe enable subjectivity for community members? What possibilities does the fringe hold for storytelling artists and communities? I explore these questions through three primary sites of professional storytelling performance “on the fringe”: The KSU Tellers' performances at local festivals and at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland; Antonio Sacre's performances at the New York Fringe and universities; and The Moth storytelling festival, based out of New York City.