Published: October 9, 2015
The inaugural Scranton Fringe Festival took place Oct. 1 through Oct. 4 in downtown Scranton.
The Fringe Festival was comprised of many forms of art. Productions ranged from dance, music, film, spoken word, theater, comedy and more.
The Fringe Festival included more than 40 productions put on throughout downtown Scranton, located at venues such as Ale Mary’s, the Leonard Theater, Coalwork, Forage Space, The Keys, the Radisson and several more.
The inaugural Scranton Fringe Festival kicked off with emotionally charged productions, as characteristic festivalgoers hope will continue in the following year.
A popular event The University students attended was The Big Gay StorySlam. It was put on at the Leonard Theater on Saturday, Oct. 3.
The Big Gay StorySlam, directed by Pamela McNichols, was a storytelling and spoken word production focused on the LGBTQ+ community.
The event allowed LGBTQ community members from Northeast Pennsylvania to get up on stage for five minutes and tell a story of their personal experiences as LGBTQ+ community members.
Festivalgoers packed the Leonard Theater to watch the StorySlam, eager to watch many LGBTQ+ community members tell stories about their personal struggles and inspirational lessons learned.
Chloe-Symone Alvarado, a sophomore at The University and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, was among the crowd in the Leonard Theater, watching the Big Gay StorySlam.
Alvarado said that she felt a great deal of anticipation as she walked into the theater preparing to view the show.
Most people there either knew someone in the LGBTQ+ community or were involved in the community themselves. Many were there for a cause that was bigger than just them, Alvarado said.
“(When I walked in), I realized I was with family and I was with a community that accepted me, and I can be whoever I truly am around them,” Alvarado said.
Another festivalgoer, Mary Ackourey, a sophomore at The University, said that the Big Gay StorySlam was relatable, as Ackourey identifies on the LGBTQ+ spectrum herself.
“A lot of what they had to say were things I’ve always hoped I would be able to say someday,” Ackourey said.
Ackourey said that she took an important message from the Big Gay StorySlam.
“[I should] be proud of who I am, be myself in every situation and never change to make someone else happy,” Ackourey said.
Similarly, Alvarado said she connected to the production on the grounds that the speakers’ experiences were tragic, funny or tragically funny.
Alvarado said it was inspiring how the speakers were in the same position as she was, and they eventually ended up okay.
Alvarado said she shared a touching moment with one of the Big Gay StorySlam speakers after the show.
“At the end of the show, a speaker and I spoke (about her story) and I started crying. She looked at me and said, ‘You are beautiful in who you are, you are beautiful in who you will be, and I promise you, it gets better,’” Alvarado said.
The Big Gay StorySlam was a cathartic experience for many of the viewers. Festivals with a wide range of productions, like the Fringe Festival, are beneficial to the community, because they bring people from all walks of life together for several different experiences, despite the festivalgoers’ backgrounds.
The inaugural Scranton Frine Festival did not disappoint this year, and festivalgoers cannot wait to see what next year’s Fringe Festival brings.
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