The Seattle-to-Fresno Mini Rogue is back this weekend for a fifth consecutive year. Think of it like a one-location Rogue Festival. Plus: If you’re a member of The Munro Review, you can win two all-access passes to the event!
Pictured at top: Aaron Shay and Sarah Shay of “The Shay & Shay Radio Hour.”
Here are your burning questions answered:
What’s the set-up, and who is behind it?
Five fringe festival-style acts are featured in one action-packed three-day weekend. The event is sponsored by Fresno’s Rogue Festival and curated by Seattle-based Minion Productions (no newcomer to these parts) and Jayne Day, local fringe-enthusiast extraordinaire (and a former Rogue producer).
Where, when and how much?
All performances are at The Revue in the Tower District (620 E. Olive Ave.) First performance is 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, and the last is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9. Tickets are $10 a show. More details and performance times are here.
So … Grant Knutson of Minion Productions must really like Fresno to come to the big Rogue Festival every year AND the Mini-Rogue as well. It seems like he’s really let Fresno’s dust settle into his lungs and not let go. (I just made that up, and it’s kind of depressing. Hope it doesn’t become the new catch phrase. Sorry, I got kind of off track there.)
Knutson replies: “Yes! It’s hard to believe, but this is our fifth anniversary of the Seattle-to-Fresno Mini-Rogue. It goes so fast. Once Rogue Festival ends, my co-producer Jayne Day and I spend the next six months finding artists and planning for the Mini-Rogue. So every year sneaks up on us. I’m based in Seattle and I travel to fringe theater festivals all over North America, but I’ve definitely become a big fan of Fresno’s art scene. I first came down for Rogue Festival seven years ago, and I immediately fell in love with the fest’s friendly and adventurous supporters. I feel very welcome here.”
What’s the show line-up?
“Shay & Shay Radio Hour,” by Aaron Shay and Sarah Shay: Singer-songwriter siblings playing indie-folk music mixed with whimsical stories and nerdy references galore.
“A Formal Feeling,” by Fresno Dance Collective (NOCO): Exploring individuality in a group-think culture, with movement by Fresno’s premier modern dance company.
“An Interstellar Clown Show,” by Les Bancs: Silly fun for kids and adults as three bumbling astronauts get marooned on the moon.
“Alice,” by Simpson Theatricals: A high-energy modern comedy version of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Fresno’s newest theater ensemble.
“Suburban Tribe: Unmasked,” by Kate Mura: A true solo show about a loving community that supported one young girl in need.
Some shows are local, and others are from out-of-town. Which are harder to sell?
“As supportive and adventurous as our patrons are, it’s still more of a challenge to get a crowd for the out-of-town shows,” Knutson says. “Seeing new artists is a risk. Will you enjoy the style? Will they live up to their own hype? But it’s also a bigger reward. It’s exhilarating when you discover a new artist who really speaks to you. And I hope we’ve brought in enough amazing artists over the years to have earned the benefit of the doubt.”
What’s the future of the Mini-Rogue?
It could be up to you, the Fresno-area audience. If you like the idea of these types of acts brightening up your September, you’ll need to support them.
“I’d love to say thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years,” Knutson says. “Especially our sponsor, the Rogue Festival, and our venue, The Revue. But also the artists, patrons and volunteers who make it possible. I don’t know how long the Mini-Rogue will last or what shape it will take, but it has been a wonderful part of my year for half a decade now.”