2021 Virtual Rogue Festival: Creativity Thrives Under Constraint

It’s said that creativity thrives under constraint. Rogue Festival is no stranger to that. We’ve always been one of the most stripped-down, barebones, DIY fringe festivals out there. No fancy theaters; we perform in the back of bars, coffee shops and bookstores. No awesome technical gear; half of our venues come with a single mic and a PA system. You’re lucky if you get a technician at Rogue Festival!


But people manage to do amazing things with what they’re given here in Fresno. The power of a solo storyteller with a mic and twelve pages of words is a wonder. The emotion conveyed by a musician with an acoustic guitar and wavering baritone can be overwhelming. And the expression of a talented actor so deep in character you don’t know where they end and the character begins is awe-inspiring.


But 2020 has asked us all to dig deeper. Where we once cut to the bone, we’re now asking you to find the marrow.  But sometimes that’s where the real healing begins . . . deep down in our core. It can begin when we ask ourselves to think beyond what we’re used to, manage some change, and find ourselves creating something new.


Yes, we’re going Virtual for 2021. We hope that we’ll get the opportunity to do a few live shows, but we want our community to stay healthy. That means we need to stick around.


So, we’re asking you—our Rogues near and far—to join us online for 2021 and to consider applying for one of our 20 Virtual Rogue Slots. You can find the overview HERE  and all of our 2021 procedures HERE [link policies and procedures page].


Here’s the thing: virtual performing arts isn’t the same as live, in living color. But we also think it has the potential to be something of its own. At this point, we may be living our lives on Zoom, but that means that we’re getting really good at it. More and more people are learning how to engage virtually and to find creative sustenance in new, digital spaces.


So we’d like to challenge you to consider a show you might have in mind . . . how might it be crafted to suit a digital format? How might it be performed live, through a tight framed close-up beamed to someone’s living room? How might it be filmed and delivered as a short film or a multi-media event? How might some of your ideas be converted into something new? Sometimes the constraints are exactly what you need to get to the next level.


Or you might consider taking a concept you’ve never had the guts to create and use the Virtual Rogue to workshop it. You could film some parts, create vision boards, audio clips, and share them while walking an audience through your approach. Read sections of writing to them. Take them into your process. Our audiences really enjoy interacting with artists. Taking the opportunity to discuss your idea with folks who really love independent performance may just be the creative shot in the arm you need.


After all, someday we will be able to gather again. Perhaps not exactly as we used to, but we will. And you’re going to need to get a show on the road when that happens, right?


Now’s the time. Our Virtual Rogue is low-stakes, high-support, and might actually be just what you need.


The Rogue Abides

Heather Parish, co-producer


Applications for Rogue Performers open October 11 through October 30.


Full info for Rogue Performers and Application Link here.


Information for Virtual Off-Rogue Producers here.


Information for Virtual Artist Underground Performers here.