Now’s the time: Community invited to register for the Nugget Fringe Theater Festival |

Now’s the time: Community invited to register for the Nugget Fringe Theater Festival

Producer Scott Ewing is counting on local talent to get their acts together for the third annual Nugget Fringe Theater Festival in Grass Valley.
Photo by Tom Durkin |

“Hey, kids, let’s put on a show!”

For the third year in a row, Scott Wayne O’Brien Ewing is staging the 2017 Nugget Fringe Theater Festival in Grass Valley.

“We’re seeking actors, directors, writers, musicians and theater tech people who like to explore the fringes of conventional theater,” Ewing said.

The festival is set to run Jan. 19-29, but early registration ends Oct. 31, he said.

“You can still enter your act after that, but the price goes up and most of the best times and venues will have already been taken. And you’ll have less time to promote your show,” Ewing said.

“The Nugget Fringe is like a film festival for theater,” said Ewing, who is the producer of the festival and the artistic director of the nonprofit Quest Theaterworks.

“A fringe festival is a non-juried eclectic mix of new, exciting, unique, cutting-edge works from around here and around the world,” Ewing said.

Anyone can enter the festival, he said. There are no judges, no prizes — just the opportunity to market and present your particular (or peculiar) show.

While the Nugget Fringe Festival is relatively new to Nevada County, fringe theater festivals have been around since their origin in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1947. Since then, fringe festivals have spread across the world with some festivals attracting thousands of performers.

Ewing — an actor, director, writer and producer who has a reputation for defying theatrical traditions — is a fringe veteran himself, having actually staged three productions in Scotland.

“Fringe theater is where new talent and new ideas come from,” Ewing said.

This year, Ewing expects more than 110 performances of more than 30 theatrical nuggets. (Ewing chose “nugget” as the fringe theme because of the double meaning of the gold nuggets of the Gold Rush era and the short, theatrical nuggets of the festival.)

Many of the acts will be homegrown because Nevada County is a hotbed of talent. But each year has seen more out-of-town acts attracted to the artistic ambiance and sophisticated audiences of the sister cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City.

The most successful homegrown act from the Nugget Fringe Festival so far is Douglass Truth’s “An Intimate Evening with Death Herself,” which he has taken on a cross-country tour. His hilariously serious act has been playing to sold-out audiences in New York. (Get your tickets early for this one.)

So far this year, the biggest out-of-town act booked is Ojai artist/singer/actor/writer Cynthia Waring’s intriguing portrayal of a woman who leaves a convent — to become a massage therapist.

Possibly the most homegrown show this year comes from Ewing’s own home. His wife, Lois Masten Ewing, will perform a one-woman show of “The Good Body,” the sequel to Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues.”

Other shows already registered include the five-man sketch comedy group called Tomorrow the World, an as-yet-unnamed lineup of female stand-up comics, and performances of playwright Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story.”

Ewing expects more than 110 performances of more than 30 theatrical nuggets this year. The downtown Grass Valley venues include 151 Union St., the Off-Center Stage, Smith Vineyard Tasting Room, and locations yet to be announced.

As signups continue, expect further announcements of theater, music, dance, art — and the unexpected, Ewing promised.

For more information and to register, contact Ewing at (530) 802-1800 or explore

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