SheFest (formerly LezFest) is Pride Arts Center’s’ semi-annual celebration of Chicago’s queer female and non-binary artists. SheFest showcases the diverse range of queer female and non-binary artists in Chicago as well as the diverse stories and experiences of queer femininity. The sixth installment of the festival, this year’s SheFest will be hosted by stand-up comedian Shannon Noll, and will feature spoken word poetry, Moth-style stories, comedy, clowning, a fire act, and dance.
The performance will be: June 12 at 7:30pm at the Pride Arts Center’s Broadway Theatre, located at 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago. Tickets are $15 for VIP and $10 General Admission. Purchase tickets here.
Performers will include Molly Brennan, Tamale Sepp, Ada Cheng, Khloe Janel, Anna Wolfe, Alex Seligsohn, Jade, June Thiele, Shannon Leigh Webber, Niki Gee, Michelle Zacarias, and Terri Hudson, and Jessica Martin. SheFest is produced by Iris Sowlat and Julia Rufo, and stage-managed by Daiva Paulis.
Proceeds from ShetFest will be put towards Pride Films & Plays’ LezPlay writing contest and workshop program. The contest is set to enhance the visibility and advance the viability of lesbian-centered stories for stage and screen. To that end, LezPlay honors excellence in storytelling by women-identified writers who present lesbian characters and themes—past, present, and future—in a pivotal, positive way. For more information on how you can enter the contest, please check out www.filmfreeway.com/festival/lezplay. Further proceeds raised from SheFest go directly to help queer female playwrights, directors, and actors produce work during the 2017-18 season!
All five past installments of SheFest (or LezFest) have been sold out, and Pride Arts Center is looking forward to another sold out house!
Longer bios, headshots, and media for all artists available upon request.
Shannon Noll: Shannon Noll brings playfulness to their humor about gender, sexuality, and odd jobs. Currently they can be seen performing all over Chicago including at The Revival, The Laugh Factory, The Annoyance, as a producer/host of the shameful story-telling show We Still Like You, and as a writer/voice actor for the podcast The Koch Brother’s Mystery Show (Cards Against Humanity). Shannon is also a proud member of the queer improv team Baby Wine (The Annoyance) and producer/host of the queer variety show SPACE (The Revival). In the past Shannon has opened for Beth Stelling, performed at CYSK, iO Theater, ComedySportz, Impress These Apes, Hell Yes Fest (New Orleans), Bird City Comedy Festival (Phoenix), Arch City (Columbus), and the Chicago Comedy Expo.
Molly Brennan: Molly Brennan has been professionally putting on funny hats and falling down for the nice people since 1993. In Chicago, she has performed at Lookingglass, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Neo-Futurists, About Face, Lifeline, Second City, Lyric Opera, House, Factory, and 500 Clown. She has toured the U.S. extensively as well, most notably Denver Arts Center, PS 122 in NYC, the Arsht in Miami, Alliance in Atlanta, and the Kennedy Center. She recently appeared with her p(ART)ner Malic White for “Picnic” at ATC, directed by Will Davis. Molly teaches Clown and Physical Theatre at the Actors Gymnasium and hangs around Salonathon on the regular. She is a member of AEA and represented by Paonessa Talent. Photo by Joe Mazza, Brave-lux.
Molly Brennan’s SheFest piece is a clowning exploration “Any of my Enemies,” a music and physical theatre piece.
Ada Cheng: Ada Cheng is a professor-turned storyteller. She has been featured in storytelling shows in Chicago, Atlanta, New York, and Cedar Rapids. She will be performing her solo show, Not Quite: Asian American by Law, Asian Woman by Desire, at The Public House Theater on June 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd as well as at The Orphanage on June 23rd. She will be taking her solo show on national tours to National Storytelling Conference fringe, Capital Fringe Festival, Minnesota Fringe Festival, and Boulder International Fringe Festival in July and August.
Khloe Janel: Khloe Janel is a proud queer poet, actor, singer, and voice actor of color! They have performed original spoken word around Chicago and recently was crowned the winner of National Vans College Open Mic Series. Khloe has performed at Steppenwolf Theatre, Broadway Playhouse, Greenhouse Theater, and Madison Street Theater. They also recently co-starred on an episode of Empire and can be heard in various animations and commercials around the Chicago area. Khloejanel.com
Khloe is performing an original spoken word.
Alex Seligsohn: Alex Seligsohn is a stand-up comic based in Chicago. Her comedy performances have been described as a “one-woman mosh pit.” She is a writer and producer for the hit variety show “Secrets, Lies & Alibis” in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Alex is also a Notary.
June Thiele: June Thiele is a queer, two-spirited, Native American actor, writer, and performance artist. Indigenous to Alaska she travelled to Chicago 10 years ago to study at Columbia College. She’s been fortunate enough to have worked with some awesome theatre companies including Kinematics, LiveWire, Nothing Without a Company, Ensolo and others.
June Thiele will be performing an original Solo Performance piece.
Niki Gee: Niki Gee is currently the President of Quare Square, a 501c3 collective for Queer artist of color in the Midwest. Since her debut on the spoken word circuit in Chicago, she has been in several independent films and has been a featured artist for Homolatte, Salonathon, Beast Women Rising, Global Girls Anniversary Celebration, Foreplay, Punany Poets, and Dyke March, where she served as the host. She formerly co- hosted The Quare Square open mic.
Nikki Gee will be performing an original spoken word piece
Jade: Jessi “Jade” Paul is a student at Columbia College Chicago majoring in Creative Non-Fiction Writing; with plans to work with LGBTQIA+ [black] youth as an Arts Therapist. She is active in her role within intersecting communities of her identity; as a lesbian/queer, Christian, black, woman and artist of various forms. She is passionate in her activism for causes including Breast Cancer Awareness, Mental Health Awareness, and the Black [Queer] Lives Matter Movement.
“This is for the brown lesbians and queer womyn who’ve tried loving themselves when the world hates too much. You are beautiful. Don’t change, unless you want to…” – Jade
Jade will be performing a solo piece to the song “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna.
Shannon Leigh Webber: Shannon Leigh Webber is actor and fun-writer from a small town in Georgia and recently celebrated her 3rd Anniversary in the big city. Shannon is an Artistic Associate with Random Acts Chicago. Her recent credits include: The Dingdong (TheatreSquared), For the Love Of (PFP), Resolution (PFP), Crimes of the Heart (Step Up Productions) and Hell’s Kitchen (Arc Theatre). “If you think you can, you can.” -Meryl Streep.
Shannon will be performing an original piece about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.
Michelle Zacarias: Michelle Zacarias is a writer, activist, and cancer survivor. Michelle has performed at the Chicago Home Theater Festival, as well as the 2016 production of Queer ILL & Okay, where she wrote and starred in “An Intro To Slut-Shaming.” She has since returned to her love of performance art and poetry. Michelle self-identifies as multi-marginalized: and considers her experiences as a Queer, Latinx, woman, with disabilities a major facet in influencing her creative medium.