Summit Fringe, Showcase, and Story Swap Performances

Fringe Performance Opportunity

July 25-27, 2019

Fremont, California

Fringe Submissions Closed

Submissions for the 2019 Fringe are no longer being accepted. Thank you for your interest, please check out some of our other Summit performance offerings!

The Fringe @ the NSN is back for its 13th Season!

Explore the limits of storytelling at the National Storytelling Summit.

Want to present 55 minutes of your most compelling, riskiest, experimental or work in progress storytelling? How about joining forces with a friend(s) to create an ensemble performance event? Think of all the possibilities: 55 minutes of autobiography, performance art, folktales, stand-up, puppetry, dance or your favorite long form story!

What is the Fringe? The NSN Fringe follows the standard Fringe Festival model by providing the opportunity for you to experience many aspects of a typical Fringe Festival including the selection process and performance framework.

In keeping with the Fringe principle of an un-juried selection process, Fringe performers for the 2019 National Storytelling Summit will be selected by lottery.



Submission Deadline

Electronic submissions – Midnight on January 31, 2019 CST

The Fine Print:


You may submit one application for the 2019 NSN Fringe, either as a solo or an ensemble, but not both.

Notification of Selection

The lottery will be held at West Side Stories in Petaluma, California on Wednesday February 6, 2019. You will receive an email from the Fringe Committee within 48 hours of the lottery with the official results.

Deadline for Acceptance

Within two weeks of notification, you will need to confirm your participation.

Waiting List

More names than available performance slots will be drawn for a waiting list and will be moved from the waiting list should performance slots become available.


Fringe performers do not need to be NSN members, so please share this information with all your storytelling, spoken word, and performance art contacts. We welcome the opportunity to share the NSN Summit with narrative artists who may not identify themselves as storytellers. Any NSN member, including Board and Conference Committee members, is eligible to participate in the lottery and perform.

Performers who appeared at the 2018 NSN Conference are not eligible for the 2019 lottery.

You must reapply for each NSN Fringe. No applications from previous years will be held over.

Registration & Deadline

By accepting your Fringe slot, you agree that all NSN Fringe performers, whether in solo or ensemble shows, must register for the complete NSN Summit by the early bird deadline, usually late spring. Accompanists, such as musicians, must register for at least a single day corresponding to the day of performance. Any supporting technical personnel will be admitted at no charge to that specific fringe performance. Each Fringe performance will receive two complementary entries into their specific Fringe performance to use as the performer(s) wish. Performers not confirmed as registered after that early bird registration date will be replaced with performers on the waiting list.

Performing Space

All Fringe performances will be in a meeting room with a minimum of 40 chairs with no technical set-up. As is the custom with many Fringe Festivals, if you want sound, lighting, or any special equipment to support your performance, you are responsible for supplying what you need. Due to varying site policies, we cannot guarantee access to your performance space outside of your scheduled time, which begins fifteen minutes prior to your performance start time. There will not be a “tech rehearsal.”

Performance Schedule

All Fringe slots for the 2019 Summit are scheduled in the evening parallel to story swaps and qualifying Story Slams. You’ll have approximately 15 minutes to set-up; 55 minutes to perform beginning at the published time, and 15 minutes to restore and clear the room. Time limits will be strictly observed as this track is intended to serve as an opportunity for storytellers (performers and audience members alike) to experience a typical Fringe Festival format.


Fringe performances are not pre-screened or censored, but we expect you to indicate difficult or potentially offensive material in the content warnings.

Additional information on Content Warnings: Total nudity and explicit sexual contact is disallowed in NSN Fringe performances; male and female genitals and female breasts must be covered. Content disclaimers (warnings) are to be shown in all advertising, programs, flyers, enrollment forms, and room identification. No minors under the age of 18 or applicable state limitation are to be allowed in performances with adult content warnings.


As part of confirming your participation, you must agree to the following:

  • Nudity policy.  See previous content item in Lottery Instructions but the essence is no full nudity or sexual contact.
  • NSN Disclaimer with the following text: “The National Storytelling Network (NSN) is not responsible or liable for the form and content of this performance which is the sole responsibility of the individual performer(s). It is also the performer’s responsibility to be in compliance with local health/safety laws and any hotel/conference center restrictions for room use.”


NSN Fringe Performances will be open to Summit attendees and the public.


The title, performance description and content warnings you provide with your submission will be printed in the NSN Summit program and on the website; however, in keeping with Fringe Festival tradition, if you want an audience, you need to self-promote your performance. The Fringe Committee recommends that you NOT rely only on advertising in the Summit Program Book but utilize additional promotion. Many attendees will not have time to review the entire book before your performance especially if you are scheduled the first day. Plan your promotion – you’ll want to grab attendees’ attention and leave them wanting to see your performance.

We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to perform your new, old, in progress, lively, risky, long form, or experimental work during the National Storytelling Summit. Submit your application today!


The deadline for Fringe submissions was January 31, 2019.

Submissions are no longer being accepted at this time.

National Story Slam

You are invited to participate in the 2019 National Storytelling Summit Story Slam. Participants have three chances to take part in the Slam with two preliminary qualifying Slams and the Grand Slam. All types of stories may be told – traditional and personal but must be told in the first person (no props and no reading from the page) and the five-minute stories need to relate to the Summit theme.

Each slam will have judges picked from the audience with time keepers, score keepers and a no nonsense host picking ten names from a hat. The top three from the first qualifier go to the final. The top three from the second qualifier, go to the final. Four additional tellers will be drawn from a hat before the start of the Final. The Final or the Grand Slam will include a total of ten participants. Qualifiers do not need to tell the same story in the final. Cash prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners during the Grand Slam.