This week brings the second annual Intersections: A Celebration of Seattle Performance at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. The festival showcases performers in improv, sketch, stand-up, burlesque, storytelling, spoken word, music, theatre, and dance from Seattle’s best and brightest POC, Queer, Trans, non-binary, and neurodiverse performers. We got the chance to find out a little bit more about the brains behind the festival & how it came to be! Meet, Jekeva Phillips, Kinzie Shaw, & Natasha Ransom!
Tell me who y’all are and how did y’all start working together?
Jekeva Phillips is a writer, educator, and performer. She is Editor in Chief of Word Lit Zine, a lit quarterly, and owner of Paradise Lost Publishing. Her poetry chapbook, Les Amants, hit the shelves in the fall of 2016, and she currently hard at work on her first novel, Sovereign. As if having a magazine, a poetry collection, AND a novel isn’t enough, Jekeva is the director of Bibliophilia storytelling festival, and managing director for Lit Crawl Seattle. You may have seen Jekeva lecturing at Write-o-Rama, performing improv as a member of CSz Seattle, traveling through space with the improvised Star Trek group, Where No Man Has Gone Before, or twirling in aerial fabrics at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts.
Kinzie Shaw graduated with a degree in Political Science from Arizona State University. She is a improviser in Seattle and a company member at Unexpected Productions at the Market Theater. She also is one of the founders of FEELINGS, a queer, intersectional feminist duo.
Natasha Ransom has been acting, producing comedy, performing improv, teaching, and working in arts program management for over a decade. She currently works as the Education Specialist at MoPOP and Outreach Coordinator for the Teaching Artist Training Lab. She is also one-half of the intersectional, queer, feminist improv group FEELINGS with Kinzie Shaw.
Jekeva, Kinzie, and Natasha all met through the local improv scene!
How did the festival come to be?
The idea for the festival was sparked when Natasha and Kinzie had a burning desire to see other groups like them onstage. They were frustrated with the institutional and systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism that they were experiencing in the local scene. Natasha and Kinzie noticed other people in the community were having similar frustrations, and they wanted to give time, money, and attention to the incredible and diverse local talent. Shortly thereafter, they connected with Jekeva about their idea and created their founding team!
What’s the mission behind it?
Intersections is a comedy festival focused on equity, inclusion, and representation. We hope these performances bring new voices to the forefront, and spark conversation and action for social justice and representation in our community. We celebrate incredible performers who enrich our community through their unique identities. We actively fight white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, ageism, and ableism. We strive to cultivate an environment of critical analysis, holding our community and ourselves accountable for the inequities that currently exist. We work to create and sustain systems that forge a new path in the direction of true equity.
How do you find your artists?
Our local scene is filled with incredible performers who are womxn, LGBTQIA+, folx with disabilities, and people of color. We don’t have to try hard to find them! That being said, we do try to regularly perform and see shows, so that we’re constantly connected to the community. The festival has an application process, and people find out about that through emails from us, emails from community organizations, and general word of mouth.
Why should we come see it?
This festival is for everyone. No matter who you are, the performances will have something for you. You should come see it because it’s just phenomenal entertainment. Our city is brimming with some of the best comedians and performers in the world, and we aren’t exaggerating. You should also come to the festival because it’s an awesome opportunity to connect with others. Comedy is a uniting force, and if we can laugh together, we can find other common ground.
Intersections begins Thursday, March 21 for a 4 day run. Tickets available HERE.
Intersections is funded in part by The Office of Arts & Culture Seattle, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, and Planned Parenthood.