Intersections Festival Amplifies Seattle’s Diverse Comedy Scene

March 21st through the 24th, watch the emerald city emerge from hibernation, shake off that Seattle frost, and witness the joy that is Intersections Festival.

This festival merges comedy, collaboration, and inclusivity in a four-day event aimed to represent the kaleidoscope of funny humans in Seattle and beyond. Notably, it’s held at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center which is an excellent multi-arts venue in the Delridge Neighborhood of Southwest Seattle.

What was the catalyst for this magical festival? Like most great ideas, it’s a mixture of passion and hard work. In 2018, the Intersectional Festival (IF) team, Jekeva Phillips, Kinzie Shaw, and Natasha Ransom were hellbent on creating an inclusive comedy space. The IF team explains,

“We wanted a space that celebrated comedy from the voices that weren’t being amplified. Our scene has an incredible wealth of performers who are people of color, womxn, LGBTQ folx, and people with disabilities. We just weren’t seeing them lifted up in the same way that we saw cis, white, straight men lifted up.

The festival manifested from us just sitting down and doing the damn work. There’s so much we want the festival to provide, and sometimes we just need to take a breath and realize we can’t do everything. This year, we’ve really relied on the systems we set up in the first year, and are adding improvements as we go. For example, this year we were able to afford ASL Interpreters. We hope to keep growing learning each year, and finding new ways to support these incredible performers.”

art created by Katy Davis, used with permission

Creating a festival involves an intensive amount of collaborative work. Success of this size (sponsorships, an awe-inspiring lineup, Seattle Times shoutouts, etc.) can’t come without true collaborative spirit, and the IF team had to rely on each other:

“Intersections Festival has been a powerful exercise in trust, pushing ourselves, and asking for help. We knew it would be a lot of work, but nothing can really prepare you for producing a four-day festival for the first time. We’ve been blown away by the support of our community. People have come out of the woodwork to help us with volunteering, donations, sponsorships, and emotional support. We’re definitely still learning, but things are going really well.”

Looking through the lineup, it’s hard to pick a day that doesn’t have a smorgasbord of interesting performance and comedy stylings. In true festival spirit, this four-day festival is a mixture of people-you-probably-came-there-for and some intriguing surprises. What will people likely experience when they get there?

“They should expect to laugh, think about their identity, and connect with the community of audience members! Our performers reflect the diversity of our city, and a lot of audience members last year talked about the feeling they had seeing themselves reflected onstage. Each performer is sharing their experiences through their unique perspective, and that gives our audience the opportunity to examine their own identity, privilege, and point of view. Laughing at the human experience is such an easy way to learn and connect with others.”

After the 2019 run of Intersections Festival is over, what does the future look like for this trio? How will this festival morph to fit the community’s needs as it grows? The team is optimistic about the future of Intersections Festival, as long as it gets the input needed from their performers,

“We would love to be a support for performers in any way that they need so we’re really letting them direct that growth. We’d love to be a source where performers can come for help, whether it be finding a venue, fundraising, marketing, etc. Our future vision is to be recognized nationally as a place where folx can see some of the best up-and-coming performers in the country.

Ready to go to the Intersections Festival? Let’s do this:

March 21-24, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way S.W., Seattle, tickets start at $12, intersectionsfestival.com

 

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 an 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. As a gay woman herself, she knows the importance of creating safe performances spaces for POC and the LGBTQ+ community. She is passionate about the Intersections’ mission for Equity, Inclusion, and Representation.
Natasha Ransom has been acting, producing comedy, performing improv, teaching, and working in arts program management for over a decade. Her current day job is working as an Education Specialist at MoPOP. She is also one-half of the intersectional, queer, feminist improv group FEELINGS with Kinzie Shaw. As a white-passing Latina, she recognizes her responsibility to use her privilege to make lasting change, and believes creating an equitable and accessible festival like Intersections is a positive step towards making the local scene more inclusive.

Sarah E. Miller is a freelance writer, dabbler, collaborator, and an occasionally funny lady. She spends her days writing for various blogs, helping creative people expand their visions, and dreaming up big ideas while trying to put those dreams into action. She is also the Founder and Marshmallow-in-Chief of the Lonely Arts Club.

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