United Solo Theatre Festival

United Solo Theatre Festival
Photo: unitedsolo.org
The United Solo Theatre Festival is the world’s largest theatre festival dedicated to solo theatre (one-person shows). It has been held at Theatre Row in New York City since 2010.

A one-person show is a solo performance, featuring an actor or comedian who stands on stage and entertains an audience. Many solo performances lack a fourth wall which separates the performer from the audience, and demand active involvement of the people in the audience.

The United Solo Theatre Festival was founded by the Polish actor and director Omar Sangare. A graduate of the Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, he has been living and working in the United States since the late 1990s.

Sangare has had first-hand experience with one-person performance. In 1997, his monodrama True Theater Critic earned him the Best in Acting Award at the New York International Fringe Festival. He has presented his one-man drama in Poland, Canada, the UK, Germany, Ukraine, and the United States.

The inaugural United Solo Festival was held in November 2010. Sangare launched the event to introduce a wide audience to American and foreign solo shows, to discover new talent, and to create a meeting place for actors, directors and other theatre professionals, where they can share ideas and experiences.

Alongside one-man drama and comedy, the program of the United Solo Theatre Festival includes other genres and categories of solo shows, including stand-up, improvisation, multimedia, dance, puppetry, storytelling, magic, and more.

The number of participants has been growing ever since the festival’s inception. The line-up of the inaugural festival included 47 solo shows that were presented over three weeks, while the fifth anniversary season of United Solo lasted for ten weeks and featured over 130 participants. In 2013, United Solo launched a European showcase where selected performers present their works in front of a European audience.

Alongside solo performances and events for theatre professionals (workshops, seminars etc.) the festival features the United Solo Special Award ceremony (formerly known as uAward). The United Solo Special Award is presented to performers who have made outstanding contributions to one-person theater. Past recipients have included Anna Deavere Smith, Patti LuPone, Billy Crystal, and others.

United Solo Theatre Festival

Photo: Christine Butler




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