A Fond Farewell to Fringe from Beloved Outreach Director Meghan McCauley

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We will dearly miss Meghan, who has been on staff since just after the first festival in 2010. // Photo: Katelyn Schiller

The first nickname I ever had at Fringe Central was “Pagan Meghan”. I’d driven up from San Diego to produce a show with my best friends, an original devised work called Pagan Play that made little sense but was full of heart. I was lucky the moniker rhymed, because it made it easier for people to remember my name.

The Hollywood Fringe Festival happened to me very quickly. I met Ben Hill after a Town Hall at Theatre of Note. I met Stacy Jones (now Hill) onstage in the back room at Three Clubs, during a pre-Fringe fundraiser. We both loved dancing to Beyoncé. I had graduated from UCSD, with a degree in theatre and a desire to find a good community filled with good people. Los Angeles was not on the list of cities I’d hoped to move to, but I did it because of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Kan Mattoo interviewed me on the porch of Ben and Stacy’s old house, cans of beer in hand. Dave McKeever was there too, tossing the ball for Cattleman the dog.

The rest is history. We became family. We lost loved ones and fell in love again. We hung up Christmas decorations, ate thousands of food truck meals, made theater, drank too much, and never stopped dancing to Beyoncé.

I’ve been fortunate to create and launch some of Hollywood Fringe’s most important programs—I was a co-founder of the internship program (now expertly managed by Stina Pederson), brought Fringe theater to local high schools through Student Fringe, and developed Fringe Scholarships with Ellen Den Herder, the initiative of which I am most proud. I’ve hosted hundreds of Office Hours and moderated dozens of Fringe Workshops. The Fringe community thrives when participation is enthusiastic and diverse, and much of my responsibility is keeping it that way.

Thank you all for buying me drinks, and I’m sorry I couldn’t always come to see your show. Thank you for raising your hands to ask questions, and I’m sorry I often cut you off before you finished your sentence.

Thank you for wearing a name tag every time I asked you to.

Thank you for winking at me across Bryan’s Bar, for dancing with me at the prom, for protecting me when I couldn’t do it myself.  

Thank you for creating this community of weirdos where we can all finally be at home.

Thank you for trusting me, and trusting us, with your stories and your art.

My greatest calling in life is engaging diverse communities of people for the arts, and the Hollywood Fringe was the first place I started learning that.

It’s where I learned to lead, to love, to subsist on so very little sleep, and to dedicate myself to a truly worthy cause. You are the great love of my twenties, Hollywood Fringe, and I will miss you dearly. 

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