Chicago Ex Fest Canceled Hours Before Opening

Chicago Ex Fest, which was billed as an alternative to Chicago Sketch Fest after harassment allegations against Stage 773’s Brian Posen came to light, has been canceled. Producer Matthew Payne posted the following on the Ex Fest Facebook page:

To my community,

This all happened very fast. We all have unanswered questions and we were supposed to come together to celebrate safety.

All of this was about feeling safe. It has been made clear to me that the performers in EX Fest do not feel safe. This is not the time to come together to celebrate. We should end the celebrations before they begin.

I am aware of the recent allegations made against me, but no one has been able to give me more information than that at this time. I am not guilty of sexual misconduct. I wish there were more information available, but with so much uncertainty and so little time, I think it is best to cancel this year’s Chicago EX Fest.

Thanks to my friends and brilliant performers for helping me make this very difficult and very correct decision. I still can’t wait to see what our generation does.

Refunds will be issued, of course! Please contact for assistance.

-Matthew Payne, Founder

PerformInk has yet to confirm the allegations Payne refers to, or who is making them. Payne wasn’t immediately available for comment.

About author

Abigail Trabue

Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV's, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue

  • James#1

    January 13, 2018

    Her bio is longer than the amount of words she contributed to this article.


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