Pictured Above:  Rogue Theater Festival Founder, Allison Hohman.  Photo Credit: Contributed.

Going Rogue: A Discussion with the Founder of Rogue Theater Festival

Features writer Amy Masgay discusses all things Rogue Theater Festival with founder Allison Hohman at the Flea, NYC this June 3 -9, 2024

By: Amy Masgay 

Theater festivals were among the earliest forms of entertainment, dating back to the Classical Greeks in dedication to Dionysus, the deity of, among other things, both theater and festivity. Nowadays, when people think of theater festivals, what comes to mind tends to be a day broken up into ten-minute increments of a hodge-podge of shows. “Quick and dirty,” as Allison Hohman would say.

Hohman was inspired to do more. She moved to New York City from her small Ohio town to attend college, where she studied musical theater. Gradually, she realized performance was not her path, so she used this time to try everything. From casting to producing, Hohman eventually landed on stage management, becoming familiar with the industry by getting her start in smaller shows before joining the union and landing at the historic 13th Street Repertory Theatre as Production Stage Manager.

It was while working there that the opportunity came up for a free week of space at the theater, and Hohman was determined to do something that would utilize all the industry skills she had cultivated over her many years of experimentation. At the same time, she saw an opportunity to right some wrongs that she experienced early on in her career. Her previous experience with theater festivals was not exactly positive, riddled with miscommunications, where projects weren’t given enough time to develop, and the creatives behind the work didn’t receive the support they needed to be successful.

Pictured Above:  The Exterior of the Flea where Rogue’s live productions will take place during the festival.  Photo Credit: Contributed.

While these experiences left a bad taste in her mouth, Hohman had the opportunity to reimagine what a theater festival could be. She had a goal, a challenge to move forward, and Rogue Theater Festival was born.


She calls it selfish, getting to do everything she loves, but that doesn’t mean creating and maintaining Rogue is easy. Hohman’s top priority is creating the positive experience for Rogue participants that she didn’t have herself, providing personal attention and care into each individual production, and giving space for continued development.

That’s partly why Hohman chooses to center Rogue around new works. She understands that there are so many different stories to be told, and we tend to see the same ones over and over. Instead, she aims to open up the term “theater” to include everything and anything, even if it’s outside of the typical. Hohman believes it’s important for these new works to have their moment, see what works and what doesn’t, make the work better. Rogue, by its very nature, is designed to create opportunities for new voices we don’t hear from regularly.


Now heading into its sixth season, it doesn’t escape notice that somehow, the scrappy Rogue Theater Festival survived the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, while so many other theater ventures shuttered their doors.

After a successful introduction season in 2019, Hohman was excited to expand in 2020. Instead, she had to drastically pivot. She understood that if Rogue died in its second year, it would die forever. That’s when streaming entered the equation. A dozen shows stuck it out in 2020, then about 40 shows were featured in 2021. In 2022, live performances were once again the method of choice for Rogue. Now, with the sixth season of Rogue set to open on June 3rd, 25 full-length shows are filling the lineup, ten in person and fifteen slated for digital streaming.

As of last year, Rogue is working in association with Abingdon Theatre Company, a partnership that came about through Hohman’s previous years of stage management. As Abingdon became more progressive with their own theatrical seasons, they also took notice of Rogue. Abingdon’s mission is to support brave new work, and as such, a partnership with Rogue makes sense. Hohman is grateful for the help they have been able to provide, often picking up what her smaller budget could not, generating publicity, and even offering free workshops for their playwrights. It’s an encouraging development, allowing Rogue to think even more outside of the black box.

Over the course of its five completed seasons, Rogue has supported more than 100 original works. When asked if any stand out most for her, Hohman can’t help but rave.


Lary Rinkle, for instance, is a playwright who has participated in Rogue in some fashion every year since its inception. His first season consisted of a short, 15-minute play. This year, he has expanded to creating a series of vignettes inspired by that original show.


Kyle R. Thomas, a playwright living in Tennessee, self-performed his own piece in 2022. This was his first time having his work produced for a public audience and since then, his work has been commissioned by a theater in his home state to present his original work.

A common thread in many of the individual stories Hohman shares about previous artists she has worked with through Rogue is just how many return for future seasons, how many submissions are recurring. This observation alone seems to indicate that maybe she has succeeded in achieving that goal she had from the outset–to create the positive and supportive experience she would have wanted for herself in the world of theater festivals.


When asked what’s next on the horizon for Rogue, Hohman is dreaming big. While every year has been different, with Rogue offering a wide range of services from residence programs to virtual workshops, Hohman wants even more. In an ideal world, she wants to see Rogue transition into a year-long program, culminating in a two-week long presentation, with rented rehearsal space, where Rogue could assist with casting and provide whatever other resources the artists need to present their best work. It’s an ambitious goal, to be sure, but Hohman is no stranger to going rogue, after all.

The sixth season of Rogue Theater Festival will run from June 3rd to June 9th. For Live Rogue Theater Festival Productions at the Flea, NYC, visit: TicketTailor.com


To digitally stream Rogue Theater Festival Productions, visit: ShowTix4U.com

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