MessFest History

Fall 2021:

Liz Joynt Sandberg, Head of Comedy Arts at DePaul University, proposed and programmed a two-week, ten-day festival at The Theatre School that featured approximately 30 shows that were written, directed, and performed by students. The festival was a huge success and paved the way for future expansion to The Annoyance Theatre and Bar.

MessFest 2021 Poster: DePaul University Comedy Arts Program

Fall 2022:

MessFest was formally scheduled as a part of The Annoyance season of shows. Students enrolled in a weekly class to develop their shows throughout the Fall. Kathryn Courtney (Comedy Arts 2023 Graduate) was selected as the Executive Director, Robert Vetter (Comedy Arts 2023 Graduate) served as the Marketing Chair, Tisby Critchley (Theatre Arts 2023 Graduate) worked as the Lead Artistic Director, and many other students served additional roles to the process. 

MessFest 2023 Poster, made by DePaul University Comedy Arts students

Winter 2023:

The festival had it's first performances at The Annoyance Theatre and Bar! The festival ran four days and featured over 40 shows students worked on throughout the fall. Shows featured in MessFest were subsequently picked up by iO, The Annoyance, and other comedy clubs in Chicago. 

Fall 2023:

The third inaugural festival began again, this time with Kathy Thompson at the helm as Executive Director with Kenna Bartlett, Ally Montgomry, Luke Herman, Lucas Johnson, Ava Cairl, Dwight Bellismo, Sarah Metz, Joseph Walsdorf, Josie Moore, Joan Starkey, and Audrey Gold.

Additional expansions from the first festival include multiple new short film screenings, a comprehensive festival pass, merchandise, and more!

Stay tuned for updated information about MessFest January 17-20th!

MessFest 2024 Poster, made by DePaul University Comedy Arts Students