The Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – A Festival of Solo Shows

A NoHo Arts interview of with Kimleigh Smith, creator of “The Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – A Festival of Solo Shows”  June 21-25 at Atwater Village Theatre.
A NoHo Arts interview of with Kimleigh Smith, creator of “The Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – A Festival of Solo Shows”  June 21-25 at Atwater Village Theatre.

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts interview with Kimleigh Smith, creator of “The Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – A Festival of Solo Shows”  June 21-25 at Atwater Village Theatre.


June 21-25  at 8PM


Atwater Village Theatre 3269 Casitas Ave, Los Angeles


A NoHo Arts interview of with Kimleigh Smith, creator of “The Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – A Festival of Solo Shows”  June 21-25 at Atwater Village Theatre.

Kimleigh Smith is an actress, director, producer, best-selling author, internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning solo performer, sex positive, sexual assault awareness advocate, speaker and founder of the Embrace Your Cape!  I first saw Kimleigh’s AMAZING solo show, “Totally” earlier this year and was absolutely blown away by her. She took her own traumatic event, something she survived from sheer force of will and made it into her own source of superpower. She used it to power her, rather than overpower her. It’s really an incredible story and one I hope you have the chance to see one day.

But this event is about empowering other women solo artists and giving them the chance to share their stories and find their own grace in that. Using her own production company, Embrace Your Cape!, Kimleigh has inspired, engaged and informed – sharing the love and the power that it brings.

I had a few questions for Kimleigh about herself, her process, her Festival of Shows and her future!

Hi Kimleigh, thank you so much for everything you do. How did you begin your journey as a playwright and what inspired you?

I really feel that Whoopi Goldberg is the one artist that changed my life more than I could ever say in words. Her solo show, Whoopi is the inspiration behind everything I do. It gave me my love for solo storytelling and writing. 

When I first saw her show, I was young and all I could see was how funny she was. Then one day I decided to put her show in and watch it as an adult. That is when it hit me, she was telling profound stories and bringing them to life in simple but powerful way. I was mesmerized, I laughed, I cried and I knew that I was meant to do something as powerful as that. I had to find a way to be as strong as Whoopi was, strong enough to tell my story. I had no idea how to do it, how to write it or if it would even be good. 

Then I did it, I wrote it and I was blown away and I couldn’t believe that I transformed my audiences. I was shocked that I too was capable of making people laugh and cry. I somehow found a way to take them on a rollercoaster ride with me and leave them changed forever, like Whoopi left me and so many others. 

The fact that Steven Spielberg saw Whoopi’s show and helped her bring it to the world, that was a true inspiration, it is amazing what one person can do to change someone’s life.

How has performing changed your life? 

About a month after I got to L.A., my cousin Stuart called and asked me if I was still willing to donate my kidney to him. He’d been fighting a losing battle with his body for two years, hoping another option would work out, so he wouldn’t have to take me up on the offer I’d made years earlier to be his donor. Of course, it’s a risk to give up an organ, but family love and the chance to save my cousin carried me past the fears and worries.  As family, doctors and nurses gathered at the hospital to comfort us in our recovery, I found that the pain medication left me a little loopy, telling funny stories without any inhibitions.  I was off the charts for reals. When I finally came too everyone was laughing so hard, they were like, you need to write a one-woman show. I wasn’t a writer so I was like, no way. But something kept telling me I needed to do it. After my transplant which took place in my hometown of Leavenworth, KS. I went back in L.A. and things started to change. My body started to blow up and I went from 115 lbs. to 195 lbs. Giving up a kidney did a number on me. Though I never regretted my decision, I was confused and feeling unfulfilled creatively. I realized that I was always doing other people’s work, learning other people’s scripts and performing them, but not really finding my own voice.  I’d pushed away the advice people gave me for years to do a one-person show. Honestly, I was petrified that I wouldn’t be up to the task of writing my own show.  I was confident in my abilities as a performer because I’d had a lot of success in that area, but becoming a writer was a big leap into the unknown.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote. I always like to say, “You must be willing to sacrifice who you are for who you want to become.” After years of running away from what scared me, I woke up and realized that the time had come to face my fear – which wasn’t about dying, but about having the courage to really live, and live out loud. I knew I needed to tell the story of the lessons I’d learned.  Finally, I did. The journey to this show has been full of twists, turns and tears, but I came through it all. I’m still standing. I feel better than ever!  I pushed through the painful memories and found a way to still express the joy and zest for life that humor brings to each situation.  I have redefined myself and my art!  I realized I am a true-born storyteller, in writing as well as performance. My show allowed me to put all the things I love – acting, singing, dancing and psychology – into a vehicle that also expresses the life philosophy (Embrace Your Cape). My show is called Totally! Because it means wholly: to a complete degree or to the full or entire extent of something – there’s no room for half-assing anything if I’m completely committed and I completely committed. I am told that my show affects people because it speaks to everyone. We have all been through things in life that hold us back, but we can come through to the other side. My story is about overcoming anything by telling your story, wait, not just telling your story, but owning your story so you can own your life, putting on your superhero cape, taking flight and embracing who and what you are, and never letting anything get in your way! 

A NoHo Arts interview of with Kimleigh Smith, creator of “The Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – A Festival of Solo Shows”  June 21-25 at Atwater Village Theatre.

The solo play community is very supportive, how has this help you?

The solo play community has welcomed me with open arms and heart from the moment I started on this powerful journey. It isn’t one way that they have helped me, it is a million ways. If you have any questions there is always somewhere to turn. That is what has been so wonderful to me. That is why I will always help anyone that comes my way no matter what they need I am here, 

What advice do you have for anyone with a story to tell?

Find the thing or things that scare you the most and then dig in. If you tell your truth fully, honestly, vulnerably and with humor…you will never fail. As they say, the truth will set you free. There is no other way. You have to be brave and look your demon in the eye in order to get to the other side. For me when I direct it is about the transformation you go through and the show is the cherry on top. 

Producing one play is hard enough, but now you are creating this event! What was that like?

I love bringing people together to create great things. This is my happy place and I am even happier helping people own their stories and overcome their trauma with laughter and light and depth. This event began many months ago when these 7 brave women asked me to help them, and the journey began. They all dove in with everything they had. Scared to start but ready anyway and boy did they. My greatest joy is watching someone go from scared to superhero. That is how Embrace Your Cape started…with me truly embracing my story the good the bad and the ugly. So, when I watch others do the same, I am simply blown away and facilitating this growth has changed me forever. I love watching the audience transform before my eyes as they watch the artist transform before their eyes. It is an honor to take the skills I have learned over the years and help others see their dreams come true. Yep, so I will say it again…this is my happy place…directing, producing, creating, and acting all rolled up in one. 

What is next for Kimleigh Smith?

I really feel that my contribution on this earth is to be one of the major voices that is bringing content to the world in a unique and honest way. Storytelling is everything to me and I believe there are voices and stories that are still not being heard. As a producer, director, creator, mentor and actor I feel it is my job to change that. I started, Embrace Your Cape Enterprises to bring a collective of artists together to create with humor and heart. I want to bring a paradigm shift to the entertainment industry, something that has never been done before. The system was not built to empower but to make people compete. My dream is to build people UP and in doing that I am hoping I can truly make a mainstream change that lasts. I believe that as each of us embraces our cape, we can transform how people see things.

Thanks, Kimleigh!!

If you want to see some magic, then get yourself over to Kimleigh’s event at The Atwater Village theatre June 21-25t and support these amazing women and their brilliance!  I know I will be there!!

You can also check out Kimleigh and all she does, do you have a story you need to tell??