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Nick Mataragas - Director of Programming


Nick is a former high school Alternative Education and Graphic Design teacher, the Founder and Executive Director of Memoriam Development, the Artistic Director of the Elgin Fringe Festival, the Vice President of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals, and the Director of Programming at Side Street Studio Arts.

A graduate of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication, Nick spent ten years as a high school teacher. First at Kishwaukee Education Consortium (KEC), then at Rochelle Township High School. During his time as a teacher, he focused on critical and creative thinking, with an emphasis on taking risks while understanding the fundamentals of solid design work.

Every year while at KEC, Nick had students choose to compete in Graphic Design related competitions at the Illinois SkillsUSA state conference. Eight of those students became state champions, seven of whom competed at the national conference. He also was the adviser to one state officer.

Nick remains involved with Illinois SkillsUSA as the contest chair for the yearly Pin Design and T-Shirt Design competitions.

A graduate of iO Chicago, Nick works in the performing arts as an improviser, director, writer, actor (stage, screen, and audio), and producer. He is a former main stage ensemble member, and sketch comedy teacher at the now-defunct Comedy Shrine.

He founded Memoriam Development in 2016 and continues to work as the Executive Director. Memoriam is a collective of performing artists that focuses on making original content. Nick has produced over 40 different podcasts, plays, improv shows, short films, and other shows as the head of the organization. Productions include the podcasts SURIAL and Freak Of The Week, the theatrical productions Nightshade and Oh My Gods, the sketch shows Participation Trophy and The Future Ain't What It Used To Be, and the fringe shows Halvsies and the award-winning The Bichon Frise And Shetland Variety Hour.

Nick has performed at the Elgin Fringe, Denver Fringe, St. Louis Fringe, Portland Fringe, and Asheville Fringe festivals, many area theaters, online, and on television as John Wayne Gacy on Ghost Adventures and as Richard Styles on Judge Dad.

He is also the author of the book, Improv: A Rant.

Nick joined Side Street Studio Arts in 2018 as a teacher for the Community Moves program, which provides on-site after-school programming to local schools. He soon became the Community Moves Coordinator, overseeing the program itself, and would eventually move up in the organization to become an Assistant Director, the Director of Special Projects, and now the Director of Programming.

In his various roles at Side Street, Nick has worked on education, transportation coordination, space rentals, human resources, accessibility, and performing arts programming and community building, including the development of the Fox Valley Performing Arts Roundtable and Discord server, the Side Street Open Mic, and the Audio Matters series.

In November of 2019, Nick joined the Elgin Fringe as Artistic Director. During his tenure, he has worked on the 2020 pivot to a virtual festival and the return to in-person programming in 2021, the transition of the festival from first come first serve to a lottery, and helped develop the Short Show category at the festival.

Through his work at the Elgin Fringe, Nick was elected the Vice President of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals in November of 2023.


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