GREGORY FENNER is an actor, writer, and massage therapist. Originally from St. Louis, Greg relocated to Chicago in 2014 and most of his work has been focused in these two cities. Since becoming an Ensemble Member at The Gift in 2017, he has appeared in Richard III, Hang Man, Hamlet, Cosmologies, The Pillowman, and the annual one-act festival TEN, three times. He has also written for giftLIT. and has performed with Michael Patrick Thornton in his two-person improv show You & Me.
Other notable theatre productions include several world premieres, including The First Deep Breath (Victory Gardens Theatre), A Small Oak Tree Runs Red (Congo Square Theatre), Native Son (Court Theatre, u/s), and Megastasis (Eclipse Theatre). Greg has also appeared in 10 out of 12 (Theatre Wit), Love and Information (Remy Bumppo), Pass Over (Curious Theatre), The Whipping Man (New Jewish Theatre), Angels in America: Part I & II, Six Degrees of Separation, Fully Committed (Stray Dog Theatre), New Kid (Metro Theater), Greater Tuna (SIUE Summer Stock), and Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (HotCity Theatre). He also performed in the NYC Fringe Festival in the bizarre, dance-filled, and somehow hilarious show about mental illness Whammy: The Seven Secrets to a Sane Self.
As a writer, Greg’s short plays R.O.M.E.R.O.S. and 2095 y.o.E. premiered at Theatre Lab in St. Louis. His short plays La Cocina De Jorge and The Bullshit premiered at Theatre Nuevo, also in St. Louis. He collaborated on the devised comedy This Is Not Funny with Theatre 310b in St. Louis, and on the sketch show Violets Aren’t Blue, at The Second City Training Center. Greg was also the creator, writer, star, co-director, and co-producer of the web series of comedic short films Classy Noodle. At the time of writing this bio, he is in pre-production for his dramedy film Distant Geniuses, which he wrote, and is directing and starring in.
TV credits include Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Empire, Next, and The Chi. He has also appeared in several short films, including Osi, Fishbone, Tell Me a Story, Plights, The Get, Self Help, Compulsion, and Modern Mime.
Greg believes that he is his most authentic self onstage. For him, acting is less about transformation, and more about discovery. He doesn’t believe that he ever “becomes” a character, he believes the character is a reflection of something about himself that he doesn’t typically show the world, and acting is his opportunity to do so. From the ugly parts to the beautiful parts, from the shy to the outspoken, it’s all in some way a representation of Greg. He is a big fan of dark comedy, in particular the surreal and the absurd, what most people might call “weird”. He thinks Sorry to Bother You may be one of the best movies to represent his taste: dark, hilarious, bizarre, satirical, and black. In general, he is just a fan of new work, or doing old work in a new way. He hasn’t danced on a stage in nearly ten years and really misses it, but knows he’s probably not good enough to get paid for it.
He believes the best art comes from a personal, vulnerable place. It helps give a voice to the voiceless and reminds people that they are not alone. He also prefers art that asks questions, rather than giving concrete answers.
Greg received the St. Louis Theatre Circle Award for Best Leading Actor in a Comedy (Fully Committed) and has been nominated twice for the St. Louis Theatre Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama (Angels in America, The Whipping Man). He was also nominated for the Black Excellence Award for Best Actor (A Small Oak Tree Runs Red) and a non-equity Jeff Award for Best Performer in a Supporting Role (Megastasis). He earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory.