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Country and Region United StatesPennsylvania
Type of Festival Dance, Drama, Music
Location of Festival Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Festival Contact Information

32 N. Front Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106 USA
Phone: (01) 215-413-9006
Fax: (01) 215-413-9007

Festival Description

The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe marked the beginning of a new era — after 17 years the contemporary arts organization has officially changed its name to FringeArts. The new name, announced in conjunction with breaking ground on a versatile permanent home on Philadelphia’s burgeoning waterfront, reflects the organization’s mission to bring the world’s newest and most cutting-edge cultural experiences to the City of Brotherly Love.

“We are an institution on a mission to explore the boundaries of art, to reveal what is yet to be discovered, to present high-quality new work that compels and challenges expectation, and to support the artists who create it,” says President and Producing Director Nick Stuccio. “FringeArts defines the bold innovation that characterizes the art we pride ourselves in pursuing.”

FringeArts will be permanently located across the street from Race Street Pier at the corner of Race Street and Columbus Boulevard. The 1903 historic former pumping station will be transformed into a year-round center for contemporary performing and visual arts; the 10,000-square-foot building will feature a 240-seat theater, rehearsal and creation studio, permanent festival hub, outdoor events plaza, restaurant/bar and administrative offices.

Programming under the new FringeArts banner will expand to include not only the annual 16-day Festival but also a year-round series of high-quality contemporary dance, theater and music performances both local and international; commissioned public art installations; and a residency program that continues to expand and grow as a state-of-the-art incubator for artists.

Festival Dates September 5 - 22, 2013
Festival Links

Festival Events:

Programming 2013:
      Created by internationally acclaimed contemporary artist Romeo Castellucci, On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God is a visually transfixing, emotionally harrowing, deeply felt work that has stunned audiences worldwide. As the story of a man caring for his aging father unfolds on stage, followed by the powerful, multi-sensory and visceral abstractions that characterize the most boundary-pushing theater, the work explores the nature of faith and our desire to be in the presence of God.
      When New York’s Nature Theater of Oklahoma asked one person to tell her life story, the company received 16 hours of raw material. The troupe has turned the transcript from this experiment into a serial musical extravaganza: Life and Times: Episodes 1-5, shown in installments and as a never-before-performed all-day marathon of all five episodes, tells the story of one subject, chosen not because her life is remarkable, but because her experiences are relatable. Each episode has its own genre, from period piece to mystery to Chorus Line-style musical.
      A co-presentation with The Wilma Theater, Greek performance company Attis Theatre’s U.S. premiere of AJAX, the madness is a contemporary study on war’s paranoia, violence and conflict based on the tragedy by Sophocles. The performance, led by internationally acclaimed director of Greek drama Theodoros Terzopoulos, is grounded in ritual and extreme physical and emotional expression.
      Beloved Philadelphia theater artist Geoff Sobelle’s world premiere, The Object Lesson, embraces and ridicules the act of collecting in a dig-site of futile fascination with the world of antiquity. Alone in an enormous pile of dirt and debris, a man reaches into the heap and finds the flotsam and jetsam of life. From these objects come inspired stories of imbecility, fabricated events of great consequence and betrayals of emotion, in this hilarious ode to what is lost and forgotten.
      From Jo Strømgren, Norway’s pre-eminent maker of contemporary physical theater and dance, The Society tells the story of a group of European coffee drinkers whose harmonious coffee-drinking ritual is broken by the discovery of a used tea bag. Investigations into a possible Asian infiltration unfold, and the question becomes: How far are coffee drinkers willing to go in order to bring the tea-loving traitor to justice?
      Reimagining its 2006 Philly Fringe hit The Ballad of Joe Hill with new historical revelations concerning its protagonist, Swim Pony Performing Arts and director Adrienne Mackey gather a ragtag band of vaudeville-inspired clowns to enact a troubled songwriter-turned-union leader’s life from within the walls of Eastern State Penitentiary. Audiences can expect a railcar ride, a drugstore murder, a sham trial and a mystery woman whose reputation is in jeopardy, all told with music, humor and great physicality.
      Beloved Philadelphia dance company Brian Sanders’ JUNK, known for such Festival favorites as Urban Scuba (2009), Sanctuary (2010) and The Gate Reopened (2012), presents the world premiere Hush Now Sweet High Heels and Oak, a new site-specific dance for the 23rd Street Armory packed with raw physical prowess, striking imagery, live music and a “sweet” in-your-face attitude.
      Renowned choreographer Reggie Wilson and his Fist & Heel Performance Group look at how we lead and why we follow with the world premiere of Moses(es), an intense, poetic work of nearly unlimited movement performed by six virtuosic dancers. Inspired by Wilson’s travels to Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Mali, Moses(es) explores the migration of people and culture from Africa and explores the effects migration has on beliefs and body movement, all within a contemporary dance framework.
      Best known for his work in Riverdance, Colin Dunne mixes his traditional Irish step dance with bold documentary-style performance in Out of Time. Projected films of dancers from the 1930s onward — including himself as a 10-year-old boy — accompany Dunne on stage as he weaves storytelling and movement to chronicle his journey from child dance prodigy to leading figure in step dance. According to Michael Seaver of Irish Times, the piece is “an intimate, sincere and funny artistic calling card which tells us why he is who he is, and how he is where he is.”
      Continuing FringeArts’ interest in showcasing international circus and theater arts for all ages, Berlin-based circus arts creator and performer Tobias Wegner’s award-winning Leo uses exceptional gravity-defying acrobatics to tell the story of an ordinary man’s world becoming unhinged. Limitless worlds are created out of confined spaces thanks to ingeniously projected video animations.
      A pay-as-you-go circus/laboratory experiment/shopping experience, Pig Iron Theatre Company’s beloved 2005 festival performance Pay Up is back for a labyrinthine choose-your-own-adventure, this time styled as a post-financial-crisis remount.
      An interactive performance by England’s Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells, The Quiet Volume is a silent, self-generated work for two at a time (a performance medium known as “Autoteatro,” wherein you are both the performer and the audience). At the Philadelphia Free Library, during regular hours, two audience members sit side-by-side with headphones on. Taking cues from words written and whispered, they burrow an unlikely path through a pile of books and come upon the strange magic at the heart of the reading experience.
      Expanding FringeArts’ entry into visual arts and social practice, three site-specific visual artist commissions comprise the world premiere This is Not Theater at Plays and Players Theatre. All The Sex I’ve Ever Had (Mammalian Diving Reflex) features autobiographical readings by senior citizens, while live focus groups interpret local news coverage for The Living Newspaper (Liz Magic Laser). Meanwhile, Navin Rawanchaikul will produce gigantic illustrative banners, a comic book and video portraits based on Plays and Players actors, directors and stagehands from the last 40 years.
      Contemporary music and performance come together with Where (we) Live, a composition by Sō Percussion (Bang on a Can Marathon, 2011) about experimentation, collaboration and how our homes influence our personalities. Dance, theater and video artists, as well as guest artisans — a violin maker, a metal worker, a brew master — join Sō Percussion onstage where everything becomes a musical instrument, from artists’ tools to floor lamps.


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Practical Info:

  • By phone
    (01) 215-413-1318
  • By mail:
    Administrative Office
    32 N. Front Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19106 USA
  • Online at
Photo Credits:
  • Show: Sonic Dance
    Photo: William Hebert
  • Show: Tar
    Photo: William Hebert
  • Show: Explanatorium
    Photo: Matthew Hollerbush
  • Show: Principles of Uncertainty
    Photo: Matthew Hollerbush
  • Show: BATCH
    Photo: William Hebert
  • Show: ACCIDENS (matar para comer)
    Artist: Rodrigo García
    Pictured: Juan Loriente
    Photo by: Rodrigo García
  • Show: Disco Descending
    Artist: Karen Getz
    Pictured: Jen Childs, Dave Jadico, Pete Pryor
    Image by: Matt Clowney/Mime Boy Design
  • Show: Sweet By-and-By
    Artist: Pig Iron Theatre Company/ Teater Sláva
    Pictured: Daniel Rudholm
    Image by: Daniel Rudholm
  • Show: bodies in urban spaces
    Artist: Cie. Willi Dorner
    Photo by: Lisa Rastl
  • Company: Headlong Dance Theater
    Pictured: more. Devynn Emory
    Photo by: M. Elizabeth Hershey
  • Artist: Michal Zadara, Capitol Theatre
    Pictured: Operetta, Cast of Operetta
    Photo by: Lukasz Gawronski/Teatr Muzyczny CAPITOL
  • Artist: Mike Daisey, How Theater Failed America & The Last Cargo Cult
    Photo by: Ursa Waz
  • Company: Pig Iron Theatre Company, Welcome to Yuba City
    Photo by: courtesy of Pig Iron Theatre Company
  • Artist: Brian Sanders/JUNK, Urban Scuba
    Photo by: Steve Belkowitz
  • Artist: Chunky Move, Mortal Engine
    Pictured: Charmene Yap
    Photo by: Andrew Curtis
  • Company: Dean & Britta, 13 Most Beautiful … Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests
    Pictured: Billy Name
    Photo by: by Rob Long; Andy Warhol, Screen Tests, 1964-66, ©2008 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Company: Cie. Willi Dorner, above under inbetween
    Photo by: Lisa Rastl


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