Every September, FringeArts rolls out a city-wide celebration of innovative art and unique creativity. This 17-day art party (from September 9th to 24th), the Fringe Festival, cannot be contained in one venue or by one theme or form—instead, every corner of Philadelphia becomes a stage. International, national, and local artist come together to create over 1,000 performances that are curated by FringeArts. Experiments in sound, theater, images, and film create a memorable festival with dozens of compelling pieces.
With so much going on, we’ve compiled some of our highlights of the 2016 Fringe Festival. While certainly not a comprehensive list, here are some of our favorite performances.
At this large-scale installation by Ann Hamilton, visitors bring the artwork to life. Using a pulley system, guests unfurl, billow, and spin massive curtains. Some fabrics have poems printed on them as well. Held at Pier 9 along the Delaware River, this gigantic, immersive installation is a vision focusing on the tactile nature of fabric and the human experience.
Where: Pier 9, Race Street & N. Columbus Boulevard
When: September 6th – October 10th
The Elementary Spacetime Show
Presented in collaboration with the The University of the Arts, César Alvarez’s boundary-pushing musical is not a traditional show. A young girl attempts suicide and awakens in a cosmic, 1930s-style game show. As she navigates the challenges, a swirling, colorful display of science, genre-bending music, and dance come to life in an oddly charming show.
Where: Arts Bank at The University of the Arts, 601 S. Broad St.
When: September 10th – September 24th
Death is a Cabaret Ol’ Chum: A Graveyard Cabaret
This Fringe Festival favorite from REV Theatre Company returns again for haunting entertainment at Laurel Hill Cemetery. Head to the graveyard and enjoy the voices of three “departed (singing) souls” as they perform Bessie Smith, Sonny & Cher, and the Scissor Sisters. Bring a blanket or beach chairs, grab a free cocktail, and enjoy the spooky show.
Where: Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue
When: September 16th – September 24th
Tangle Movement seamlessly blends circus arts with theater and dance in its presentation of Surface Tension. The performance explores the forces that push and pull people together in a stunning display of circus-like-trapeze, aerial skill, and live music. An all-female ensemble of acrobats drives the show, and an emphasis on queer and female experiences is emphasized.
Where: Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American Street
When: September 14th – September 17th
Questions of life, death, space, and time are all played out in this mesmerizing performance created by Philadelphia Opera Collective and PhilaLandmarks. The lives and mysteries of eleven different characters living across two centuries become crossed and linked, with revenge, the pursuit of the truth, and love just some of the themes bringing them together. The performances embraces both opera and theater to tell the story of a magically woven journey across time.
Where: The Powel House, 244 South 3rd Street
When: September 9th – September 22th