It’s been well over two decades since Philadelphia’s first ever Fringe Festival made its mark on the city, and each year seems to get a little bigger—and a little more creative. In 2022, the official start date for the contemporary performance event is set for Sept. 8, and throughout the three-week period (Fringe will run until Oct. 2), the festivities will feature nearly 200 diverse productions and experiences.
“For over 25 years, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival has elevated our city as a primary nexus for cultural conversation, progressive ideas, and innovative art-making,” says President and Producing Director Nick Stuccio in a statement. “We are excited to welcome audience members to enjoy this year’s dynamic programming and hope that the festival can act as a social space in which conversation can blossom between artists and audiences, artists and artists, and Philadelphia and the world.”
This year, the festival has amassed a record number of submissions, and those who head out to Fringe in September can expect an assortment of live theatrical and dance performances, art installations, circus arts, and genre-bending experiences that highlight the wide variety of local and national talent that the festival continuously attracts. Or, in Fringe’s words, visitors can catch artistically daring performances from national and international artists curated by FringeArts, plus, both live and digital works produced by independent artists from across Philadelphia and beyond.
The digital side of the show has also been around since 2015—although in recent years it became more prevalent due to the pandemic—and some will be available to watch directly throughout the festival. Others will have specific viewing times and could also involve a degree of interactivity between performers and audiences.
The release also states a few stand-out performances for the 2022 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, including world premieres by Geoff Sobelle, Pig Iron Theatre Company, and a collaborative team consisting of David T. Little, Anne Waldman and Michael Joseph McQuilken.
First up, Geoff Sobelle’s ‘FOOD’ offers a meditation on the ways and whys of eating. And audiences will gather and converse around a white linen-covered dining table throughout this immersive, constantly transforming performance. Pig Iron’s ‘ The Path of Pins’ (or ‘The Path of the Needles) on the other hand brings together the theater company and writer/filmmaker Josephine Decker. Inspired by Maria Tatar’s research on the history of fairy tales, this immersive performance dreamscape explores “the complex decisions that mothers, fictional and real, must make about their children’s lives.”
Philadelphians can also look out for the U.S. premiere of acclaimed French choreographer Jérôme Bel’s self-titled “auto-bio-choreo-graphy”, the highly-anticipated Philadelphia premiere of ‘An Untitled Love by A.I.M’ by Kyle Abraham, plus, the return of ‘Lightning Rod Special ‘and The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, both longtime FringeArts collaborators and festival favorites.
With The Bearded Ladies specifically, this troupe of sparkle-clad and exuberant artists draw from traditional theatre, opera, dance, and art installation. The Cabaret’s ‘Late Night Snacks’ is meant to be a “special homage and love letter to their hometown, showcasing local organizations, artists, and community members in the neighborhoods where they live and work.”
Additionally, MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow Annie Dorsen will also bring her ‘Spokaoke’ to Philadelphia for one night only.
FringeArts is also partnering with three independent satellite festivals throughout Fringe: Cannonball at the Mass Building, Crossroads Comedy Theatre at Theatre Exile, and Circus Campus Presents at Circadium, the School of Contemporary Circus.
The Fringe Festival also always features an independently-produced slate, and this year’s lineup of 180 shows spans across many different genres and platforms. A few highlights include ‘Afternoon of an Alter’ by Emmett Wilson, “Sex-Files” StorySlam by First Person Arts, ‘Dirt Trip’ by Alex Tatarsky, the Free Improv Jam by Crossroads Comedy Theater, ‘LGBTQuiet’ by Shadow Company, ‘Poison Garden’ by Alterra Productions, and more. The full list of independent artists can be found online.
“We’ve got some fans,” finishes Stuccio in a previous statement to Metro. “People come out and it’s awesome…We’ve really had an impact and effect, and have given a lot of meaning to so many people’s lives.”
Tickets for this year’s Fringe Festival go on sale on Aug. 5 for members, and then for the general public on Aug. 8. For more information and to get your own, visit fringearts.com
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