FringeArts announces programming for Spring 2017

Choreographer and director Faye Driscoll shares the second installment of her Thank You For Coming series, exploring human relationship and the limitations of language. Tania Isaac brings her arresting solo movement drama crazy beautiful to Fringe for the first time. And the Almanac Dance Circus Theatre introduces the Fronteras project, two nights of unique performance blending theatre, dance, and circus arts, in collaboration with Mexican choreographer and theater artist Emmanuel Becerra.

FringeArts excited to play host to First Person Arts’ signature StorySlams (April 4th, May 23rd). What’s a StorySlam? A StorySlam is more than a storytelling competition. It’s an invitation to share five minutes of your life and connect with a room full of people who appreciate a well-told tale. Gutsy audience members sign up at the door to tell true stories on the theme of the night. Of those who sign up, ten storytellers are randomly selected to take to the stage with their most outrageous, heartfelt, and hilarious tales. Judges, also selected from the audience, determine the StorySlam winner, who is awarded a $100 prize, and a chance to compete in the season finale Grand Slam. Got five minutes? Come and lend an ear, or share an experience!

Team Sunshine Performance Corporation and The Philly Pigeon/Jacob Winterstein have teamed up to produce The Society of Civil Discourse (April 8), an interactive and fun night of passionately listening to and talking about things that don’t matter.

Participants try their hand at different kinds of soapboxing and debate. Then the most dexterous practitioners of verbal warfare are chosen for The Great Debate, a battle royale of hype, philosophizing, pseudo-intellectualizing, pop psycho-analyzing, and misplaced righteous bravura with zero regard to truth and dignity—all to the delight of a fevered audience.

In the second installment of her Thank You For Coming series, Faye Driscoll uses the ritual of storytelling to explore our human reliance on stories to relate to one another and form identities as individuals and citizens.

Thank You For Coming: Play (April 14-15) focuses on the shadows, gaps, repetitions and stutters between what we say and what we do while we say it. In this strange and enthralling collage of gesture, image, voice, and persona, where the physical and aural exist in a slippery relationship, performers ventriloquize, shape-shift and speak through and for each other.

A lyrically explosive solo movement drama by Tania Isaac, crazy beautiful (27-29) is part biography, part allegory. Weaving the text of The Little Prince, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and the Old Man and the Sea with original writing and live music, Tania Isaac encapsulates a fragmented overlay of dance movements from dancehall reggae to austere gesture. Both an installation and immersive live performance, crazy beautiful guides you through the idea of perspective: what we see, what we expect, what we think we know, and how we create our own realities.

Almanac Dance Circus Theatre is bringing two distinct ensemble-driven shows that fuse acrobatics, storytelling, and daring physicality in collaboration with Mexican choreographer and theater artist Emmanuel Becerra.

Fronteras: An Homage to Whatshername (May 3) is a devised work of spellbinding movement, a sense of humor, and stunning acrobatics, that unpacks the biases associated with female-identifying people in positions of power. Circus sequences play with the natural differences between feminine and masculine energies—and question what is universal and what is just you and me.

Fronteras: A Door in the Desert (May 5) is an acrobatic journey through transcendence and back, one that questions why we divide and label ourselves. Abstract shapes made of human bodies, movement that twists the rules of what is possible and what is expected. Circus mats fall like big walls on top of people. A Door in the Desert physicalizes the identities we build for ourselves and the layers upon layers of beliefs and ideas. What does it take to tear down our own walls?

FringeArts is partnering with Ars Nova Workshop to bring John Hollenbeck’s The Claudia Quintet (May 16) to Fringe. Formed in 1997, The Claudia Quintet is one of the most innovative groups to spring from the creativity of New York’s downtown music scene.

They have remained true to their original mission of creating distinctive improvisational chamber music that defies categorization. Over the course of 19 years and eight critically acclaimed albums, the band has forged an astounding chemistry and become expert at juggling mind-boggling dexterity with inviting emotion and spirit.

[DANCE YOUR ART OUT] Show off your moves at FringeA-Thon (May 20), the epic dance party marathon and fundraiser for FringeArts. Come celebrate the power of artistic expression and engage in grassroots support for the arts. Over the course of 12 hours, novice, avid, and professional dancers and fitness lovers will dance “their art out” while raising money for an iconic Philadelphia arts institution.

[PODCASTING, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL]  Join First Person Arts and WHYY for Commonspace LIVE (May 22-26), a week of live recordings for their new radio show and podcast. Whatever tomorrow’s news cycle may bring, Commonspace has the real life stories to put it all into context.

The week will include another edition of the StorySlam series, this time with the theme “Battle Scars” (May 23).

Fresh from No Face Performance Group comes a playful interrogation of the tension between stillness and motion, minimalism and dynamism, silence and pop music. THE TOP (May 31-June 3) invites audiences into an open, direct, and intimate relationship with its three performers. Taking cues from pop and minimalist music, the choreography plays with viewers’ sense of time and expectation, creating a world of nonverbal exchange that is restrained and charged with possibility.

FringeArts is teaming up again with Ars Nova Workshop to bring Saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and pedal steel guitarist Heather Leigh together for a night of explosive improvisation (June 8).

Martha Graham Cracker, the hairy-chested, fake eyelash-laden alter-ego of thespian Dito Van Reigersberg, performs a balls-to-the-wall drag cabaret (June 12). Backed by her stellar band and with her killer voice, Martha Graham Cracker takes you on a raucous, joyous, uninhibited ride around her world.


FringeArts’ Spring season begins in April, and continues through June of 2017. Tickets are priced between $15 and $29. Members, Students and patrons age 25 or younger are eligible $15 for tickets to FringeArts shows. Members save 30% on all shows (including the 2017 Fringe Festival), can exchange tickets, receive admission to exclusive artist receptions and other special events, and enjoy priority seating at select performances. Groups of 10+ save 25%.



FringeArts is Philadelphia’s home for contemporary performance, presenting progressive, world-class art that stretches the imagination and boldly defies expectation. FringeArts’ center on the Delaware River waterfront offers a year-round series of innovative dance, theater and music performances. And for 17 days each fall, the organization fills every nook and cranny of the city with contemporary performances during the annual Fringe Festival. FringeArts believes in art-making that inspires new ideas, engages artists and audiences in unique ways, and advances the global dialogue about art. For more information, visit
***photo credit: Lindsay Browning