FringeArts supports artists and brings the world’s newest and most cutting-edge cultural experiences to Philadelphia, amplifying the vibrancy of the city as a renowned cultural center and an unparalleled place to live, work and visit. Founded in 1997 and formerly known as the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, the organization serves local, national and international artists of all disciplines and levels of achievement through an annual 16-day Festival along with year round series of high-quality contemporary dance, theater and music performances; commissioned public art installations; and a residency program that continues to expand and grow as a state-of-the-art incubator for artists. FringeArts has broken ground on a versatile permanent home on Philadelphia’s burgeoning waterfront which it plans to open to the public for the 2013 festival, scheduled for September 6 - 21.
2012 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival Features Provocative Theater and Dance, Urban Circus and Large-Scale Public Art
International visionaries Sylvain Émard, Back to Back Theatre and Seven Fingers join Philadelphia leaders Pig Iron, Headlong, Brian Sanders, Thaddeus Phillips and more in 16th annual festival
PHILADELPHIA — From September 7 – 22, the annual Philadelphia Live Arts Festival will celebrate its 16th year with 16 days of cutting-edge dance, theater, music, visual and interdisciplinary works by renowned artists from the U.S. and international arts scene. With six world premieres and two U.S. premieres, the Festival is a platform for daring and innovative artists, bringing leaders of the contemporary performing arts world to Philadelphia stages.
The 2012 programming will showcase provocative theater works from Australia’s Back to Back Theatre, Toshiki Okada’s chelfitsch of Japan, and New York’s Elevator Repair Service and Young Jean Lee Theater Company; daring contemporary, urban circus from Montreal’s 7 Fingers; and groundbreaking theater and dance from Philadelphia’s leading art makers such as Pig Iron Theatre Company, Headlong Dance Theater, Brian Sanders’ JUNK and Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental.
Works of public performance and art on a grand scale will take to the city’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway with an interactive public art experience from Montreal-based new media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and the largest work in Live Arts Festival history with Sylvain Émard Danse’s Le Grand Continental.
“Our mission to present important artistic voices from around the world alongside Philadelphia’s best and brightest talent continues with our 2012 programming,” says Nick Stuccio, Producing Director. “We’ll offer the only American presentation of Back to Back Theatre’s FOOD COURT — an experimental, yet emotionally moving, piece of performance that shines a light on who holds power in our society. We’re also bringing back 7 Fingers for a second year for the U.S. premiere of their newest contemporary circus work, Sequence 8, and we’re assembling 200-plus Philadelphia-area residents to dance in Le Grand Continental.
“We’re also very fortunate to continue to present the work of Philadelphia’s pre-eminent artists. These artists have been part of our festival since its earliest years in the late 1990s. As we have grown, so have they developed as world-class contemporary art makers. Their work is now being seen across the country and around the world, and when we bring them together here at home, that’s as solid a body of performance repertory as you’ll find.”
Live Arts Festival performances take place in venues and alternative spaces throughout the city of Philadelphia, from the streets of Old City’s historic district to the Merriam Theater on the Avenue of the Arts. Together, the curated Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and the unfiltered Philly Fringe draw tens of thousands of people who come to be a part of “Festival time” in the city — to see innovative work, meet new people and interact with more than 2,000 artists performing in 1,200-plus performances.
Tickets to the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival will go on sale beginning in mid-June at
www.livearts-fringe.org or via phone at 215-413-1318. A full schedule and tickets for the Philly Fringe will be available in July.
CENTERPIECE PERFORMANCE ADDRESSES BULLYING AND BODY IMAGE
At the heart of the 2012 Live Arts Festival, the U.S. premiere of Back to Back Theatre’s FOOD COURT confronts issues of power and the desire to abuse it, violence and body image through the eyes of a woman being harassed by her peers in a public space. Performed by an Australia-based company of artists with perceived intellectual disabilities, this stunning experimental piece challenges audiences to confront their definition of “other” through an unpredictable roller coaster of digital projections, shadows and emotion — all underscored by a live music score by The Necks, one of Australia’s great avant-jazz bands, and performed at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater.
“After making our previous work, small metal objects [Live Arts Festival, 2009], where the audience was both spectator and spectacle, we wanted to achieve a similar effect in a traditional proscenium theater,” says director Bruce Gladwin. “There is a series of tensions in the work, between beauty and violence, seeing and not seeing, chaos and control, and around the abled and disabled body.”
The largest work in the Live Arts Festival’s 16-year history, Sylvain Émard Danse’s Le Grand Continental brings together more than 200 Philadelphia-area residents of all ages and backgrounds to learn a 30-minute contemporary dance that displays the talent, charisma and personality of “ordinary” Philadelphians. Originally created for Montreal’s internationally renowned Festival TransAmériques in 2009, the Philadelphia version of Le Grand Continental will be the largest presentation of its kind in the world.
From the company that brought Traces to the 2011 Live Arts Festival, Montreal-based 7 Fingers’ Sequence 8 — a co-presentation of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts — carries emotional dynamics and physical feats to a point of explosion and propulsion, incorporating the strongest of theatrical elements at an even higher acrobatic level. Using simple props such as mirrors, a tape deck with instructive recordings and a portable projector, this momentous U.S. premiere tempts and tests the fine line between “self” and “other.”
Brian Sanders’ JUNK (Philadelphia), an acrobatically audacious company known for its ingenious use of found objects and clever inventions that bridge the gap between dance and physical theater, presents The Gate Reopened, a larger-than-life reimagining of Sanders’ thrilling 2003 hit The Gate.
A rising star in Philadelphia choreography, Jumatatu Poe presents the world premiere of Private Places, an original work that mixes themes of explosiveness and confinement, service and performance, materials and identity. Blending high-powered J-Setting choreography with the stylized movements of ordinary tasks, Private Places features Philadelphia dancers Gregory Holt, Maya Johnson, Shannon Murphy, Gabrielle Revlock and Michelle Tantoco.
Philadelphia’s much-loved Pig Iron Theatre Company once again pushes the envelope of traditional theater expectations with Minister of Mascots, a world-premiere collaboration with renowned Japanese playwright/director Toshiki Okada. Directed by Dan Rothenberg and featuring James Sugg, Dito van Reigersberg and Alex Torra, this quirky, idiosyncratic yet incredibly moving autobiographical tale looks at the after-effects of the March 2011 Japanese tsunami on Okada’s family and friends as they gather together in a makeshift artists refugee camp in western Japan.
Meanwhile, Okada presents his own triptych of plays with his company chelfitsch, Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech, which humorously capture the malaise of young low-level office workers and use jarring choreographed movements to express the intimate details of his characters’ minds. Performed in Japanese with projected English supertitles, these groundbreaking contemporary plays are meant for anyone who has ever felt trapped by cubicle walls.
Philadelphia’s Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental teams up with Minneapolis-based duo The Wilhelm Brothers for RED-EYE to HAVRE de GRACE. Directed and designed by Thaddeus Phillips and created in collaboration with Geoff Sobelle (Elephant Room, all wear bowlers) and Sophie Bortolussi (currently playing Lady M in Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More in New York City), this musical investigates Edgar Allan Poe’s final days, before he was found unconscious on a Baltimore street, wearing a stranger’s clothing.
Philadelphia’s New Paradise Laboratories’ world premiere of 27 considers the afterlife — where life is brilliant and brief, the laws of the universe are ignored and warriors party hard, celebrating their way-too-early deaths. Unlike the company’s previous Festival works that focused on the realm of social media (FATEBOOK, Extremely Public Displays of Privacy), 27, directed by Whit MacLaughlin, occurs in real time, a muscular performance with an otherworldly live score.
Another Festival favorite, Charlotte Ford is working with a who’s-who of female Philadelphia theater artists — performers Sarah Sanford and Lee Etzold and director Emmanuelle Delpech — for Bang, a work of theater in which three distinct characters fall accidentally onto the stage, setting out to show the world their wants and desires with wild abandon. This trio of comedic clowns will explore the idea that women — especially women on stage — can be beautiful and funny at the same time.
Building on the great success of Gatz (Live Arts Festival, 2007) and The Sun Also Rises (The Select) (2010), New York-based Elevator Repair Service presents the courtroom re-enactment adventure Arguendo. The performance is based on oral argument transcripts from Barnes v. Glen Theatre Inc., a 1991 Supreme Court case brought by a group of naked go-go dancers in which the justices debate whether erotic dancing is protected speech under the U.S. Constitution.
Stretching the boundaries of theater-making, New York’s Young Jean Lee Theater Company presents UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW, a nude exploration of gender identity. With humor and irreverence, six stars of the dance, theater, cabaret and burlesque worlds come together to invite audiences on a wordless journey of self-exploration.
Bringing the Live Arts Festival close to home in the most literal sense, Headlong Dance Theater’s groundbreaking world premiere of This Town Is a Mystery is a multidisciplinary performance conducted in the living rooms of four participating Philadelphia households. This unprecedented project will journey into culturally and geographically diverse private spaces, transforming each home into a theater and its inhabitants into performers. According to Headlong co-founder/co-director Andrew Simonet, “Every home has its own universe. What mysteries reside in these households, and what conversations might happen if we open our doors a little?”
Closing out the 2012 Live Arts Festival with an extraordinary, unparalleled melding of public art and mobile technology, Mexican-Canadian media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s world premiere Open Air is a spectacular, interactive experience that will light up the night sky from the Ben Franklin Parkway. Via a free mobile app, participants’ voices and GPS positions will control 24 powerful robotic searchlights placed along the Parkway every evening starting September 20 (continuing through October 14), creating an enormous three-dimensional canopy of light.
The third annual FEASTIVAL, a benefit for the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, will be held on Wednesday, September 12 from 6 – 9 p.m. (VIP hour, 5 p.m.) at a waterfront warehouse located on Pier 9, 121 N. Columbus Blvd., in Philadelphia. The 2012 event will feature a culinary feast from 85 of the city’s top chefs, including FEASTIVAL presenters Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov and Audrey Claire Taichman, live performances by Festival artists and silent and live auctions. The event will also honoractor and philanthropist Leonard C. Haas for his pivotal role in Philadelphia’s cultural community. All FEASTIVAL proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe. For invitations, announcements and other updates, visit www.phillyfeastival.com.
The Philadelphia Live Arts and Philly Fringe Festival runs from September 7 – 22, 2012. Tickets for most shows are priced between $10 and $30; some shows are free. Students and Festival-goers age 25 or younger pay $15 for Live Arts Festival tickets and receive $5 off any Philly Fringe tickets priced above $10. Discounted tickets are available to Festival Members. Festival Members save 20% on all shows, can exchange tickets, receive admission to exclusive special events, and save 10% at top Philadelphia restaurants. A Festival All-Access Pass ($400 for a one-person pass, or $800 for a two-person pass) grants admission to every Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe show, 20% for up to 3 additional tickets per performance, and ticket exchange service up to 48 hours prior to show time. Groups of 10+ save 25%.
Philadelphia Live Arts Festival tickets will be available for purchase beginning in mid-June at www.livearts-fringe.org or at the Box Office at 215-413-1318. Philly Fringe tickets will go on sale in July. Tickets to Sequence 8 and Food Court, co-presentations of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, will be available mid-June at www.kimmelcenter.org.
A full schedule of additional festival events, performance dates, times and locations will be announced soon. Visit www.livearts-fringe.org for up-to-date Festival information. PNC Arts Alive is the 2012 Presenting Sponsor of the 16th Annual Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe.
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Canary Promotion, 215-690-4065
Megan Wendell, megan [at] canarypromo [dot] com
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