2018 Fringe Festival


Do You Want A Cookie?
Bearded Ladies Cabaret
World Premiere!

Come hungry. Philadelphia’s Bearded Ladies Cabaret has some treats for you. Do You Want A Cookie? transforms an old factory to concoct the perfect cabaret confections to satisfy your cravings. Part Great Cabaret Bake-Off, part irreverent romp through cabaret history, the show is at once subversive, joyous, provocative, and communal.



Stifters Dinge
Heiner Goebbels
The Navy Yard

Stifters Dinge (“Stifter’s things”) is a play with no actors, a composition for five pianos with no pianists, a performance without performers — a no-man show. Light, pictures, murmurs, sounds, voices, wind and mist, water and ice — these devices usually act as mere props or set pieces. In Stifters Dinge they become protagonists.



Songs of War I Have Seen
Heiner Goebbels

A work of theater as much as one of music, Songs of Wars I Have Seen juxtaposes modern and period instruments, electronic atmospherics, Baroque compositions, modernist harmonies, and the haunting text of Gertrude Stein’s World War II memoir to create a bittersweet lament on war’s insidious effects.



Le Super Grand Continental
Sylvain Émard
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Performed by a diverse cast of 200 Philadelphians from all ages and dance backgrounds, the expanded Le Super Grand Continental brings whole new choreography to a festive—and FREE—dance extravaganza at one of the city’s most iconic locations. After each performance, the crowd is invited to join the dancers as the performance area becomes a huge open-air dance floor.



The Accountant
Trey Lyford
World Premiere!
Christ Church Neighborhood House

When you take stock, does it all add up? In the forgotten office of an aging clerk, the tedium of everyday life transforms into a comical and haunting world of futility, remembrance and regret. The Accountant is a visual theater piece inspired by the disorientation that death can bring into our lives and by Samuel Beckett’s raw rumination on impermanence, Krapp’s Last Tape.



ear-whispered: Works by Tania El Khoury
Presented in partnership with Bryn Mawr College.
Tania El Khoury

The most extensive showing to date by live artist Tania El Khoury showcases five interactive artworks exploring issues of displacement, political oppression, and justice through the lens of those most affected by political upheaval. The works in the ear-whispered series reveal the experiences and struggles of people trying to find a place to call home and reconsider what it means to feel safe and accepted on this earth. At locations in Old City and Bryn Mawr.



Photo by Philadelphia Museum of Art.The Museum Workout
Monica Bill Barnes & Company
A co-presentation with the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Gain a fresh perspective on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection. Deep knee bends in front of Renaissance armor? Jumping jacks with Picasso? Put your sneakers on and jog along with Monica Bill Barnes and her long-time dancing partner Anna Bass as they travel through the Philadelphia Museum of Art, performing choreographed exercises in the galleries.



Caen Amour
Trajal Harrell

Arising from performances at the World’s Fairs of 19th-century Europe and America, the hoochie-coochie presented bastardized, titillating versions of Middle Eastern dance. Informed by the ritualized moves of dance-floor voguing and the Japanese dance-theater tradition of butoh, Caen Amour explores what erotic dancing of the past would look like today, exoticism and spectacle remaining intact.



Variations on a Theme from Lost and Found and Other Works by John Bernd
Ishmael Houston-Jones and Miguel Gutierrez
Christ Church Neighborhood House

Until his death from AIDS in 1988, multidisciplinary choreographer John Bernd stood at the forefront of New York’s experimental dance scene. Bernd’s onetime friend and collaborator Ishmael Houston-Jones asked: What would contemporary dance be like if the gay/dance communities hadn’t lost a whole generation of creators to the epidemic? Together with choreographer Miguel Gutierrez, Houston-Jones mashed up Bernd’s work into a wholly new piece which proposes enticing answers to this question.



Of Arms and the Man
The Crossing
Featuring a world premiere by Ted Hearne!


A quote from Virgil’s Aeneid serves as an apt title for an epic aural voyage that explores the timeless themes of nationalism and war while navigating personal stories of joy and despair. Grammy-winning choir The Crossing brings to life music by twelve different artists whose work examines victory and loss across national and personal borders. The program features a world premiere from 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist Ted Hearne — the nation’s preeminent composer of works of social advocacy.



The undergird
Meg Foley
World premiere!

Icebox Project Space

Choreographer Meg Foley’s seven-year development of improvisational performance practice culminates in a viscerally affecting performance about death and grief as bodily experiences. The undergird is a rhythmic and persistent celebration of where memory and imagination live inside the body and how they are remade real through moving ritual.



Boris Charmatz
Presented in partnership with Westphal College of Media Arts & Design as part of Philadelphia Museum of Dance.


Whet your appetite with manger, a delectable work by French choreographer Boris Charmatz  (Levée des conflits, 2016 Fringe Festival) that implores audiences to examine the nature of eating, of digesting information, of consumingThe mouth is a crossroads where food, voices, breath, words, and saliva intermix: it is a locus where the inside and the outside, the self and the other meet, taste each other, engage each other, interchange and ingest each other.



In Plain Air
International Contemporary Ensemble
World premiere!
Presented in partnership with Christ Church Preservation Trust

Christ Church Campus

A 3,000-pipe organ, centuries-old bells as they are heard in the belfry, an orchestra of pipe whistles, community-built music boxes: the sounds of In Plain Air carry the audience through the campus and history of one of the nation’s most historic sites.



Circa is co-presented with Annenberg Center Live and NextMove Dance

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Extended Festival

How much can we take as humans? Where are our limits? How much weight can we carry? Who can we trust to support our load? Straddling the borders between circus arts, theater, and contemporary dance, Australia’s bold contemporary circus troupe Circa explores the expressive possibilities of the human body at its extremes.



Major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has been provided to FringeArts, Trey Lyford, John Jarboe, Bryn Mawr College, Christ Church Preservation Trust, and Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design for separate works in this festival.




Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other works by John Bernd is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Le Super Grand Continental and Do You Want A Cookie? have been made possible in part by support from The William Penn Foundation.



Support for the 2018 Fringe Festival has been provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.