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Hand to Hand: A FringeArts Circus Festival

Presented by PNC Arts Alive

May 29 - Jun 3

Runtime TBA

Cost TBA


FringeArts and Circadium School of Contemporary Circus present a new, multi-day festival of contemporary circus art. Featuring performances on the FringeArts stage and outside in the Haas Biergarten, Hand to Hand brings remarkable levels of artistry and ability together into one thrilling weekend of events, perfect for the whole family. Performances include aerials, acrobatics, juggling, and everything in between.

The internationally renowned, Montreal-based Barcode Circus Company will headline a daring line up of some of the region’s most boundary-pushing contemporary circus artists and up-and-coming innovators. The festival also includes free admission performances and an afternoon of family-friendly, outdoor workshops from the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts.

2018 Hand to Hand Line Up

Sweat & Ink
Barcode Circus Company

Alexandra Royer on the aerial hoop

May 31-June 1 at 8pm
June 2 at 2pm
$15 general admission
$10 12-and-under

Nothing is more annoying than forgetting what we can’t manage to remember, or remembering what we wish to forget.
According to our memories, Francis Blanche, Pensées, répliques et anecdotes (1972);
According to the internet, Pierre Dac, Avec mes meilleures pensées (2012)

Sweat & Ink is a surrealistic and dream-like exploration of contemporary society’s relationship to memory and time. In it, four internationally renowned circus artists utilize the circus arts they’ve built their reputation on while evoking elements of calligraphy and magic to express the means by which we record our histories and how our brains can remodel our recollections.

Barcode Circus Company members Alexandra Royer, Eve Bigel, Tristan Nielsen and Eric Bates have won multiple awards in various circus disciplines—including Russian bar, hand to hand, cigar box juggling and aerial hoop—and are now eager to prove themselves in their company’s first original production. This intimate and evocative show marries a high level of circus skill and movement quality with playfulness and wonder. Think “stunning acrobatics and jaw-dropping circus from your quirky yet relatable neighbors.” A home-brewed blend of flips, dance, and poetic imagery resulting in a celebration of life and all of its beautiful tangles.

Find out more about the company at

Circadium: Innovations

Circadium performers on the aerial ladder

Tue, May 29 at 8pm
$10 general admission

Circadium is the country’s only diploma-granting college for circus, and it’s based right here in Philadelphia. Throughout their first year of study, students have been creating original circus pieces driven by theatrical concepts, and this showcase compiles the best of the best. Featuring nine artists in twelve ensemble-based pieces, the program includes a 6-club juggler, a contortion aerialist, hoop diving, and musical accompaniment, all carried by storylines of competition, friendship, romance, heartache, and self-doubt. Expect an evening of extraordinary physical talent, theatrical explorations, and a glimpse into the future of American contemporary circus.  

Circus Midway

Sat, June 2 from 11am-2pm

If you’ve ever wanted an up-close and personal look at the arts of the circus, this is your chance! Teachers and performers from Philadelphia School of Circus Arts will be outside FringeArts in the Haas Biergarten to give attendees of all ages a chance to learn basic aerial acrobatics, juggling, plate spinning, and tight wire, with additional offerings for younger children including circus lasso and balance challenges. Additionally, the event will feature short circus performances throughout, including one from the school’s Youth Troupe. Free and fun for all ages and abilities!

Test Flights

Sun, June 3 at 7pm

Circus scratch night! Come out to see works-in-progress from the region’s most skilled and expressive jugglers, acrobats, and aerialists. Join us as we celebrate risk-taking  cross-pollination of circus with other art forms. This special festival edition will feature performances from Kyle Driggs and Andrea Murillo, Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, Sasha Harrington and Andrew Adams, Nicole Burgio, and more. 

Presented by

PNC Arts Alive is a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant initiative of the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. In its ninth year,PNC Arts Alive challenges visual and performing arts organizations to put forth their best, most original thinking in expanding audience participation and engagement. A very prestigious grant, only twenty arts organizations in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region are selected.

“Through PNC Arts Alive, we continue to help invigorate local arts organizations while bringing new and exciting programs to our community,” said Joe Meterchick, PNC regional president for Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey. “The creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the local arts community is evident in the programs that will be introduced, while enabling new visitors and residents alike to experience a diverse range of exhibits and performances.”

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