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Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia theater’

Installation and Impact: The Disability History Timeline

Posted February 28th, 2019

In conjunction with our presentation of A Fierce Kind of Love (March 1—3), the Institute on Disabilities’ work that tells the untold story of Pennsylvania’s Intellectual Disability Rights Movement, FringeArts and the Institute have developed two public history timelines that follow the movement for disability rights and self-determination from the turn of the 19th century to today. The first timeline has been installed in the second floor gallery hallway at the Parkway Central Library, and the second one can be found in the East-West corridor of the City Hall courtyard. The project, focused on continuing engagement for the performances of A Fierce Kind of Love in partnership with Disability Equality in Education, displays the largely untold history of this particular civil rights movement to areas of Philadelphia with high foot traffic. The timeline is made up of 24 decals that each recall an imperative moment in the struggle for accessibility and dignity.

In 2016, the Philadelphia Research Initiative reported that 16% of people living in Philadelphia had a cognitive, emotional, or physical disability. That equates to roughly 246,000 people and crowns Philadelphia as having the highest percentage of citizens with disabilities amongst the nation’s top 10 largest cities. For such a large percentage of people, it’s quite surprising that finding information around the city about accessibility, disability history, and disability activism is not exactly an easy feat. A Fierce Kind of Love was created from this disregard and its mission is to draw attention to the lost history of this movement and the overlooked reality of living with disabilities. The Disability History Timeline helps expand on the show’s mission and provides valuable information that draws connections between the movement’s past and its evolution to the present. It was also designed to bridge the gap between the intellectual disability rights movement and the physical disability rights movement which are consistently separated. This design is inclusive among those with any kind of disability and represents all of these folks on an equal spectrum.

On the morning of February 12th, members of FringeArts and the Institute met at the Parkway Central Library to install the timeline. After all of the materials were brought up to the second floor, the team organized all of the decals in chronological order on the floor against the wall. The installation process began by placing the middle decal in the center-point of the wall in order to create an anchor for the timeline out from the center. This first placement was crucial for the visual flow of the timeline, but deciding on the placement of this first decal also made us contemplate how to make the timeline visually accommodating for all. We even enlisted the help of a library security guard who had been watching us prepare for installation to determine at the timeline’s height in order to be seen by everyone, including folks in wheelchairs. With a solid prep-then-adhere system in place for each decal, the timeline was completely installed within the hour. The passersbys who had been curiously watching from afar slowly began to walk down the hallway to take a peek at the finished result. Some came with questions about what the project was for and others walked down the hallway reading through the timeline with a silent curiosity. It was incredible to see the anticipated effect of the timeline come to fruition right before our eyes. People began engaging with us about the project and that quickly developed into conversation about disability rights, accessibility, and more. Most of the inquiring minds expressed how shocked they were that they had no idea that this movement even occurred! It was clear that their interest was sparked by the informative and impactful nature of the project. Each person we spoke to during the installation process graciously thanked us for providing a resource that shines a light on the disability rights movement and promotes a dialogue about it within our community.

The installation in the City Hall courtyard on February 25th required the same precision as the first process, but involved environmental elements that amplified the experience. Although the large gusts of wind exaggerated the bite in the air, we were able to secure the giant sticker decals to the courtyard pavement quickly and efficiently with the help of the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy team members and a variety of tools. We used a device made up of two wood boxes and a string to line up the decals with the compass that marks the center of the courtyard. One box was placed on the very edge of the compass and the other box was placed directly across from it a few feet away causing the string to become taut. The string became our guide for centering the decals and making sure that they were being placed in a straight line. Once the placement was correct, one person pulled off the back of the sticker while two others used their hands to smooth out the decal on the pavement. The last step was using a paint roller to apply pressure across the decal in order to ensure that it was fully adhered to the ground. We repeated this process twenty-three times until completed. This process drew a lot of attention since we were working around mid-day and the courtyard was constantly buzzing with people. Just like the installation process in the library, people began watching us work and asked us questions about the project. Once again, conversations about the disability rights movement flowed naturally. One woman we spoke to even told us about her experience with her son’s intellectual disability and how she hopes more accessible information about disabilities will be on display in the city in the future.

Using the string to line up the decals during the City Hall installation

Each timeline will occupy its temporary home for a period of several weeks in order to encourage people to interact with the information before or after going to see A Fierce Kind of Love. In concurrence with the physical presence of the timeline, intergenerational story-sharing events will be held at each timeline location in order to facilitate conversation between students and seasoned self-advocates who took part in the movement. These events will connect students to self-advocates’ stories about the events on the timeline from a first-person perspective and will show younger audience members how they can become their own activists.

The Disability History Timeline will be at the Parkway Central Library from Feb 12-Mar 15 and the East-West corridor of the City Hall Courtyard from Feb 25-end of March. You’ve got plenty of time to check it out either before or after seeing A Fierce Kind of Love!

A Fierce Kind of Love Q&A with Tenara Calem

Posted February 28th, 2019

We sat down with Audience Engagement Coordinator Tenara Calem to chat about connecting and engaging communities around A Fierce Kind of Love, March 1—3 at FringeArts, as part of High Pressure Fire Service.

FringeArts: Can you start by telling us a bit about A Fierce Kind of Love (AFKoL)?

Tenara: Sure. The show is about the history of the intellectual disabilities rights movement specific to Pennsylvania. It started out of research that the Institute of Disabilities was doing in 2012. And they learned a lot from mothers of folks who have intellectual disabilities and were institutionalized. Pulling at that thread revealed so much information about the movement for self-advocacy and they realized that sharing those stories in a performance medium was a really incredible vehicle to communicate the themes of the show, which is all about love, acceptance, and building a more just world that is inclusive and designed universally for everyone to enjoy it.

FringeArts: What about the accessibility of the performance itself?

Tenara: It’s a mixed ability ensemble. So accessibility is baked into the conceit and design of the show, so all of the performances are ASL interpreted, have audio description for folks who are blind or have low vision. There’s sensory seating, accessible seating, and closed captioning. It really is a unique piece and we are really lucky to have it here at Fringe.

FringeArts: In your role as Audience Engagement Coordinator, can you tell us a bit about your process in beginning with AFKoL?

Tenara: I always start my conversation with the artist. So, I’m very lucky at FringeArts that the pieces are brand new and that they are being created by artists that are in the room and get to have conversations with me. Not every person gets to do that. With AFKoL specifically I feel very lucky to be working so close with Lisa Sonneborn who is the Director of Media Arts at the Institute on Disabilities. She’s an amazing collaborative partner. She really really understands and practices a community engaged approach to her art-making so that all of the work that is being done to cultivate an audience that is going to resonate really strongly with the material has the flavor of “not about us without us”.

FringeArts: Where did your early conversations take you about engaging with different communities?

Tenara: I mean, AFkoL is a very interesting project because it’s already made with community performers. So it’s very involved and engaged in that way on its own. But Lisa and Suli [Holum] and David [Bradley] were really excited by the idea of locating where AFKoL performs not as well, which is with the physical disability community. Unfortunately the physical and the intellectual disability rights movements are very separate. And there are a lot of reasons for that and some of them are really arbitrary and some of them are by design of institutions of power who are holding all the funding. So Lisa and David and Suli were particularly excited by using the opportunity to create community engagement with this show that tried to bridge that gap and try to include folks of physical disabilities and those activists into the conversation of the piece so we could maybe create a more comprehensive discussion about disability rights movements at large.

So we got a bunch of folks into a room and had an open forum.

FringeArts: What came out of these conversations?

Tenara: We proposed to them an idea we had to develop a timeline of the Disability rights movement that included both the physical and intellectual disability activists and that was basically placed somewhere where there was a lot of natural foot traffic so it would accomplish a number of goals. It would create more visibility for the play at FringeArts. And it would also engage a really high volume of people on the themes. The activists at Liberty Resources and ADAPT, and Disability Equality in Education, they got super excited about the idea and said they would create the content for the timeline if you guys worry about the production and installation. So that’s what happened!

Read more about the installations at Parkway Central Library and City Hall here.

Visit the show page for more information about the talkbacks and roundtables following each performance.

HPFS: A Commitment to Philadelphia

Posted February 25th, 2019

With the opening show in the new High Pressure Fire Service series kicking off this weekend, FringeArts Artistic Producers Zach Blackwood and Katy Dammers share what HPFS really stands for and why we’re pumped about the next few months of programming at FringeArts.

A HISTORY

HPFS philadelphia

Photo by Robby Virus

In 1903, he FringeArts building at the intersection of Columbus and Race Streets opened as the nation’s first High Pressure Fire Service system, its name carved on the east and west façades. Water was pumped from the Delaware River via a six-foot diameter pipe into the brick edifice and then funneled out to more than 900 fire hydrants from Girard Avenue to South Street. This innovative system allowed firefighters to shoot a two-inch stream of water 230 feet in the air and led to a significant decline in fire-related deaths and damages. With this reassurance, insurance companies subsequently dropped additional charges on tall buildings, and Philadelphia’s downtown area entered a renewed period of urban growth and architectural advancement. Though the pipeline from the Delaware has long since been capped and decommissioned, a spidering pathway of pipeworks still connects our building to a huge swath of the city: to cafés and community centers, taverns and libraries, and inevitably several cheesesteak spots.

A NEW PRESENTATION SERIES

With High Pressure Fire Service (HPFS), we are affirming an investment in artists living and working in Philadelphia. We believe there’s something special about this city—something tender and grumpy and people-powered. Over four months this spring, we are excited to present five new works and one expanded remount—pieces that exemplify the ways in which these artists are deepening and expanding their practices. Through residency support, commission funding, technical advising, programmatic counseling, and community engagement, each artist has approached this opportunity uniquely.

Suli Holum and the Institute of Disabilities at Temple University open High Pressure Fire Service with an expanded version of A Fierce Kind of Love, their multidisciplinary dramatization of the intellectual disability rights movement in Philadelphia, by incorporating new oral histories and contextual information in this multifaceted show that puts accessibility first. Following their Obie-Award winning theater-work Underground Railroad Game, Lighting Rod Special’s new piece The Appointment considers bodily autonomy and the navigation of reproductive rights in ways alternatively hilarious and sobering. The Berserkers are creating a work for audiences of all ages for the first time, employing their clown and physical-theater training to engage children and adults alike in Broccoli, Roosevelt and Mr. House!. A Hard Time is the first Pig Iron Theatre Company production created by artists other than their artistic directors, with Jess Conda, Jenn Kidwell, and Mel Krodman taking the lead in a comedic cabaret that reveals the violence and absurdity of gender-based expectations. Team Sunshine Performance Corporation reflects on their commitment to long-form performance practice as they present the third iteration of their 24-year project The Sincerity Project.  Moor Mother employs a theater-based work for the first time, bringing her interdisciplinary practice in music, poetry, and performance to consider housing insecurity entitled Circuit City.

The breadth of the work in HPFS exemplifies something concrete and intangible about what we value: a bootstrapping sensibility, a rebellious empathy, and a fructifying density in the footprint. In the last ten years, our city has emerged as a particularly generative environment as young artists are drawn by training opportunities at our many universities and newer artistic programs like Pig Iron Theatre Company’s graduate program and Headlong Performance Institute. Upon graduation we have seen artists continually commit to living in Philadelphia—drawn equally by its frontiers and its gritty spirit. We hope that this program will provide a valuable opportunity not only to survey the wide perspectives of this inaugural group of artists, but to also consider the state of the Philadelphia arts ecosystem at large.

Through conversations and companion programming for each presentation we will also consider the relationship between these artists, their work, and the city in collaboration with organizations including the Free Library of Philadelphia, Women’s Medical Fund, Puentes de Salud, and Smith Memorial Playground among others. These works and artists are poised to tour and develop beyond the city limits, embracing the nimble and flexible nature of the work created at FringeArts and grounded in the DIY-ethos that rings in the air here specifically.

As much as High Pressure Fire Service is a platform for Philadelphia artists to stretch themselves, it is also a call for us to challenge ourselves and our institution. We are committed to doubling down on our dedication to local artists, investing in relationship-building across the many communities of our city, and working to make FringeArts more accessible and welcoming. This first year is just the beginning, and we look forward to the ways this festival will grow and change to include an even broader range of artists and collaborations in the future.

Zach Blackwood and Katy Dammers
Artistic Producers at FringeArts

Featured Photo by Robin Barnes

Who’s Who in High Pressure Fire Service, part one

Posted February 13th, 2019
by Raina Searles, Marketing Manager

Opening this March, High Pressure Fire Service (or more colloquially, HPFS, pronounced “hip-fizz”) brings an incredible lineup of Philadelphia artists to the FringeArts stage for a series dedicated to highlighting the creativity and innovation that runs rampant in our city. The artists include an exhilarating mix of familiar and new faces to the FringeArts stage, from longtime collaborator Pig Iron Theatre Company’s newest work to prolific poet and noise musician Moor Mother’s first play. Some performers even appear in multiple HPFS shows. To get you ready for this new series, we’re breaking down Who’s Who in High Pressure Fire Service…part one.

Kicking off High Pressure Fire Service, is A Fierce Kind of Love written by Suli Holum, directed by David Bradley, and produced by the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.

Wandering Alice, 2008

Many people may recognize the name Suli Holum as a staple in the Philadelphia arts community. Holum is one of the co-founders of Pig Iron Theatre Company, an award-winning director, performer, choreographer and playwright, and recently, Mrs. Capulet in the Wilma Theater’s production of Romeo and Juliet. She has been involved with numerous productions that have crossed Fringe’s stage, including Wandering Alice, written and co-directed with Nichole Canuso Dance Company and presented in the 2008 Curated Fringe Festival, and Cafeteria by Pig Iron Theatre Company in the 2003 Curated Fringe Festival, which earned her a Barrymore Award in choreography.

David Bradley is a director, producer and teaching artist who work has touched a variety of stages and collaborations across Philly. Bradley is the Founding Director of LiveConnections, in partnership with World Cafe Live, has performed in over 30 productions at People’s Light, is the Artistic Director of Living News at the National Constitution Center, has collaborated with Philadelphia Young Playwrights, and has traveled the world co-creating theater that addresses public health and social issues with Outside the Wire.

Bradley and Holum teamed up with Temple University College of Education’s Institute on Disabilities, which addresses disability as a valued aspect of diversity throughout civic life. In addition to producing the first iteration of this work in 2016 and its expanded remount here at FringeArts, the Institute is committed to innovation in pre-professional training, community training and technical assistance, research and information dissemination.

Other familiar faces in the A Fierce Kind of Love cast include Erin McNulty, most recently on the

FringeArts stage in Jerome Bel’s GALA in 2016 and 2018, as well as Cathy Simpson, a prolific and long-time Philly actress who has performed on a plethora of stages (InterAct, Wilma, and the Arden, to name a few) and was recently seen in the 2018 Independent Fringe Festival show, Day of Absence. Read bios for the full cast of A Fierce Kind of Love on the event page.

The second show in the HPFS lineup is The Appointment by Lightning Rod Special. No stranger to the FringeArts stage, Lightning Rod Special is an experimental performance company dedicated to exploring complex questions through an ensemble creation process and a lead artist for each show. Lightning Rod Special premiered their Obie Award-winning production Underground Railroad Game in Philadelphia at FringeArts in 2015, and they also performed their co-production with Strange Attractor Theatre Company Sans Everything here in 2017. They got their start, however, producing in the Independent Fringe Festival: Hackles in 2012 and Go Long Big Softie in 2013.

Sans Everything, 2017, Photo by Johanna Austin

For The Appointment (some may have seen the early draft performance titled Unformed Consent), Lightning Rod Special has assembled a stellar cast of Philly artists, and this new work is led by Alice Yorke. Yorke is a Co-Director of Lightning Rod Special, with whom she created and performed in Hackles, Let the Dog See the Rabbit, and Sans Everything. She has also collaborated on works with Pig Iron Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre, Theatre Exile, the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, and the Fringe favorite band Red 40 and the Last Groovement. Yorke also graduated from the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training.

In April, we see the launch of the next HPFS show, Broccoli, Roosevelt and Mr. House! by The Berserker Residents. Founded in 2007, The Berserker Residents are an ensemble dedicated to creating original works of alternative comedy with a focus on parody, absurdism, and subverting theatrical conventions. The Berserker Residents were last seen on the FringeArts stage in their March 2017 production of It’s So Learning, and they collaborated with the University of the Arts to create These Terrible Things as a 2017 Independent Fringe Festival show.

It’s So Learning, 2017, Photo by Kate Raines

They have also produced the works The Jersey Devil, The Giant Squid, The Annihilation Point, and The Post Show as part of Independent Fringe Festivals past. The imaginative co-creators—Justin Jain, David Johnson, and Bradley K. Wrenn—have brought their work to a variety of other Philadelphia stages (The Annenberg Center, Theatre Horizon, White Pines Productions, and more) as well as national and international stages like Ars Nova NYC, The San Francisco Mime Troupe, and The Assembly in Edinburgh, Scotland as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.

Individually, you may recognize these performers from their work all over the city. Justin Jain is a member of the Wilma Theatre HotHouse, has been a part of the Shakespeare in Clark Park education team, and is a teaching artist for Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Arden Theatre Company, the University of the Arts, and People’s Light, in addition to performing at a number of regional theaters. David Johnson has performed with Theatre Exile, Enchantment Theatre, Mum Puppet Theatre, People’s Light, Commonwealth Classic Theatre, Theatre Horizon, and the Wilma Theatre, as well as the Baltimore Theatre Project and The Blue Ridge Theatre Festival. Bradley Wrenn has performed with Shakespeare in Clark Park, Lantern Theatre, Enchantment Theatre Company, BRAT Productions, and Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and is an accomplished puppeteer, “wiggling the dollies” for numerous Mum Puppet Theatre productions including the Barrymore nominated ensemble of Animal Farm. He also co-created the acclaimed 2013 Curated Fringe Festival work The Ballad of Joe Hill with Adrienne Mackey.

We’re excited for such a talented cohort of creators and performers to be joining us at FringeArts this March and April. Click below for more information on each show, and check out “Who’s Who in High Pressure Fire Service, part two” on the FringeArts Blog!

A Fierce Kind of Love
Suli Holum, David Bradley, Institute on Disabilities, Temple University
March 1–3, 2019

The Appointment
Lightning Rod Special
March 20–31

Broccoli, Roosevelt and Mr. House!
The Berserker Residents
April 12–14

HPFS Subscriptions:
$150 Six-Show Package / $120 for members
15% off tickets to 3-5 performances / 30% off for members

Single Tickets:
$31 general / $21.70 members
$15 students and 25-and-under
$2 FringeACCESS members

Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 23rd, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

Wedgwood on the Green was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, The University of the Arts’s annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, Wedgwood reflects on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood. In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience. This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see. This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience. Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

Website Facebook Instagram

 

 

 

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 23rd, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

 For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

 $18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based “Actors’ Improv,” and have created fifteen original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad Street Review

“Dazzling.” The Philadelphia Inquirer 

“Hilarious . . . and fearless.” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, and humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 23rd, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

Website

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

 

Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 22nd, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

Website

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

 

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 22nd, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com.

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

 

$18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review

“Dazzling” Inquirer

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 22nd, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

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Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 21st, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

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Wedgwood on the Green

Posted September 21st, 2017

A story in light and sound. A performance in and out of the round. Follow a young man up the fire escape, through the sliding glass doors, to a world where curiosity consumes innocence, where friendships crystallize in the pressure of responsibility and misfortune. Drip Symphony debuts with Wedgwood on the Green.

$15 / 60 minutes

“Wedgwood on the Green” was originally published in the 2013 issue of Underground Pool, the University of the Arts’ annual publication of short stories and poems. It was conceived and written by Nick Schwasman, and penned during his final days of undergrad. A poetic memoir, “Wedgwood” reflected on his adolescent days spent among an ambitious group of friends who hungered for escape from the confines of their suburban lives. Together, they confronted the harsh realities of the freedom they recklessly sought, the dangers of substance abuse, and that complicated, sometimes toxic idea, manhood.

In 2015, Nick joined forces with long-time collaborator Nate Barnett to translate the story into a live radio play, which they premiered in the 2015 Solow Festival. They created musical underscoring, original songs, arrangements, and live sound effects to accompany a reading of the story. The audience was encouraged to wear eye covers to enhance the auditory experience.

This September, Drip Symphony presents a fully-realized Wedgwood on the Green to an audience of 25, seated in a circle of swivel chairs. Immersed in this world, its details appear all around as the story is brought to life. Audience members are free to turn in their chairs and choose what they do and do not see.

This show is developed through a unique style of collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of artists whose contributions have provided the rich layers of its design. Together they explore storytelling through puppetry, sculpture, music, sound, and light.

~~~

Drip Symphony is a live performance company that brings together diverse artists committed to creating new, engaging art. These artists fuse experimental practices with established technique to make innovative performance for a modern audience.

Drip Symphony is co-directed by Nick Schwasman and Nate Barnett.

 

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Instagram

 

 

 

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 16th, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com.

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

$18 / 65 minutes

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Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review

“Dazzling” Inquirer

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 14th, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com.

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

$18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review

“Dazzling” Inquirer

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 9th, 2017

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes and monologues!

For their 10th anniversary season, T&G turns the tables: instead of asking you to provide the answers, now it’s your turn to pose the questions!
What question has been on your mind lately?
Personal or global, emotional or intellectual, mundane or spiritual….

Submit your question pre-show; T&G then uses your personal queries for their spontaneous exploration of relationships and the human experience.

Every performance reflects the unique personality of that show’s audience; each T&G show has never been seen before, and will never be seen again.

For more information: tongue-groove.com.

For exceptional unscripted theater, put your questions in T&G’s hands!

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

$18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand!

“I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review

“Dazzling” Inquirer

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Tongue & Groove

Posted September 8th, 2017

 

Inspired by personal information anonymously submitted by the audience, this Fringe-favorite ensemble instantly creates a montage of hilarious and heartbreaking scenes & monologues!

For a detailed description of our Fringe show theme, and more info about the company and cast, go to tongue-groove.com.

“Hilarious… and fearless” Philly Weekly

“Acted with soul-baring sincerity, intelligence, & humor. Go see this!” City Paper

Learn more about this show from T&G’s Founder and Artistic Director Bobbi Block over at the FringeArts blog.

Check out the Broad Street Review’s coverage of the show here!

$18 / 65 minutes

Facebook

Tongue & Groove just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary! T&G is inspired by several forms of theater including long and short-form improv, Playback Theater, the Interactive Theater of Jeff Wirth, and the incomparable improvised plays performed by TJ & Dave. We have a unique company of actors-who-improvise and improvisers-who-act, who strive to create theater that elevates the power of spontaneous creation. Over the years, we’ve honed our signature style of serio-comic, realism-based ‘Actors’ Improv,’ and have created 15 original shows. We’ve performed all around Philadelphia in theaters and colleges, and garnered critical acclaim. The ensemble has become highly comfortable in our physical and emotional work, and has grown seamlessly connected (as our name implies). Artistic Director Bobbi Block has taught Actors’ Improv in Europe, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and the Tongue & Groove format has been performed in Rio, Holland, and New Zealand! “I wish I could conceive dramatic situations and genuine dialogue that’s a tenth as incisive and moving as a typical T&G show.” Mark Cofta, Broad St Review “Dazzling” Inquirer “Hilarious… and fearless.” Philadelphia Weekly

Mr. Darby Goes to New York: Double Time, All The Time

Posted July 7th, 2015

langston actingLangston Darby is continuously working. “Double time. All the time,” Darby comments as we recently talked on the phone one afternoon. Born in Laurel, Mississippi, Darby is an actor based in Philadelphia. This September, after completing an apprenticeship at the Walnut Street Theatre and growing into one of the strongest actors in the Philadelphia theater scene, he is departing for the Atlantic Acting School in New York on a full scholarship. “The Atlantic Acting School is tailor made for what I was looking for.”

Langston photoThe decision to venture to New York was a difficult one. At first, Darby expresses his anxieties about the full-time conservatory program. He asks, “How much will this sustain me after?” As our conversation continues, however, Darby reveals his sadness for leaving Philadelphia. “It’s a dagger in the heart,” Darby remarks as his describes the close relationships, personal and professional, he has gained over the past five years. Philadelphia has become Darby’s supportive web. After finishing his apprenticeship at the Walnut Street Theatre, Darby was offered a position teaching acting to children. “No matter the profession, everyone who teaches their craft for the first time talks about how they have to reconsider everything that they’re doing to make someone else understand. Teaching acting has made a lot of my work much more specific,” Darby says as he talks about his growth through teaching. Darby has also began comedy improv through ComedySportz Philadelphia. Improv has influenced the young actor to take acting risks. “I realized how even my scripted work could benefit from me letting go more and really focusing on what is going on around me moment-to-moment. Not only do I listen better, I now have a sense that my next line adds to the scene.” The opportunities in Philadelphia, from picking up improv techniques with ComedySportz Philadelphia and later Bright Invention to teaching to struggling with Uncle Tom’s Cabin: An Unfortunate History, have contributed to Darby’s larger growth.

“Philly taught me that you don’t need to be in LA, that you don’t need to be in New York.” After a successful last season full of tremendous opportunities, Darby fears that he is leaving at a vital time in his career. While he is upset to leave, he believes more training in New York is the next step in his path.

Langston 2The Atlantic Acting School’s Full-Time Conservatory is offering two full scholarships for the first time. Darby will be attending the Atlantic Acting School on one of these scholarships. He had determined that he did not want an MFA, but instead was attracted to the rigorous training from actors and actresses within the industry, that the Atlantic Acting School offered. “Now that I am at this stage, I can take more ownership over the things I want to learn,” Darby mentions. He is interested in the school’s primary acting technique, Practical Aesthetics. First encountering Practical Aesthetics in A Practical Handbook for the Actor, and gravitating toward the technique’s concrete and literal essence, he will apprentice himself to the technique for the next two and a half years. Beyond Practical Aesthetics, Darby also strives to “fill in the gaps of my training.” Darby is drawn to the multilayered aspects of theater, such as voice-over, television, movies, and dancing. He says, “I am going to take advantage of every morsel of information.”

Darby has started a campaign to raise money and support for his upcoming experience. While Darby is receiving a scholarship, New York is still expensive. “Why should I receive any support?” Darby initially questions as we talk about his fundraiser. The hard working actor constantly considers his privilege and opportunities, however, as our conversation goes on, his perspective shifts. He shares, “I should not need to feel guilty for gaining resources.” Similar to the way theater companies raise money for new projects, Darby started this fundraiser to gather help from his surrounding communities to fund his upcoming endeavor. Instead of feeling guilty about asking for help, Darby has begun to embrace his campaign. “I’m going to ask for what I want.” 

After unpacking his larger anxieties about leaving Philadelphia at a time when he is rapidly growing, Darby has one last anxiety: the potentially long and unfamiliar commute.

You can learn all about Langston’s work on www.langstondarby.com. If you’d like to give to his Indiegogo fundraising campaign, go to: life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/support-langston-s-big-step.

–Courtney Lau

Other Blogs: Lessons From Newt Gingrich on How to Make America Love Performing Arts

Posted August 21st, 2013
Good people.

Good people.

A few months ago, Phindie.com, a new website covering Philadelphia theater and arts, re-publsihed an old blog post of mine from 2011 titled Lessons from Newt Gingrich: or how we in the theatre and dance communities can stop acting like losers and learn to make the nation love us. The article (originally published in the currently dormant theppaa.org), spurred by going through an old stack of New Yorkers and reading a profile of John Bohner, details his mentor Newt’s rise to prominence and his ability to change the course of a defeated Republican Party largely through rhetoric and looks to apply that same thinking to the performing arts. Rereading the article recently, I thought, wow, there’s some pretty good stuff in there that continues to be super-relevent.

Lessons from Newt poses a number of the following questions: “How often have you heard that performing arts are dying, that we’re a niche market, that you can never make a living off of it, that we’re a charity case? That dance and theatre will never be the way it used to? Have you ever caught yourself saying, as an excuse for some failure or inability to accomplish a simple task or even some slightly unseemly arrangement in your programming: well, you have to understand, that’s life in the performing arts.”

And goes on:

“Do you accept as given that theatre and dance will never be as culturally or socially as relevant as TV or film? Has it ever bothered you, that whether through foundation giving or corporate giving or the generosity of patron saints, that you have geared your programming, and by dint your organization, to appease the money that comes from those aforementioned sources, as oppose to appeasing your artistic vision and audiences? Yet you still make the spurious claim that you are not commercial because you have sold out to your funding “partners” as oppose to Dentyne?”

Who should come to the rescue of this dilemma? Newt Gingrich, that’s who! To quote from The New Yorker profile upon which Lessons is based:  “After Newt Gingrich served a few terms as a member of the Republican minority in Congress, a circumstance he detested, he devised a plan to achieve what most of his colleagues could scarcely conceive—a Republican majority in the House. Gingrich believed that the G.O.P. had been the minority party for so long—ever since the first Eisenhower Administration—that Republicans had lost the ability to imagine themselves as anything else.” (My emphasis.)

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Stop With The Fake Sold-Outs And Extended-by-Popular-Demand Lies

Posted May 30th, 2013

For a while now, theater companies (and other performing arts companies) have been roping off sections of the theater during a performance, limiting the number of seats, at times by half or more, then claiming the show is “selling out!” in order to attract attention. At times it might feel as if those ropes close in on whatever the audience size is so that the “sold out” claim can be made.

This is not the Alps and that is not a Bentley.

This is not the Alps and that is not a Bentley.

Now, if you are playing the Academy of Music or the Miriam, or some other enormous venue, and you close the top balcony and “sell out,” well, it’s more like a little lie, because you’re still selling a shitload of tickets and that means lots of people are coming to the performances. But when you are in a 150- to 250-seat theater, and you sell 75 tickets (or 55 tickets and 20 comps) and you claim to be selling out your show, you are completely full of shit and only damaging yourself.

The problem isn’t just that you are lying to the public and your audiences, who after one or two times of this, don’t believe a word you say. The problem is also that you are buying into your own lies. It is not a good marketing strategy to lie to make yourself feel better. When a theater is half full, the show is not a runaway success, no matter how many seats you’ve “closed off” for the night. For small and mid-size companies, embracing a strategy that limits your audience numbers, and ensures success only through doublespeak, is not a good plan for growth. Because you are separating reality from work. You are embracing your own fantasy. How in god’s name do you plan responsibly to gain an audience?

Similarly, people may have noticed a lot of suspicious “Extended By Popular Demand!” show extensions that have no basis in popularity, announced at the beginning of a run, even though you may have just heard about this play from your friend in it. And then there are also plenty of seats available—look even some discounted ones—for the originally announced run. These are not runs extended by popular demands, these are pre-planned runs that are announced as extensions by popular demand in a desperate attempt to generate unwarranted publicity.

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Phindie’s in Town: New Website Covers Philadelphia Independent Theater

Posted April 12th, 2013
Christopher Munden of Phindie, spotted in a crowd.

Christopher Munden of Phindie, spotted in a crowd.

There’s a new place to go for Philadelphia theater coverage: Phindie! Phindie (www.phindie.com) is a website that features reviews, articles, reflections, and the like on theater arts and performing arts more generally. At the helm of Phindie is Christopher Munden who has been covering theater for a number of outlets over the past few years–and been a theatergoer all of his life. He wanted to have a site that coalesced his work, and that of others, and where he could showcase some new projects, like a podcast series with local theater artists. We caught up with the British born, but Philly suburb-raised Christopher to get the scoop on Phindie.

FringeArts: What made you start Phindie?

Christopher Munden: I started Phindie for a few reasons: to get more editorial control over theater and arts writing in the city, to house a new conversational podcast series, and yes: to help address the dearth of coverage of theater and arts in Philadelphia.

The site launched with a backlog of 120 articles by me and other writers, drawn from often-defunct websites, covering theater, dance, writing, and museum exhibits. For now, my focus is on independent theater, with occasional and growing coverage of other arts. I want to bring contemporary and fresh voices to this coverage, writing that acknowledges it is 2013 and it’s the internet.

FringeArts: How has it been going so far? What’s been the reaction?

Christopher Munden: With anything like this, it’s a bit like throwing a snowball into a snowstorm, it’s hard to know what mark it made, if any, but the small reaction I have received has been overwhelmingly positive. I have a slow-burning strategy for the first few months, but I was surprised at the immediate reception. I had a soft launch, posted a few new articles, and told a couple friends, and with a day or two I had PR people contacting me for coverage, theaters putting a Phindie credit in their promotional emails, and over 100 visits a day. Also, I was in a bar after a show and two young actors told me they’d listened to and liked the podcasts. So the snowball is hitting something.

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