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Annual Fringe Festival taking over Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Every fall, Philadelphians and people from across the world frolic around the city for a three-week long celebration of creativity, fun, and performances. The Fringe Festival is back for its 23rd year, with more than 1,000 performances by national, international and Philadelphia-based artists.

Nick Stuccio, Producing Director of FringeArts in Philadelphia, says the primarily women-led lineup of more than 180 events is a highlight of some of Philadelphia’s most talented — and beyond.

“Its an explosion of creativity from around the world, from around Philadelphia,” he said. 

The opening show, called the B-side “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,” runs through Sept. 8. In the musical narrative show, the Wooster group of New York, plays a record album based on recordings of work songs, spirituals, and toasts from a segregated Texas state prison in the 1960’s.

“This album is played in the show and the artists sing along with these inmates,” Stuccio explained, “and it’s bringing their voices back to life from over 50 years ago.” 

Stuccio says everyday citizens are also getting involved in the performances this year. Mariana Arteaga, a Mexican choreographer, is giving 60 people from South Philadelphia a chance to be dance artists. Her production called Úumbal, which began in Mexico City, is a free family-friendly event that will make its U.S. premiere in Philadelphia. 

“{She} collected dances from the citizens of Philadelphia and made this great dance out of it,” Stuccio said. “It’s performed by 60 non-artists who actually are pretty good dancers.” 

They try to make sure they have a good mix of all kinds of voices in every festival.  

He also highlighted a “world-famous” piece called Fase, that’s coming to only four cities in U.S., with Philly being one. The Belgian choreographer, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, he says is his personal favorite. 

Stuccio says with so many shows, they’ve made it easy for everyone to find something they’re interested in by using the FringeArts website or the app

“It’s really worth sitting down and taking a chance on something,” he said.

The Fringe Festival is underway from Sept. 5-22. A full schedule and ticket pricing is available on the FringeArts website

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