Arts + Culture

4 Must-See Shows at the Fringe Festival

For 17 days this September the city will be awash in performance art with over 1,000 performances by artists from near and far in venues that range from living rooms to The Merriam Theater. This is the glory of the Fringe Festival, held September 3-19.

Shows are divided into two categories: Curated (selected by the Fringe Arts staff) and Neighborhood (no vetting process).

Don’t know where to get started with the festival? Here are four shows not to miss:

SWAMP IS ON (Curated): Hometown indie theater darlings Pig Iron team up with hometown indie music darlings Dr. Dog for a musical theater experiment at Union Transfer unlike anything you’ll find on Broadway. You can get a sense of this “experiment and transmission,” which will follow with a full Dr. Dog concert, from this preview video.

SWAMP IS ON. Photo: Jason Frank Rothenberg

SWAMP IS ON. Photo: Jason Frank Rothenberg

The Extra People (Curated): The UK’s Ant Hampton returns to the festival this year with an inventive and interactive world premiere performance. Ticket holders will take turns as both audience member and performer at the Merriam Theater guided only by the headphones and flashlight provided to them when they arrive.

The Extra People

The Extra People

901 Nowhere Street (Neighborhood): Noir is in and peppering this year’s festival. Get your fix with the 100% dame cast of this hardboiled Sam Tower production at Power Plant Productions. There’s a novelist, a publisher and a private eye and allegedly they are all heroines in this original story.

901 Nowhere Street (L to R) Emilie Krause, Anna Szapiro, Merri Rashoyan. Photo: Lauren Tuvell

901 Nowhere Street (L to R) Emilie Krause, Anna Szapiro, Merri Rashoyan. Photo: Lauren Tuvell

It’s So Learning (Neighborhood): Take a comedic turn with the Berserker Residents in this interactive and dark piece about America’s floundering schools at the Ruba Club. They suggest you come prepared for anything, so if audience participation scares you, then this might not be the show for you.

It's So Learning. Photo: Kate Raines of Plate 3 Photography

It’s So Learning. Photo: Kate Raines of Plate 3 Photography

Hungry for more? Use this handy map to find out if any shows are happening near you.

Also, check out Scratch Night each Monday until the festival to preview some neighborhood shows.

Amanda Chudnow

Amanda Chudnow

Amanda Chudnow spends her days working in the Development Office at Bryn Mawr College and her weekends and evenings navigating Philadelphia's robust arts and culture scene. She saw 135 performances in the last year and will likely reach 150 this year. Photo: Neah Monteiro VIEW ALL POSTS