Programming and recommendations for the 2021 Philadelphia Fringe Festival


The Philly theater community is in desperate need of performing and their excitement for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival is palpable. Over 1,000 performances are scheduled for 170 shows in more than 70 locations across the region from September 9 to October 3.

New this year is a festival within the festival – the Cannonball Festival, with dozens of performances at the Maas Building near Fifth Street and Avenue Girard. And within Cannonball is Visions, a festival of short plays held every week.

Many Fringe shows are held outdoors, 40% combine digital and live performances, and 23% are online only. Most producers require proof of vaccination and masks for indoor performances and recommend masks for outdoor spaces, but check with the sites for their specific protocols before you go.

The sheer choice of entertainment is overwhelming, so we asked local theater professionals to comment on their choices.

Appearing at the Fringe Festival at The choice, a comedic and uninhibited inFLUX work that follows three women as they race against their body clocks trying to decide whether or not to have children. ($ 20. September 9-18, Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St.)

Choice of fringes:

  • Sun & Sea. I have dreamed of seeing this opera installation by an all-female creative team – Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė – ever since I heard about her debut at the Venice Biennale 2019 (she won the Golden Lion .) Do not miss . ($ 15, September 30-October 3, Budd Building, 2831 Fox Street. Tickets are timed, the opera takes place in one hour.)

  • In buried ground by Shayla-Vie Jenkins and Emily Bate. Recently, I have been grappling with coming to terms with my own mortality, and I can’t wait to see this show. Every time I see Shayla-Vie Jenkins dance, my mind is blown away by the power, precision and freedom of her movement. (Free, September 8 and 11, Christ Church Cemetery, 5th and Arch Street.)

  • Be with by the Nichole Canuso Dance Company. I had the absolute pleasure of participating in Being / With: Home in last year’s Fringe, and I’m more than happy to hear that Nichole is presenting a new iteration. He takes you on a wonderful meditative journey with a complete stranger – connecting you through virtual space and movement. It is enlightening, liberating and joyful. ($ 35. Sep 9-Oct 2, multiple locations)

Thomas also directs films (Jokes – Anger Management, My suicide note (revised), Fire) and is a musician (listen

Choice of fringes:

  • Baldwin and Buckley in Cambridge, organized by the elevator repair service. James Baldwin’s comment on the social division between us as a people rings true even today. Baldwin and Buckley in Cambridge, which explores the conversations he had during and after his much-publicized debate in Cambridge, will help shed more light and resolution. ($ 39. September 9-11, FringeArts. 140 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd.)

  • Nanay, an interactive dance performance by Ani / MalayaWorks Dance. Every time I see Ani Gavino perform I am fortunate enough to have an experience, not just a show. She takes her audience to a realm where time does not matter. You will be forever changed once you let her talent come into your life. ($ 20, Sept. 17-19, outside at Bartram’s Garden Community Boathouse, 5400 Lindbergh Blvd., bring chairs.)

  • Alice. You can always trust EgoPo to take your mind down the rabbit hole. So now that they’re doing their own reinterpretation of the classic tale, it should turn out to be an event that will make you question your entire perception of the world. ($ 32. September 29 and 30, outside at Glen Foerd, 5001 Grant Ave.)

  • Honorable mentions: No diggity (improvisation from Crossroads Comedy Theater, September 26 at Theater Exile, $ 10), Stellar / Ascent (a dance film by Kyle Marshall Choreography and live performance by Bree Breeden, Kyle Marshall, Jose Lapaz-Rodriguez and Ariana Speight, September 24-25, FringeArts, $ 35), Visualz soundscape (a musical performance by Teyquil Skelton, Warehouse on Watts, $ 10), and I know it was blood: the totally true adventures of a modern black woman (A performance by Tara Lake on storytelling, drama, song and poetry, September 20-22 at Whole Shebang, $ 10.)

West will be performing at the Fringe Festival in $ 7 Girl, an autobiographical solo production based on their experiences as queer and trans sex workers. ($ 20, Sep 19-25, Meuse building, 1325 N. Randolph St.)

Choice of West’s Fringe:

  • I’m especially excited about some of Cannonball’s immersive pieces: If we win by Yannick Trapman-O’Brien, Artefacts of no consequence by Jeff Evans, and Bridal blitz by Gabrielle Revlock. Yannick and I started working together in 2019 and I was fascinated by the way he takes you into the micro-worlds he builds. Evans’ work will be site specific in a chalet and I can’t wait to see how he uses the space. The way Gabby questions the socio-political aspects of dating and relationships is truly fascinating. (If we win, free; Artefacts of no consequence, $ 20; Bridal blitz, $ 20, check for dates and times.)

  • I was so captivated by Irina Varina when I first saw her in Jillian Jetton’s Heat wave. She puts on a show, Irina learns guitar and songwriting, as a public responsibility project. I feel like this is going to be such a beautifully vulnerable room! ($ 15. September 17-October 1, Headlong Studios yard, 1170 S. Broad St.)

  • Connor Hogan does Gilligan gives concerts again, which is a cabaret-quiz about radical self-acceptance. Knowing Connor, this show is sure to be daring, hilarious and full of surprises. ($ 18. September 9 to 24. Victoria Freehouse, 10 S. Front St.)

Kaleidoscope will be back on stage this winter with a production of Amen corner by James Baldwin, possibly at the historic Lawyer Church. Hall-Karambé is also Managing Director of Arden Blair Companies.

Choice of fringes:

  • Enjoy your lunch! By Julia Child and Lee Hoiby (During a pandemic!). Honey, you have it all here – Julia (-esque), food, opera and comedy! I saw Mrs. Child growing up in the Texas countryside. So I’ll bring the wine. It should be fun. (Pay what you can, live broadcast September 6-26.)

  • Adjust the procedure by Jake Shore, produced by Spin Cycle. My reasons here are purely personal. Experiencing firsthand the fallout from the coronavirus in higher education and the lingering consequences, it will be interesting to see how this moment is captured as collective memory. ($ 10 online, for streaming throughout the festival.)

  • Three sisters, adapted by Hank Curry. I’m a fan of Anton Tchekhov and a good adaptation of a classic. I’m interested to see how much (or even if it is) stays true to the ideals of the playwright while exploring the same themes in this modern take. ($ 25, September 9 to 12. Rosenbach museum, 2008 Place Delancey.)

  • Baldwin and Buckley in Cambridge, organized by the elevator repair service. Given the racial and political climate in which we find ourselves, this piece is in demand and needed. This debate took place 55 years ago, but the essence of the question has yet to be answered. ($ 39, September 9-11. FringeArts, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd.)

  • Twelfth night, by Indecorous Theater Productions. I happen to love Shakespeare, and Twelfth Night is one of my favorites. Don’t let the “noble” language fool you; Shakespeare is brewing the earth and spelling tea in this romantic adventure with a false identity and disguise. ($ 20, Sept. 11-26 Strawberry Mansion House, Fairmount Park)

  • In love and mad by Forgotten Lore Theater with Lone Brick Theater Company, Widener University. Reason: It’s Shakespeare. It is the fairy. It’s interactive. Members of the public can really step into the bard with this one. ($ 20, Sept. 16, 17, 18, 19. Outside, the public is guided through Taylor Arboretum, 10 Ridley Drive, Wallingford)

Eissler will lead EgoPo’s Fringe offering, Alice: not your child’s wonderland, an adaptation of Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which he co-wrote with Jenna Kuerzi. The dangerous and upside down wonderland that emerges is a realm for adults, not children. ($ 32, September 29 and 30, outside at Glen Foerd, 5001 Grant Ave.)

Choice of fringes:

  • 707 Dangerous movements. I have been a fan of New Paradise Laboratories for years. 707 it sounds crazy and meta, and what a joy it will be to see [artistic director] Strand [MacLaughlin] perform! “($ 35, Sept. 16-18, Fringe arts, 140 N. boul. Christopher Colombus)

  • deprogram. I love Fringe because so many dance and dance pieces get the attention they deserve. And I love Megan Mazarick and her work, so of course I’ll be there. ($ 15. Sep 29-Oct 1 Maas Building)

  • Sun & Sea. It sounds like such an amazing experience. Opera art installation with no beginning or end on an indoor beach? I had to do a double take. ($ 15, September 30-October 3, Budd Building, 2831 Fox Street. Tickets are timed, the opera takes place in one hour.)

Muroya is a founding member of Asian artists from Philadelphia and has the lead role in the world premiere of R. Eric Thomas’ The eternal present, presented by Theater Exile in five different parks in South Philadelphia from September 11-19. (Free, bring your own chair, date and location details to

Choice of fringes:

  • QvK, presented by Philadelphia Artists’ Collective: Shakespeare’s Best Speeches, Scenic Violence, Audience Voting in One Place? Only 45 minutes? Directed by Damon Bonetti? Composed by the Eli Lynn? Yes please! This piece of PAC hits all the mark for me, and I look forward to it. (Free, September 16 to October 3, outside at Bardascino Park, 1000 S. 10th St., bring chairs.)

  • Change my major to Joan, presented by Boris Dansberry. Boris is a promising and promising queer artist in this city, and I can’t wait to see their solo show! Using contemporary theatrical performances of Joan of Arc, they explore community, representation and queer history, all woven together into a beautiful and touching performance in revue style. (Pay what you can, September 17-19, Pig Iron Theater Company Studio B, 1417 N. 2d St.)

  • Tthe chances of love, presented by the Hum’n’Bards theater company. The Decemberists are one of my absolute favorite bands, and I’m so excited to see their concept album, The vagaries of love, realized in performance! But be warned – this piece is about solid material and is aimed at audience members 21 and older. ($ 10, September 29-October 1. Diving in Front Street, 10 N. Front St., and streaming from October 2.)

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