Everything You Need To Know About The Philadelphia International Festival Of The Arts, April 8-23

PIFA is back! The citywide interactive and performing arts festival hits Philly with dozens of performances throughout 16 days.

A labyrinth of fire at Penn’s Landing. A towering moving sculpture at the Kimmel Center. A forest of cardboard trees. A free concert in a fountain. A huge street fair on Broad Street.

These are just a few of the major arts moments arriving in Philadelphia this month for the citywide Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, which kicks off Friday, April 8.

PIFA Fast Facts

  • PIFA arrives citywide Friday, April 8 through Saturday, April 23
  • The 16-day festival includes 60+ performances and a huge street fair
  • Two huge free spectacles bookend the festival
  • Shows range in price from FREE to $140+ for an all-access pass

Inaugurated in 2011 and reprised in 2013, this third installment of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts — better known as PIFA — brings more than 60 individual performances of dance, theater and visual arts to the city.

Curated by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia stages and places will host dozens of shows, all amounting to one huge international celebration of the arts and the arts community in Philly. For a complete rundown of shows, see below.

(Photo courtesy Diavolo)
PIFA brings more than 60 performances of dance, theater and visual arts to Philadelphia for a 16-day celebration of the arts and the arts community.

What’s PIFA?

Now in its third year, PIFA is a citywide celebration of international arts in Philadephia curated by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Showcasing both local and international artists, an overarching concept of “We Are What We Make” drives the artistic programming in 2016 and the festival’s shows will express the theme in innumerable ways via diverse genres and art forms.

The Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza will once again serve as PIFA’s cultural hub and showcase an extraordinary installation. This year, the festival begins and ends with enormous free spectacles: Article 13 will serve as the grand opening for the festival, running April 8-10 at Penn’s Landing, and the PIFA Street Fair on Broad Street will wrap the festival on Saturday, April 23.

For a complete rundown of shows, see below. Check here for more on all of the PIFA programming.

(Photo courtesy Compagnie Carabosse & Teatro Linea de Sombra )
 Don’t miss the U.S. premiere of the free sand-and-fire spectacle Article 13 during opening weekend of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.

Tickets and Passes

Single tickets for PIFA events are on sale and available to the public, and tons of events are free and open to the public (see below for show details).

Plus, festival passes are available, too, and range from a three-show package (starting around $53) all the way up to an all-access festival pass (starting around $143).

For free first-access passes to Article 13 on opening weekend, register here. Entrance is “first-come, first-served” for the performance and passes do not guarantee entrance, but patrons who do have first access passes can queue up early.

For more ticketing information and a calendar of events, check right here.

Concerto in Sea Major (Photo courtesy Aquacoustique)
Many PIFA events and shows are completely free and open to the public, and festival passes are on sale for shows requiring tickets. Make plans now!

PIFA Street Fair 2016

To close out the festival, the PIFA Street Fair will return to take over Broad Street for a massive and free day-long party on Saturday, April 23.

Shutting down Broad Street, the free fair transforms the thoroughfare with a tremendous blowout of festivities ranging from street musicians and performers to food vendors and exhibitors.

Stay tuned for complete information on the street fair, and check here for more.

(Image courtesy Mimi Lien)
In the airy Commonwealth Plaza at the Kimmel Center, MacArthur Genius Mimi Lien’s interactive installation Kinetic Tree holds court for the entire 16-day festival.

Giant Kinetic Tree Sculpture

At the heart of the festival, the Kimmel Center’s soaring Commonwealth Plaza atrium is now home to an enormous installation of an ever-changing Kinetic Tree by Mimi Lien, recipient of a 2015 MacArthur Genius Award.

At 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. every night of the festival, the tree will animate, surprising Kimmel Center guests with dynamic movement.

Complementing Lien’s sculpture, Philadelphia’s The Clay Studio and artist Shay Church collaborated on a grand public interactive installation, Stand, in which the public is invited to participate in building a forest of clay during two free sessions, on April 9 at 10 a.m. and April 10 at 1 p.m.

Must-See Performances

Article 13

Photo by Vincent Muteau

At the festival’s start, the huge and free fire and sand installation Article 13 will serve as the grand opening for the festival, running April 8-10 at Penn’s Landing. Using sand, fire and water to tell the story of immigration around the world, Article 13 is a grand multimedia spectacle that takes up space equivalent to two football fields. The U.S. premiere performances will take at Penn’s Landing April 8, 9 and 10 at 9 p.m. Seriously—don't miss it!

Article 13

When:April 8-10, 9 p.m. nightly
Where:Penn's Landing, Philadelphia
Cost:Free; Fast passes recommended

More On Article 13

String Theory: Exploring The Nature, Craft and Soul of Musical Instruments

A two-part show, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society hosts panel discussions and concerts delving into the musical theory of string instruments.

String Theory: Exploring The Nature, Craft and Soul of Musical Instruments

When:April 8 and April 13
Where:Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Free

More on String Theory

Knitting Peace

Knitting Peace | Photo by Mats Backer

Swedish troupe Cirkus Cirkör presents a show of circus arts where trapeze meets yarn.

Knitting Peace

When:April 8-10
Where:Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street
Cost:Tickets from $19

More on Knitting Peace

Rivers of Sound

Iraqi-American musician Amir El Saffar's new work features 17 musicians playing traditional instruments from North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Rivers of Sound

When:April 9
Where:Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Tickets from

More on Rivers of Sound

Vision Song: Our Hearts, Our Future, Our Voices

Jazz Bridge and Bobby Zankel present the world premiere of a new work for Zankel's band, Warriors of the Wonderful Sound.

Vision Song: Our Hearts, Our Future, Our Voices

When:April 9-10
Where:Kimmel Center's SEI Innovation Studio, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Tickets from $20

www.kimmelcenter.org

Paper Planet

PIFAPhoto by Martin Reddy

An interactive forest of paper trees will take over the Kimmel's Hamilton Garden thanks to Polyglot Theatre.

Paper Planet

When:April 9-23
Where:Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Free

More On Paper Planet

Attack Point

The Curtis Institute of Music, Choral Arts Philadelphia and Brooklyn-based contemporary dance company Gallim Dance come together to present dance music without the dance, and a dance without dance music.

Attack Point

When:April 10
Where:Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Tickets from $15

More on Attack Point

Architecture in Motion

Daring dance takes shape with acrobatic dance troup DIAVOLO.

Architecture in Motion

When:April 14
Where:Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street
Cost:Tickets from $19

More on Architecture in Motion

PHILADANCO's Global Artistry

Phila DancoPhoto by Lois Greenfield

Philadelphia's dynamic troupe PHILADANCO offers up a presentation of international world premieres.

PHILADANCO's Global Artistry

When:April 15-17
Where:Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia
Cost:Tickets from $29

More on Global Artistry

Concerto in Sea Major

French group Aquacoustique tap three fountains in Philadelphia as the stages for the first concert to be performed in the water — yes, splashing around in the water — in this American premiere.

Concerto in Sea Major

When:April 15, 16, 17
Where:The Magnolia Garden, Locust Street between 4th and 5th streets; Rodin Museum Fountain, 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway; Penn Museum’s Stoner Courtyard Fountain, 3260 South Street
Cost:Free

More on Concerto in Sea Major

Sneaker Suites

Shoe fashion gets a hip hop treatment in this dance show from the Antics troupe.

Sneaker Suites

When:April 20
Where:Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Tickets from $21

More on Sneaker Suites

Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project

Longtime collaborators Vijay Iyer, a Grammy-nominated pianist-composer and MacArthur Fellow, and Mike Ladd, a poet-performer-librettist-emcee, joined forces to create a new multi-disciplinary project that focuses on veterans of color from the last decade's wars.

Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project

When:April 22
Where:Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Tickets from $29

More on Holding it Down

The Wong Street Journal

The Philly premiere of a solo theater work that takes on poverty, privilege and economic theory written and performed by artist and comedian Kristina Wong.

The Wong Street Journal

When:April 14-16
Where:Kimmel Center's SEI Innovation Studio, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Tickets from $20

More on The Wong Street Journal

My Soul’s Shadow

Six projectors, five puppeteers, two screens, live chamber music and dozens of handmade paper shadow puppets make up Manual Cinema's shadow puppet installation based on the poetry of Federico García Lorca.

My Soul’s Shadow

When:April 15-16
Where:Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost:Tickets from $35

More on My Soul's Shadow

Mi Voca Su Voca

A dramatic poetry slam from celebrated poet Edwin Torres.

Mi Voca Su Voca

When:April 20-22
Where:Kimmel Center's SEI Innovation Studio, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Tickets from $20

More on Mi Voca Su Voca

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