Fringe Festival Roundup: Top Picks For Performances At Unusual Sites, From A Pub To A Yoga Studio To A Museum Gallery To A Skate Park

Performing artists take to street corners, art galleries, bars, yoga studios, abandoned warehouses and even more unusual locations for Fringe performances. (Photo © Bill Hebert courtesy Fringe Festival)

The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe is just over a week away, and we want to make sure you’re fully prepared for the 16 days of artistic madness.

We’ll be helping you out with a series of guides to events, plus spotlights on some of our particular favorites, to assist you in choosing what to attend.

Below, we’ve cherry-picked the best of the quirkiest Live Arts/Fringe shows in terms of locale, an aspect which lends the festival much of its whimsy.

Our top picks for Fringe performances in unusual locations, in order by date:

Nichole Canuso Dance Company: September 5-21, Jefferson Garden at the American Philosophical Society Museum, 104 S. 5th Street. Nichole Canuso Dance Company has been commissioned by the APS Museum to create a series of performances, titled Return Return Departure, this fall. The first four will be part of the Fringe, and take place in the gorgeous Jefferson Garden.

The Lemurian Solution: Your Interactive Evolution by Mr. and Mrs. Magoo’s Traveling Trash Puppet Circus: September 6-8, Philadelphias Magic Gardens, 1020 South Street. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens play host to this strange, beautiful and comical installation and performance art using recycled materials and found objects.

Chomsky vs. Buckley, 1969 by Bruce Walsh: September 7-8, Bruce Walsh’s home, 984 N. Randolph Street. Playwright Bruce Walsh opens his home to festival-goers for this experiment in language and morality. He has convinced his roommates to memorize the 1969 Noam Chomsky vs. William F. Buckley debate, and perform it as they prepare and serve hors d’oeuvres.

Crossing Imaginary Lines: a musical yoga journey by Michal Waldfogel: September 8-22, three locations: September 8 at Wake Up Yoga, 1839 East Passyunk Avenue; September at Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Avenue; September at Blue Banyan, 7153 Sprague Street (Mt. Airy). Join your travel guide, singer/songwriter and yoga teacher Michal Waldfogel for an evening of live acoustic music. No yoga experience needed.

Le Grand Continental by Sylvain Émard Danse: September 8-9, Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Watch the world’s most glorious contemporary dancing event from the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Le Grand Continental is a festive, free, 30-minute outdoor adventure that has assembled nearly 200 local dancers of all ages and backgrounds to show off the talent, charisma and personality of Philadelphians. First created for Montréal’s renowned Festival TransAmériques, the Philadelphia version promises to be one of the largest presentations of its kind in the world.

Othello, Desdemona, & Iago Walk Into A Bar by [ad hoc theatre project]: September 8-23, The Trestle Inn, 339 N. 11th Street. What happens when you mix Shakespeare and a go-go bar? Othello, Desdemona, & Iago Walk Into A Bar will be immersed in the back
room of the Trestle Inn. Order happy hour food and drinks, watch and interact as the actors tell stories, take photos, dance and drink.

Seek and Hide by Dragon’s Eye Theatre: September 8-23, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, Reservoir Drive, East Fairmount Park. In this theatrical adventure through Smith Playhouse, an intimate audience navigates the terrain alongside the actors.

Creditors by Philadelphia Artists’ Collective: September 12-23, Franklin Inn Club, 205 S. Camac Street. Ever been inside this adorable and historic clubhouse hidden on Camac Street? Here’s your chance. This searing drama examines the costs of love, jealousy and the weight of our pasts.

Read more, below.

You Don’t Say by Tangle: September 13-15, Philadelphia Soundstages, 1600 N. 5th Street. Tangle’s aerial acrobats explore relationships and resist the pull of gravity in this dynamic circus-theater show.

Antony & Cleopatra: Infinite Lives by The Porch Room/The Underground Shakespeare Company: September 13-15, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street. Head to the Lower Egyptian Gallery of the Penn Museum for this play-within-a-play version of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

1 year and a day by Philapolis: September 14-22, Garage Mahal, 2026 N. Hancock Street. This interactive theater show takes place in a warehouse in North Philadelphia, a space it was specifically designed for.

The Apocalypse of John by Serious Theatre Collective: September 14-16, Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street. John Darrian, a phobic junior-level associate, is charged with saving the world from aliens, zombies and Satan himself in a hilarious comedy about the tragic end of all life on Earth.

The Gate Reopened by Brian Sanders’ JUNK: September 14-22, Pier 9, 121 N. Columbus Boulevard. This year’s Brian Sanders performance takes place outdoors on Pier 9, taking over a municipal warehouse on the Delaware River that is nearly 100 feet wide by 535 feet long and where international steamers once docked. Inside this massive structure The Gate has been built anew as a 20-foot high cylindrical octagon. With theater-in-the-round seating, audiences encircle the eight dancers in what has become a futuristic, post-industrial, post-apocalyptic coliseum.

Bye Bye Liver: The Philadelphia Drinking Play by The Pub Theater Company: September 15-22, Urban Saloon, 2120 Fairmount Avenue. A play in a pub? We’re in. This show mixes drinking-themed sketch comedy with interactive games such as Name That Tune and Would You Rather.

Dynamic Surroundings by Heather Bourgeois and Jess Dixon: September 15-16, Cecil B Moore Skate Park, Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. This site-specific piece explores the diversity of dance. The movement and environment are interpreted from three different perspectives inspired by the individualism of the dancers.

Hoist by Leah Stein Dance Company: September 19-23, Maas Building, 1325 Randolph Street. Hoist is a site-specific dance in the Maas Building integrating the iron beams, brick walls, metal hardware left over from the days when the building was a trolley repair shop.

No Rest for the Wicked: A Graveyard Cabaret by REV Theatre Company: September 20-22, Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue. REV Theatre Company will return to Laurel Hill Cemetery with another Fringe Festival production. Bring blankets and beach chairs. Complimentary cocktails will be served starting at 7:15 p.m. before each performance.

Browse through and get tickets to the 2012 shows online. Psst: student/25-and-under tickets are $5 off if the Fringe ticket price is $15 or over.

Want to see every single show? That is, as many of the 200+ shows as you can manage? The All Access Passmakes the Festival easy by granting admission to every Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe show and 20% off up to 3 additional tickets per performance. Get your All Access Pass online.


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