What to check out this opening weekend at Fringe Festival

Philadelphia is a city full of culture, artistic expression and passion. Every year, FringeArts, the city’s premier establishment for contemporary performances, streamlines all of those attributes to produce a 17-day extravaganza featuring 1,000 curated and independently produced performances — the Fringe Festival. The annual event highlights the incredible talent the City of Brotherly Love exemplifies in an interactive and highly personal way. This weekend kicks off the spirited festival, and Metro has the scoop on which shows you should be checking out. 

What to check out this opening weekend at Fringe Festival 


The world premiere performance comes from the highly acclaimed Pig Iron Theatre Company and award-winning designer Mimi Lien. “Superterranean” takes a closer look at Lien’s fascinations with urban infrastructure as well as the human body’s place within it. Nine performers will showcase Lien’s vision through visual demonstrations and ultimately help audiences feel connected to awe-inspiring infrastructures that we see daily. 

Sept. 5-15, times vary, 2300 Arena, 2300 South Swanson St., $2-$45


“Skein of Heart”

“Skein of Heart” is one of Fringe’s highly interactive showcases and comes from Fringe Festival regular, JUNK. This multi-sensory, diabolical indoor maze brings guests into a magical and mysterious labyrinth featuring performances and musical homages. It’s truly the perfect exhibit for anyone who is still a ’70s rocker at heart. According to the website, guests should be warned that those who venture through the maze inevitably leave a piece of their heart within its metal walls, twisting and turning and pulsating to the beat of a cryptic hard-rock love ballad. “Skein of Heart” features stair climbing, fog machines, strobe lights and music; it may not be suitable for all audiences. 

Sept. 5-8, 12-15 and 19-21, times vary, JUNK, 2040 Christian St., $30-$35


“Operation: Wawa Road Trip”

Tribe of Fools’ latest Fringe feat brings a close-to-home feel to the festival. “Operation: Wawa Road Trip” follows the story of Lee and Joey as they embark on a road trip from Dayton to Philadelphia to scatter their recently-passed father’s ashes in a meaningful place: a Wawa parking lot. According to the website, the siblings’ journey turns out to be quite eventful with Dungeons & Dragons, sibling rivalry, rest stops, tunnel wizards, soda cave wisdom and a disgusting hoagie legacy that must be upheld.

Sept. 5-9, 12-16 and 19-21, times vary, Proscenium Theatre at The Drake, 302 South Hicks St., $15-$25


Fringe Festival


“Much to Do, Much to Fix” 

This new showcase from Wings of Paper and writer-director John Cambridge will certainly move you — partially because audiences are on a moving platform, but mostly because the show explores the production of electricity, apathy and love. “Much to Do, Much to Fix” will highlight the connection between the land of the gods and a few special humans. The performance takes place in a fixed-up warehouse and is BYO; late admission will not be allowed. 

Sept. 5-8, 12-13, 15-16 and 19-22, times vary, 5200 Unruh Ave., $15


“Úumbal: Nomadic Choreography for Inhabitants”

This incredible and free dance showcase highlights an ambulatory dance performance created by the people of the city and is enacted by residents representing its diverse population. “Úumbal” was created by choreographer Mariana Arteaga after the 2014 incident where 43 students disappeared from Ayotzinapa, Mexico. After the government repressed protests to the incident, Arteaga responded by creating the communal performance. “Úumbal” truly gets up close and personal, being performed through a South Philly neighborhood from 5th Street between Shunk and Oregon to Mifflin Square. 

September 7, 13 and 14, 5th Street between Shunk and Oregon to Mifflin Sq, free 



“bilialien” is an evening filled with short works from Fringe Festival favorite Annie Wilson. “bilialien” dives into the world of keening, where in Celtic tradition is typically done over a dead body. According to the website, “bilialien” also explores celestial creatures tracing the periphery of the room, their time onstage and their own vision.

Sept. 6-10, times vary, Theatre Exile, 1340 S. 13th St., $20 



Created and performed by Nichole Canuso in collaboration with director Suli Holum, “Sneakers” examines the forces of when someone departs your life and how they inevitably enter in a new way. “Sneakers” also examines the blueprint of our memories and why we house certain memories over others from the past, present, the false, the borrowed and the buried. “Sneakers” will take place after Annie Wilson’s “bilialien.” 

Sept. 6-10, times vary, Theatre Exile, 1340 S. 13th St., $20 


For a full list of Fringe Festival shows visit fringearts.com

More from our Sister Sites