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Live Theatrical Performance in Philadelphia -- The Insider's Guide: Home
There's way more to theatrical performance in Philadelphia than whatever touring Broadway show is passing through! Please find information on all the off-kilter options of performance that the city of Philadelphia is bursting with.
Hello, performance-seeker! Welcome to my guide to theatrical live performance in Philadelphia. I originally came to Philly ten years ago to get my BFA in Theatre and was less than satisfied by my university's focus on classical drama and Broadway-centric performance. I have been seeking out alternative and experimental theater my entire time in this wonderfully art-centric city, and I am so excited to share with you my favorites of the wild and weird! If wild and weird isn't your thing, there's plenty of great options to look through under the "General Theatre" tab, including some pretty amazing boundary-pushing contemporary theater companies. I've also included some pretty tame but gorgeously talented dance companies in the "Heavy-Hitter Dance Companies" tab!
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is hosted bi-annually by the Kimmel Center and is a huge collection of public art installations, theater, dance, circus, and music performances, and a huge festival that takes over South Broad Street.
During the Phialdelphia Fringe Festival, Opera Philadelphia also conducts a festival and it is TRIPPY. Opera productions have been getting weirder and weirder, and it is definitely worth going for the discussion you'll have afterwards.
Theatre Philadelphia -- the Theater Artist and Goer's Bible
This is a great resource to look into what's performing now, and a great place to start! However, plenty of the theatrical companies won't appear on this list, which is where the rest of this LibGuide comes in!
Wanna see some of what's on stage now?
Theatre Philadelphia has been the longest-running online resource for theatre-goers, theatre-makers, and theatre-appreciators!
You can find an exhaustive list of What's Performing Now, Theatre Jobs and Auditions, News, and a not very maintained but long List of Theatre Companies in and near Philadelphia.
While many of these companies are within the city, some will require travel.
Always a good thing to look over once a month when you're craving a show!
TIMES TO BE ALIVE -- Theatre Festivals in Philadelphia
In this guide, I will lead you through performance companies and theater makers to keep tabs on, but by far the easiest way to see performance in Philadelphia is during one of our amazing festivals!
By far the most important time of year for alternative theatre lovers, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival happens every year in the middle of September.
What is it? Hundreds of high and low budget shows, international artists, in-process works, DIY productions, digital shows, this is a wide range of wild and weird. You haven't experienced theater until you've done a Fringe Festival. You can go to three different shows a day and not see it all.
A gem of Philadelphia experimental spirit, Solow Fest is the lowest of the low budget festivals in Philly. Taking place for two weeks in midJune, the makers describe it as a do-it yourself festival dedicated to new, experimental work focusing on performance that is low-maintenance and low-stress. Most shows are site-specific, happening anywhere from row-homes to parks, to small stages. All shows are pay-what-you-can (PWYC) and intended to be accessible to artists, students, makers, and supporters. Similar to the Fringe, it has grown to a point where it is nearly impossible to see it all.