Yes, You Can Do FringeArts With Kids

Not every show features full-frontal nudity.

Philadelphia’s annual FringeArts Festival is now underway, with some ridiculous number of dance and theater shows and events that fall under the oft-maligned “performance art” heading. While most of the FringeArts programming isn’t exactly family friendly (I’m looking at you, Gunnar Montana), there are some shows suitable for younger audiences.

Below, a guide to the FringeArts shows that the whole family can enjoy together.


The Arts Bank
September 12th to 22nd
Tickets: $29 (grownups), $20 (25-and-under)

This solo work from a Berlin-based troupe (as in Germany, not South Jersey) uses film projections and circus maneuvers to create what is also known as “the anti-gravity show.” And what kid wouldn’t like an anti-gravity show? FringeArts founder Nick Stuccio brought his own kids to see LEO in Montreal, and I’m told that they’ve personally approved it.

A Mystery?

Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
September 7th to 8th, 14th to 15th, 21st to 22nd
Tickets: $10

Dragon’s Eye Theatre brings its interactive show to one of the best playgrounds in the Philadelphia region. From the company’s description: “A group of friends discover something unusual happening in Smith Playhouse, and they need your help to crack the case.” Sounds like a good one for the younger kids, although Dragon’s Eye says its for anyone from 4 to 104.

Home/Away from Home

Unity Garden (at Old York Road and Venango Street)
September 21st
Tickets: Free
This is being described as more of a “happening” than an actual show. Children will likely enjoy the “part interactive story maze, part treasure hunt, part community field day.” And it’s set in a neighborhood they’ve probably never been to (Nicetown-Tioga), in case you’re looking to get them outside of their box.

Cinderella: A Fairy Tale Opera

Cunningham Piano Company
September 7th to 8th
Tickets: $15 (grownups), $10 (25-and-under)

Well, the photo sure is adorable. Children’s Opera Box presents a version of Rossini’s La Cenerentola with a twist. After you see the show, be sure to browse Cunningham’s excellent selection of pianos.

Jennifer the Unspecial

UPenn Museum of Archaeology
September 13th to 14th
Tickets: $15 (grownups), $10 (18-and-under)

One for the (slightly) older set. An awkward 8th grader and three of her friends find themselves time traveling. In the end, Jennifer “discovers she doesn’t need anyone else’s approval to be absolutely amazing and special.”

Beyond the Light

Performance Garage
September 8th, 12th, 15th and 21st
Tickets: $10
They’ve gone all Fringe-y on us with the description: “a sensual dynamic creation story of love.” Don’t worry, it’s safe for your kids, though recommended for ages 8 and up by the powers-that-be. There are puppets, acrobatics, cool visual effects, and a little dance for good measure.