The Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2023 opens this weekend — here’s what to expect

Philadelphia Fringe Festival
John Jarboe in Late Night Snacks.

There are a few things that are just a given every September in Philly, one of which is the return of the annual Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

This week, the 18-day event will open and will ultimately feature up to 300 diverse productions and experiences throughout the city. Each performance/activation is unique in its own respect, and for the 27th edition of this celebrated occurrence, there will be a focus on embracing the FringeArts site as a cultural, culinary, and nightlife hub.

“This year’s festivities highlight our Festival Campus, which welcomes artists, audiences, and industry professionals to connect–whether that be purchasing tickets and getting help navigating the Festival, or participating in an art-making activity and watching an artist perform at the new Fringe Bar,” says President and Producing Director Nick Stuccio in a statement.

Philadelphia Fringe Festival
Pictured are Vanessa Knouse, Nico Gonzales, Rohan Bhargava, Ching-I Chang in ‘Rhythm Bath’. Rosalie O’Connor

Stuccio added: “No day will be exactly the same. We are excited to welcome audience members to enjoy this year’s dynamic programming and hope that the festival, with its incredible programming, can act as a social space in which conversation can blossom between artists and audiences, artists and artists, and Philadelphia and the world.”

That means there are a few new ways to experience what Fringe has to offer.

The Fringe Bar, for example, is a newly renovated restaurant and pub experience that focuses on plating soulful dishes (think Jersey caprese, a hoagie salad, creole shrimp, an eggplant bahn mi and a dish called extra “devlish” eggs) plus an eclectic cocktail program as well. Fringe Bar’s space is directly adjacent to FringeArts’ renowned state-of-the-art 220 seat theater and when you step outside, the Haas Biergarten will be up and running with food, drinks and games on the menu.

Philadelphia Fringe Festival
The company of Wig Wag. Rich Wexler

Arts-wise at the Fringe Festival, as always, there will be some world premieres to look out for, with some highlights from John Jarboe, Meg Saligman, Mimi Lien, Emily Bate, Susan Marshall and more. Other notable Fringe Festival activations also span a David Bowie-themed event by the Paul Green Rock Academy and the return of the ever-popular Late Night Snacks pop-up cabaret bar from ‘The Bearded Ladies.’

On top of everything Fringe has to offer, Philadelphians can also find Independent Festival Hubs, including Cannonball, Crossroads Comedy, Circus Campus Presents, and two new additions–Laurel Hill and Daydream: An Art for Young Audiences Hub, according to a release.

The release also states that Fringe audiences can expect an assortment of live theatrical and dance performances, art installations, circus arts, and genre-bending experiences that highlight the wide variety of local and national talent that the festival attracts—all of which curated by FringeArts, with both live and digital works produced by independent artists from across Philadelphia and beyond, promoted by FringeArts.

Philadelphia Fringe Festival
Students from the Paul Green Rock Academy. FringeArts

The best resource and way to figure out which show or experience might be right for you — and there is practically every category of work you have and have not heard of — is to visit

Tickets are now on sale.