Cristal Palace PIFA

Beginning May 31, much of Philadelphia becomes a stage courtesy of the annual Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. | Image courtesy: Juan Robert

While thrilling, the 11 days of 50-plus performances courtesy of this year’s Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts may seem a tad overwhelming.

Well, we at PW selected six events that will make your heart churn with creative glee once the event kicks off on May 31 and runs through June 10. From experiences that verge on the shamanistic to unbelievable acts of human ability, you’re bound for an adventure of unparalleled artistic heights—some of which are more literal than others!

‘Cristal Palace’: Aerial Dance Party

Transe Express set the stage—or more appropriately, the air—for PIFA ‘s first year when the acrobats dangled above Broad Street. Now the French performance troop is tumbling and flipping their way back with an epic dance party, all set under a human-formed chandelier. Come on, how trippy is that? | June 1-10. 8pm. $25 Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.

Taylor Mac: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music

Are you sorely in need of a crash course in American history? No problem, because Taylor Mac has a 24-hour pop-history lesson with music and theater. Split into two 12-hour performances, audiences can explore the themes of our young nation from 1776 to present. A 2017 MacArthur Fellow, Mac provides a supremely unique and interactive experience with over 24 musicians and more than 100-local performers, ranging from burlesque dancers to a marching band. | June 2, 1776-1896. June 9, 1896-present. 12pm. Prices vary. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad


Shows like My Organ, My Seoul which hails from South Korea, is one of over 50 shows that will take place during the 11-day arts and theater showcase that is PIFA. | Image courtesy: Allied IM, PIFA

‘My Organ My Seoul’: Irreverent Dance

With the current news surrounding US relations with North and South Korea, what could be timelier than a performance by South Korean artists? Dancing to their own tune, Ambiguous Dance Company explores the idea of individualism through movement.. In this amusing and poignant world premiere, organist Ahreum Han will use the Kimmel Center’s Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ to compliment the the visual, rhythmic narrative. |June 3. 3pm. $29. Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, 300 S Broad St.  

‘Doggie Hamlet’: A 3D Pastoral Poem

If you want to go different this PIFA season then look no further than the show that incorporates herding dogs and sheep. Performing at dusk, immerse yourself into the pastoral scene set by music, dance, visuals and theater. Complete with hay bale seating and competitive sheep herding trials, delve into themes of sentience, love and loss. | June 3-4. Times vary. $20. Belmont Plateau Cross Country Course, Army Rd.

‘The Fever’: A Convergence of Empathy

An intimate performance, come one with art as you explore themes of human bonds and responsibility. For an experience that blends into a fever dream, audience members will sit in a circle and work with the Obie Award-winning theater company 600 Highwaymen to build a narrative of the human condition. What truth will you unearth when you emerge from “The Fever”? | June 6-10. Times vary. $29. SEI Innovation Studio at the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.

Street Fair

Not your traditional block party, bring the whole family for artistic delight. With seven-closed blocks of Broad Street, transport yourself into a world where imagination and expressionism rule. For a lovely afternoon out, come for a number of performances, activities, food and other enticing draws. | June 9. 11am-7pm. Free. Broad St from City Hall to South

PIFA 2018 | May 31-June 10. Times, prices and locations vary. To view a complete calendar, visit:



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