As the 2016 Philadelphia Fringe Festival begins Friday, chances are you’re among the 40,000 people planning to sample the festival’s diverse menu of theater, dance, music, and visual arts from around the world.
This is the festival’s 20th anniversary, and Fringe Festival president and —producing director Nick Stuccio sees each event as a new beginning.
“It’s that moment when a ton of really powerful artists and their ideas are here together with a lot people who just devour the festival,” Stuccio said. “We have shows during the year, and we have a room full of people every other night.
“But when the festival happens, there are shows in neighborhoods all over the city,” he said. “And on day three, I’ll go out and spend from noon until 2 in the morning seeing different shows.”
The festival fans out across the city allowing people not only to see different performances, but also visit different neighborhoods for the first time.
Stuccio said he experiences the Fringe excitement firsthand every year, but he still feels the need to immerse himself in it.
“It’s intoxicating,” he said. “It’s overwhelming the amount of people that are lined up and so excited to see a show that they’ve been reading about and anticipating.
“That happens to me every year, and I don’t really fully understand it until I dive in the mix of the milieu of the shows and the people and the artists,” he added. “I’m not a guy who likes to look back at all. What we do, by definition, is present contemporary performance, so it’s about what’s new and that very exciting to me.”
For more of Jennifer Lynn’s interview with Nick Stuccio, including what has changed about Fringe the last 20 years, press play at the top of the page.