Philly Fringe Festival begins — with added benefits

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 Nick Stuccio is the president and producing director of FringeArts in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY, file)

Nick Stuccio is the president and producing director of FringeArts in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY, file)

The 2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival begins Thursday, unleashing two and a half weeks of diverse offerings in theater, dance, music and visual arts in and around Center City.

FringeArts president and producing director Nick Stuccio said he’s excited to help deliver new forms of movement and theater that pose big questions about humanity, home, family, society, culture — and what it means to be alive.

Stuccio described some additions to the festival, now in its 21st season:

FringeArts beerA Belgium-style ale by locals at Saint Benjamin Brewing Company. “Food, beer, and art. That’s a good combination,” he said.

FringeArts BookstoreDescribed as a place for artist talks and get-togethers, this pop-up store at United By Blue at 2nd and Race streets in Old City carries books and publications by and about artists in this year’s festival. Stuccio said it’s a “place you can come anytime to get information about the artists in the festival. It’s backstory about the festival.”

Extended FringeThe festival ends Sept. 24, but then picks up briefly for the run of a production that could only be booked in mid-October. Extended Festival performances of “Declassified Memory Fragment” — with performers from Burkina Faso — will focus on the geopolitics of Africa. “Beautiful actors and a good score, live,” he said.

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