Diversity and inclusivity highlight the Fringe Festival’s 5th year

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FRINGE MANILA celebrates its 5th year as the Fringe Festival comes out of the peripheries during Philippine Arts Month. From Feb. 7 to March 3, Metro Manila’s open-access, multi-arts festival will once again present an inclusive program line-up that reflect the culmination of the five years of Fringe Manila.

Fringe Manila started in 2015 as the brainchild of Festival Director Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan. He had previously worked for FringeNYC and in productions at the New York Musical Theater Festival and the United Solo Festival. Fringe Manila was born out of the need to provide safe spaces for emerging artists and collectives to create opportunities for themselves in order to produce experimental pieces, perform works they never had a chance to, while developing cross cultural exchanges, and engage with the local community. Since its inception, Fringe Manila continues to be an artist-driven festival that has evolved into a city-wide collaborative effort.

Over the past five years, the Fringe has had the support and participation of numerous art spaces, creative hubs, coffee shops, theaters and unconventional venues — abandoned apartelles, living rooms, cafeterias, rooftops, museums, parks, public spaces — providing broader access to the arts and cultivating audiences from different walks of life and interests in the creative sector.

The Fringe, “is almost a way of living,” says Toronto-based dancer and yoga instructor Kaye Peñaflor who was among the hundreds of artists who have participated in the festival. “It allows Filipinx’s — diaspora and not — to connect to community and art in a way that reconciles our culture and artistic vision,” adds singer-songwriter RV Mendoza, whose performances at Fringe 2018 reflected the festival’s, boundary-pushing, yet ultimately, exuberant spirit. “Fringe is necessary,” says Fringe Manila veteran Daniel Darwin, who premiered his solo piece Dance Until You Shatter Yourself in 2015. “It’s important in any city, especially in a place like Manila where the industries are so small — that we have a platform for new voices to express themselves.”

This year, festival-goers can expect the return of Fringe artists from the inaugural festival such as long-time festival partners The Sandbox Collective with its production of Every Brilliant Thing starring Teresa Herrera, as well as PETA with its comedy Charot! presenting Philippine current events for the freak show that it is. Repertory Philippines partners with Fringe this year with the restaging of Silent Sky, and SPIT debuts at the Yuchengco Museum.


The Dance Collective, led by contemporary performance artist Brian Moreno, comes back to the Fringe fold as his alter-ego in Lucinda’s Big Opening at the PARC Foundation. It is an autobiographical and experimental show that looks inside a drag transformation process. Combining elements of drag, dance, aerial arts and cabaret, Lucinda Sky breaks the fourth wall and tells “herstory” of love and self-discovery, and opens up discussion about recent affairs of the country and the world in an ambitious one man/woman show extravaganza.

Gawad Buhay-winning choreographer PJ Rebullida debuts his solo work ALIVE at the Alliance Francaise de Manille. Theater-actress and dancer Raflesia Chiarra Bravo performs K’RAZE at the Yuchengco Museum, a new work discovering the K[orean]-Pop phenomenon within Filipinos. Burlesque PH’s hit cabaret Bodabil at Pineapple Lab explores the localization of vaudeville in the Philippines and feature acts that highlight the heart of Filipino culture infused with the spirit of vaudeville.

Gayborhood goes to Quezon City at The Addlib Dance Studio featuring LGBTQIA artists battling it out in movement, style, and A.T.T.I.T.U.D.E.

Manila should watch out for the magical unicorns of Nordlys x P-Noise Vol. 2 — Manila Fringe Edition, a collaboration between Nordlys Festival, P-NOISE Festival, and Fringe Manila, bringing together performing artists from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Philippines. The project results in three performance evenings, divided into three creative and unique venues in Poblacion, Makati — Dulo, The Ruins, and Pineapple Lab, from Feb. 28 to March 2.

Canadian female artists return to Manila as Fly Lady Di performs Third World, a solo dance project created by Fly Lady Di that explores the journey of a dancer grappling with her Filipino-Canadian identity through various video-game like worlds. When street dance meets Filipino folk dance, what ensues is a high-impact experience that will make it difficult to sit still. Move Your Dreams features Diana David, a multi-disciplinary performing artist who performs with prop-manipulation, movement storytelling, and motivational speaking about self-discovery and life transformation. She weaves inspiring monologues around moving performance pieces eventually inspiring the audience to manifest their own dreams by making moves together. Interdisciplinary artist Maylee Todd collaborates with Heresy, a Manila-based art platform for women with sound and interdisciplinary media, to conduct an Ableton Workshop where students will learn the fundamentals of Ableton for recording and sequencing audio and midi. Tattoo Artist Ilona Fiddy comes back for Tusok-Tusok Vol. 3. Focusing on tattoo for the last four years, and with a decade of experience in multidisciplinary art and design, Fiddy has explored themes of identity, isolation, and strength in community, of othering and perpetual occupation of liminal spaces.

The 2019 Fringe Festival also includes city tours for festival goers to get to know parts of Metro Manila. Street artist DeeJae Paeste will take foodies to the streets of Poblacion on the Starving Artist Tour food and street art tour. Manila Art Deco Weekend by Old Manila Walks celebrates the city’s rich and diverse heritage of 1930s modernist architecture, while community partner Bambike explores one-of-a-kind pit-stops, showcasing various creative spaces and the neighborhood’s hidden and not so hidden gems while on their iconic bamboo bikes in Intramuros, BGC, and Poblacion, Makati.

Tickets to some Fringe performances will be available at TicketWorld 891-9999 or at www.ticketworld.com.

For more details and updates, visit facebook.com/FringeMNL or follow FringeMla on Twitter and Instagram at @fringemnl or visit fringemanila.com.