Manila’s most diverse contemporary arts festival has traditionally been the springboard for intergenerational local, international artists and collectives to premiere new works. With its artist-driven and un-curated design, the Fringe has mediated opportunities for artists and communities to gather together. It continues to encourage audiences to take a risk in supporting independent artists, as well as championing alternative and unconventional spaces as cultural centers – incubators, platforms, and stages – that develop the arts and cultivates its future.
Building off of the momentum of last year’s five-year milestone, the sixth edition of The Fringe Manila Festival programs events and partners with venues from A (SPACE) to Z (Hostel). With tours, exhibitions, performances, and workshops throughout Philippine Arts Month, the Fringe is ready to fuel Metro Manila’s creative spirit. Fringe 2020 debuted with the Fringe Foreplay Program from February 8th to February 11th with Lagablab: Ang Improv Show na Puno ng Puso by Chopsuey Imrprov in Poblacion, Makati City; Somewhere Else Instead by Langgam Performance Troup at the Yuchengco Museum; KOMIKET, the Filipino Komiks and Art Market in Ortigas; Pineapple Lab’s Really Really Fringe Market featuring muralist Yoyojin from South Korea; and workshops at Fringe Manila Venue partner Commune, with a series of workshops and a performance by the Unsafe Space Show.
Fringe 2020 goes full force as it kicked off the festivities last February 12 with Opening Ceremony, the Fringe Manila opening night party and gathering at this year’s Fringe Club located at the rooftop of the Draper Start-Up House with Fringe-fam regulars Burlesque PH, the Philippines’ premier burlesque troupe with their long-running cabaret show Bodabil. Also celebrating its sixth year participating at the Fringe is the hot-and-sometimes-bothered Deus Sex Machina with their entry, To Have and To Ho.
“The Fringe is a playground for writers, actors, and artists to really experiment with their craft. That’s what we love most about being part of the festival: The creative freedom it allows us outside of our usual 9-to-5s,” says Marco Sumayao, one of DSM founding members.
The Lopez Museum and Library joins the festival with a series of free-to-the-public movie screenings at Pineapple Lab entitled Classic Filipino Cinema, through the Lopez Arts Initiative. These screenings will be taking classic Filipino films to another level with the deconstruction of notable titles that marked turning points in the Philippines’ film history. The Lopez Arts Initiative is bringing together aspects of storytelling, film restoration, and heritage in a casual, community-inspired platform. Human rights activist Rhadem Morados will launch a brand-new documentary entitled In Paglayag, a short documentary about the washed away history of Sulu, the kingdom that birthed the Filipino Moro nation, and whose power gained influence even from China’s Ming Dynasty and other Asian empires in 1400s. NightofWorship by House of Worship is a performance show featuring queer, offbeat, Filipino artists working in concrete and meaningful ways to address issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community. In Cubao, The Addlib Dance Studio (TADS) hosts yet another eclectic edition of Miss Joe’s Cabaret, while the House of Mizrahi PH, the first ever voguing house in the country, performs as Fringe Festival virgins with their Sweet Valentine Ball.
Collaborations seem to be the pulse of this year’s festival with both local artists and international acts working together. Flow arts collective Legato Visual Performing Arts includes Barcelona-based Su e Giu Circus as an opening act for their show Puro. Filipina-American contemporary dancer K.GO opens for Fringe Manila regular Daloy Dance Company. Japanese artist collective Sakai International Community Arts introduces a new work with Filipino visual artist Adam Red with Tea Room on the Border, a new take on Cha no Yu or the Japanese Tea Ceremony with the support of Japan Foundation, Manila. The festival welcomes back multi-media artist Mark Valino as Moments of Movement stages
ORIGINS with fellow Filipino-Canadian collective Immigrant Lessons and HAMPTON. Origins is a dance theatre, visual media, and immersive exploration into a past that leaves echoes in the present. In ORIGINS, eight artists dive into their unique stories, and journey through intersections of identity. Lyon-based French-Filipina artist Maïa d’Aboville and French painter Henri Lamy return to Poblacion to present Linya, a multidisciplinary performative exhibition choreographed by renowned New-York-based Filipina dancer and choreographer Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish (The Alvin Ailey School) in collaboration with Ea Torrado, Leeroy New and Olivia d’Aboville, capping off the Fringe Hangover Program spilling into March 1st to the 15th.
The 2020 Fringe Festival not only includes performances, but also workshops, self-development, and skill-sharing activities. Acro-yoga duo KASA, comprised of Filipino-Canadians Kaye Peñaflor and Sam Jarvis, invite participants to spend a few sessions living #thekasalife with their Aerial Yoga as well as their Pineapple Flow and Acro Yoga offerings. Art After Dark is a life drawing session where artists can let their hair down and relax a bit. Two hours, two amazingly talented models, three performance sets, enough time to drink, hang out, and make new connections with other artists is the experience facilitators Karla Consolacion and Mookie Tamara are promising its participants. Manila’s very own Queen of Rope and Mistress of the Underworld JOYEN brings us a knot-so-ordinary workshop in the STRING THEORY Basic Rope Bondage Class.
In an increasingly turbulent world, art is crucial — as an escape, a form of catharsis, and platform for voices that call for change. Now, more than ever, independent artists seek to shape and make sense of the global landscape through their work, fueled by the need to create despite looming uncertainty. Metro Manila, as a vibrant creative hub in Southeast Asia, is proud to foster these progressive movers, shakers, and game-changers through festivals like Fringe Manila. For homegrown Filipino innovators, third culture kids and the diaspora, the Fringe is a way to reconnect with the Philippines – to share the experience create encounters with new audiences and get to know those who thrive on the fringes.
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