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Philadelphia International
Festival of the Arts (PIFA)

A month-long celebration of innovation, collaboration and creativity

The PIFA time machine at the Kimmel Center. Credit: J. Fusco for GPTMC


April 8 – April 23, 2016

Note: The information below is from 2013. Stay tuned for more information about this year’s event as it becomes available.


The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) returns in 2013 for its second city-wide celebration of innovation, collaboration and creativity.

This year’s the theme “If You Had a Time Machine…” features new and innovative works will transport audiences through time, tracing the ideas of past visionaries, examining current cultural events and fast-forwarding to imagine the possibilities for what’s yet to come.

More than 50 local arts and cultural organizations will put on dozens of events throughout the month ranging from music and theater to visual arts and family-friendly acts.

PIFA Street Fair

The culminating event of the month-long arts festival, the PIFA Street Fair will once again take over Broad Street from Chestnut to Lombard with a day of street performances, live music, food, special events and more on April 27, 2013.

Ongoing Events and Attractions

The Time Machine
The Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza is now home to a 100-foot interactive art installation that will lead visitors on a free, daily journey through time. The installation is open everyday of the festival, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday, and 10 a.m. to midnight Wednesday through Saturday.

Flash of Time
In a new musical production created just for PIFA and directed by Jay Wahl, the interactive time machine installation will come to life in a free show of song, dance and puppetry nearly every day of the festival in the Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, March 28-April 27.

Shut Your Wormhole
Also revolving around the time machine Comedy troupe Tribe of Fools will present a free 15-minute show exploring the pitfalls of time travel in the Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, April 4-26.

Daringly High Trapeze Classes
Fly School Circus Arts invites daredevils to take a trapeze lesson and fly through the air high above the Avenue of the Arts any day of the festival, March 28-April 27, in honor of the spunky women who first sported the raised hemlines of the 1960s. Tickets, $55, are available for the two-hour lesson four times daily at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Special Appearances

Savion Glover
The tap-dance wunderkind will take his audience way back to the early days of the universe in his world-premiere show, Dance Space. Glover’s immersive performance at the Academy of Music helps to launch the festival’s opening weekend on March 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $65.

Rufus Wrainwright
The renowned singer-songwriter commemorates Judy Garland’s 1961 Carnegie Hall performance with his two-part show Prima! Rufus! Judy! on April 21 at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. Tickets are $30 to $100.

Danilo Pérez
Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer Pérez brings the Panama 500 Band to the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater April 26 in a performance of jazz improvisation with piano, bass, drums, violin and percussion — all celebrating Vasco Nuñez de Balboa’s discovery of the Pacific Ocean 500 years ago. Tickets are $35.


The Philadelphia Orchestra
In one of the first PIFA performances, dynamic musical director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra in a performance of Bach’s The St. Matthew Passion March 28-30 in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. First performed in on Good Friday in 1727, the dramatic oratorio is timed to celebrate both PIFA and the Easter holiday. The orchestra will be accompanied by The American Boychoir and Westminster Symphonic Choir, and tickets are $49 to $127.

The Bearded Ladies Cabaret
Locally beloved cross-dressing cabaret troupe The Bearded Ladies bring an eclectic show to the Kimmel Center’s Innovation Studio March 28-April 7, twice an evening at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Wide Awake: A Civil War Cabaret takes audiences back to the era of the Civil War via song, dance and costumed characters — think Southern belles in corsets and Yankees decked out in Lincoln-style top hats. Tickets are $29.

Peter Nero and the Philly Pops
In Bond and Beyond, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops pay tribute to the golden era of James Bond with music from the films, as well as other themes of espionage. Guest conductor Michael Krajewski, who will succeed Peter Nero upon his retirement at the end of this season, leads the orchestra and soloist Debbie Gravitte in this show in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. Tickets are $21.60 to $114.

Cool Collaborations

Everyone and I
Progressive local theater group Azuka Theatre pairs with the American Poetry Review to create a this new work, playing in the Kimmel Center’s Hamilton Garden March 28-April 7. Inspired by the Frank O’Hara poem The Day Lady Died, Azuka produces a play about O’Hara and his love of the music of Billie Holiday. Tickets are $26.00 to $31.00.

Fall of the Berlin Wall: Beethoven’s 9th Symphony
The Center for Emerging Visual Artists and The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia band together to offer up a multifaceted performance. In the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall on April 7 at 2:30 p.m., the organizations pay tribute to the demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1989 with a performance of Beethoven’s 9th complemented by excerpts from photographer James B. Abbott’s solo exhibition, The Fall: A Photographic Portrait of Berlin and the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which is on view at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists through April 26. Tickets are $24 to $81.

Hiraki: Tsunami Loss and Hope
Commemorating the terrible tsunami of March 2011, Settlement Music School, Friends of the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden and KyoDaiko Taiko Drummers of Philadelphia have come together to present a newly commissioned work by Japanese taiko drummer Kaoru Watanabe. See KyoDaiko perform the program at Settlement Music School on April 13, 7 p.m., and at Shofuso Japanese House and Garden on April 18, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Icarus at the Edge of Time
The Philadelphia Science Festival and PIFA join forces for a multimedia extravaganza based on the children’s book by physicist Brian Greene. On April 24 at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra plays the original score by Philip Glass, while film and narration complete the presentation. Tickets are $32 to $44.

For a complete visual timeline of all PIFA 2013 events with program details, visit the festival website’s searchable event calendar.

Click the button below for more information and to purchase tickets.

PIFA 2011

In the Spring of 2011, the inaugural Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) imbued the city with the essence of Paris, circa 1910-1920.

More than 400,000 people experience spectacular events and performances from 150 arts partners over the course of the 30 day festival and put Philly’s diverse and extensive artistic contributions on the world’s center stage.

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