Robots, humans share stage at Live Arts Festival

Philadelphia Live Arts Festival is trying out year-round programming.
Philadelphia Live Arts Festival is trying out year-round programming.

Nick Stuccio co-founded the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 1997 and has since emerged as the leader of the arts organization, even rebranding it in 2004 as the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe.

Stuccio’s vision has always been to make Live Arts a major player on the global arts scene. But he was always limited to an annual two-week run in September. Until now.

While the fall fest will remain the backbone of Live Arts, this weekend Stuccio is launching his first stab at year-round programming, with the Seinendan Theater Company presenting “Robot-Human Theater.” Based in Japan, Seinendan collaborated with Osaka University’s Intelligent Robotics Laboratory to create two short plays featuring both robot and human actors.

“We’re convinced there’s a market for this kind of work year-round. We should know. We’ve spent the last 15 years developing the audience,” Stuccio says. “As Philadelphians, we think we damn well should be able to see the very best art in the world.”

Presenting all year could help lure international companies on a cheaper scale, as Live Arts hopes to become a can’t-miss destination for international tours. The shows will typically arrive self-contained and, eventually, be performed in Live Arts’  240-seat theater, due to be completed in September.

“We think this is going to open up opportunities for local artists as well. The stakes have become so high for Live Arts. To get a gig on that platform is really hard these days,” says Stuccio. “We’re going to have many more avenues to get folks presented.”

If you go
Robot-Human Theater
Christ Church
Neighborhood House
20 N. American St.
Friday and Saturday
8 p.m., $18 to $28
215-413-1318
www.livearts-fringe.org/robot


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