Todd Cardin Announces ETC Not in This Years Philly Fringe

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Prior commitments conflict with the fringe.

Todd Cardin of ETC Theater today announced that due to prior commitments his company will not be participating in this year’s Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Todd Cardin stated “The Philly Fringe was such a great experience with great people." Cardin said that his group will definitely be involved in the Fringe for 2007. The Philadelphia Fringe Festival was founded in 1997 by Nick Stuccio, a former Pennsylvania Ballet dancer and independent arts producer, and Eric Schoefer, a cutting-edge choreographer and performance artist. The two were inspired after experiencing "Festival Time" in Edinburgh - the three weeks in August when that Scottish city hosts both the International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

They saw the Festival as an opportunity for artists taking creative risks to present their work in an inspiring and exciting environment for audiences. By the mid-1990s Philadelphia found itself home to a nascent group of experimental artists and companies working in dance, theater, puppetry, and music -- as well as often blurring the lines between genres. The Philadelphia Fringe Festival was created partially in response to the need for these artists and organizations to have a strong, effective platform for their emergence, both locally and nationally.

The first Festival took over the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia for five days in September 1997 and featured 60 performing groups presenting their work in theaters, nightclubs, galleries, alleys, abandoned buildings, and at least one parked car. The work was fresh, new, unexpected and dynamic. Artists felt inspired to push boundaries and try new things. It thrilled the local artistic community and engaged audiences. That first event, in many ways, established the tone for the seven festivals that have followed.

Since then, the organization has grown tremendously by galvanizing the energy and passion of the local performing arts community while reaching out to an ever-broadening community of nationally and internationally renowned artists who are forming the cutting-edge of performance world-wide.

For the past six years we have been providing extraordinary support for Philadelphia-based artists by presenting hundreds of shows, commissioning new works, building audiences and capacity for emerging organizations, and helping new artists establish themselves. The existence has encouraged and supported several Philadelphia-based artists who have now begun to develop national reputations, and encouraged exceptional groups and individuals who have used the Festival to build a name and an audience. The Festival is becoming known nationally as a leading model for championing the work of Philadelphia-based artists and enhancing the Philadelphia arts scene.

The Festival is also an important stop for national and international contemporary artists touring their work New and important artists from Canada, England, Germany, Poland, Australia, Hungary and across the United States now comprise an essential part of the Festival.

The Festival was also organized to encourage audiences to discover new, risk-taking art. The Festival serves audiences who seek out challenges and are interested in moving beyond the "mainstream." The uniqueness of the performances also attracts people who might not have been engaged in art before - and their enthusiasm is encouraged by the spirited atmosphere of "Festival Time" and such activities as a late-night cabaret, street performances, and opportunities for artists and audiences to interact. The Festival intentionally makes the experience of seeing art exciting, social and fun.

The organization has experienced remarkable success and truly extraordinary growth. Since 1997 the festivals have expanded from five to 16 days, with total attends increasing from 12,000 in the first year to 45,000 in 2005. The 60 artists groups at the 1997 Festival increased to 220 by 2005, and the total number of performances increased from 120 to 893 for these comparison years. Finally, the operating budget has increased from $151,000 in 1997 to over $1.3 million in 2005. This growth has been facilitated by many factors.

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