Two new Philadelphia self-guided walking tours/experiences come to Fringe Festival 2020

-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC

Two self-guided Philadelphia walking tours/experiences will be part of the 2020 Fringe Festival!

TrailOff is an audio storytelling app that uses phone technology to transport users into an augmented reality world that syncs movement as one walks one of 10 Philadelphia trails.

Walk Around Philadelphia will transform how users view the city.  This segmented 100-mile self-guided tour explores Philadelphia’s perimeter.

Details about each below!

__Swim Pony3

TrailOff :
TrailOff will bring audiences into captivating stories as they walk trails throughout the region, synced to them in real time. The new mobile app, premiering in September of 2020 during the fall’s FringeArts Festival, brings its users a cutting edge artistic experience that is equal parts immersive theater, GPS-triggered technological “magic” and connection to nature. This mixed reality performance features 10 original audio dramas, totally free to download through the upcoming app, that unfold on trails across the Circuit Trails network. Created by Swim Pony in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) and app developer Toasterlab, stories feature local authors who bring new and diverse perspectives to trails in the Philadelphia region. Each story is written specifically for a trail on the Circuit Network, evoking a conversation between the external landscape and the internal sonic world. Stories are compelling and highly crafted to the selected route of the path, featuring aspects of the landscapes and giving the audience the feeling of a live site specific performance, but available 24/7 and responsive to the pace, weather and time of day the in which user undertakes the experience.

Developed over a two and a half year-long process, this new mobile app showcases self- guided geolocative audio performances that embed stories into the natural landscapes of the Philadelphia region. The experience of using TrailOff will feel like both site-specific theater and a contemplative walk, bringing compelling storytelling that shakes up the narratives one typically associates with nature trails. By expanding such representation, and using the existing networks these authors have already cultivated, the creative team hopes to create a deeper sense of belonging for those who may not yet feel invited into these public outdoor spaces. Audiences will be able to access these 10 intimate trail journeys via the free-to-download app, using GPS to link narration, ambient soundscape and music to physical attributes along a mapped route. The work, available for Android and iOS, will be free to download starting September 10 .

Stories cover a range of topics and styles from Afrofuturism-inspired mythology mysteries (Li Sumpter’s Chronicles of Asylum) to urban legends surrounding the Jersey Devil (River Devil II: The Return by Carmen Maria Machado), poetic exploration of care-taking and the Arabic diaspora (A Sycamore’s Psalm by donia salem harhoor) to magical realism narratives in which a trans Latinx woman confronts ancestral Aztec gods. Each of the 10 stories is scored with original music and design that features binaural audio, which gives it a spatialized 360 feel and fills the spaces between one scene on the trail and the next. Using the phone’s sensor data (weather, time of day, pace), stories also subtly shift in relation to the user in real time, giving them a magical experience of live unfolding events and offering agency to control the pace and experience of the journey.

Trail locations are easily searched in the app, found throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs. After each walk the app’s interface will shift from its standard map to a behind-the- scenes portal that offers a podcast-style interview with writers and info on points of interest near the trail to give users deeper insight into the spaces they’ve just traversed.

TrailOff will premiere this coming fall along with a host of supplemental programs (talks, livestream walks, social media scavenger hunts) during its September launch month in conjunction with FringeArts. The app will be available to download for a year after its launch. To get more info visit and to sign up to be notified when the app is released visit


Photograph by Jacques-Jean Tiziou

Walk Around Philadelphia

This September, Festival audiences are invited to discover the city that they thought they knew by walking its edges.

WALK AROUND PHILADELPHIA is the 2020 Philadelphia Fringe Festival experience facilitated by artist JJ Tiziou that will transform participants’ understanding of the city.

Completing the entire perimeter has taken, on average, ~100 miles over 5.5 days. The walk can be broken into smaller segments and completed over months or years. Groups are self- organized, choose their own routes, and can undertake the walk on their own time.

Participants will be provided a four person perimeter-walking kit that will include limited- edition perimeter passports, printed maps, reflective safety belts and more. Online content will provide additional maps and resources.

Registration is sliding scale to support a breadth of participation, and a limited number of stipends up to $500/person will be made available to help make the walk accessible to those needing to take time away from income-earning activities to participate.

A special virtual reportback gathering on October 4th will bring all of the participant groups together to share what they’ve discovered and celebrate what they’ve accomplished.

Tickets are available at starting August 10th.

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