Experimental Theatre Company Ninth Planet premieres “high noon” at Philly Fringe Festival

photo by Dante Napoli

Ninth Planet will see their Fringe Festival debut with the premiere of high noon in the 2022 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. This ensemble-devised interdisciplinary performance is co-presented as part of Cannonball Festival, a Fringe Hub produced by Almanac Dance Circus Theatre. 

After almost three years away from performing live, Ninth Planet comes back strong with a work created by an ensemble of interdisciplinary Black queer and trans performance makers who are shaping the future of experimental theatre in Philadelphia. 

Directed by Nia Benjamin, high noon is a speculative work of dance-theatre that takes on the Black experience by way of American cowboy mythology. Philadelphia musicians Sam Rise and Oliver Spencer create cyclical live sound using synthesizers, samples, loops, and acoustic folk music, while movement artists Vitche-Boul Ra and Kris Lee embody and upend cinematic Western tropes. Jordan Deal creates a panoramic video landscape across the barren white walls of the Icebox Project Space. 

“I think as a company we are so fascinated by genre because of what it can teach us about the American subconscious, about American storytelling and myth making,” says Nia Benjamin, Ninth Planet co-artistic director and director of high noon. “The Western is the perfect genre for this task, as it gets to the root of who America sees as the hero (read: white, heterosexual, male, and trigger-happy). In high noon, our cowboy is no hero. Our cowboy is Black, queer, and disillusioned.” 

Like all of Ninth Planet’s work, this project has been in development for several years, and has been shaped by the experiences and provocations of the ensemble. Nia’s direction for high noon is deeply personal and responsive; For this team of Black artists and performers, the search for a second option feels like the only way to survive. I’m constantly searching for the second option. For the way past the greed and violence and back to truth. Throughout the process of creating high noon, we are charting a course through the cowboy into the potential for a second option through nature, through memory, through Black artistic and cultural tradition.” 

high noon runs 70 minutes, appropriate for ages 13+ 

high noon has been developed with support from Millay Arts (2021), Subcircle Residency (2021), and Headlong (2022). Funding for high noon has been provided by Philadelphia Cultural Foundation, Charlotte Cushman Foundation, The Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Amalgamated Foundation, our Sustaining Monthly Donors, and a host of dedicated individual donors. Ninth Planet is proud to be a Headlong Incubated Artist.

More information about Ninth Planet can be found here.

Icebox Project Space 
1400 N. American St, Philadelphia, PA, 19122 


Monday, September 5 – 9:15pm 

Tuesday, September 6 – 9:15pm 

Saturday, September 10 – 12pm 

Tuesday, September 13 – 9:15pm 

Wednesday, September 14 – 10pm 

Friday, September 16 – 7:15pm 

Sunday, September 18 – 12:30pm 


This show is presented as part of Cannonball Festival, Philly’s artist-centered performance hub, packing in 65+ full length shows and 300 performances in two nearby venues. Discover risk-taking theater, dance, circus, music, and comedy alongside a vibrant garden bar with a free nightly cabaret, pop-up events, workshops, artist talkbacks, and more. September 1–30 at the Maas Building (1320 N 5th St) and Icebox Project Space (1400 N American St). Learn more at cannonballfestival.org. 

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