What is The Philadelphia Thing?

The Philadelphia Thing is an advocacy and producing structure dedicated to the support and promotion of independent performing artists in Philadelphia. Using an artist-centered practice, The Philadelphia Thing connects artists with performance development resources, producing consultation, and marketplace advocacy, inside and outside of Philadelphia. By strengthening and enriching the ecosystem for the creation of performance work within the city, TPT builds connections among and between artists and audiences in Philadelphia and beyond.

The first initiative of The Philadelphia Thing is Trade School, a festival and exchange platform celebrating the work of Philadelphia performing artists as well as creating connections with artist peers across the country.

This endeavor is named with love, gratitude, and apologies to Mark Lord, who coined the title “The Philadelphia Thing” for a Headlong Performance eXchange conversation in the summer of 2015.

James Allister Sprang | Photo by Aaron Ross


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Sarah Bishop Stone (Founder and Director, The Philadelphia Thing; Co-Producer) is an independent curator, artist manager, and arts advocate based in Philadelphia. She returned to her hometown of Philly to join FringeArts in 2013, taking on the role of Programming Director as the organization expanded from an annual international festival to include year-round programming in a new facility on the Delaware River. From 2011-2013, she worked in Cultural Engagement with Montclair State University's Peak Performances series, facilitating initiatives that brought presented artists together with the student body and the curriculum. Prior to joining FringeArts, she spent more than ten years as a dramaturg, producer, and arts administrator in New York's downtown theater scene. Sarah has a BA in English from Columbia University, an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from Yale School of Drama, and was part of the 2015-2016 Graduate Certificate cohort at Wesleyan's Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance.