4th annual 5-Minute Fringe Festival underway in Spring


The Reading Theater Project's fourth annual 5-Minute Fringe Festival opened with short form pieces covering a range of emotions.

"We invite artists from all over Berks County and beyond, really. We've had people from Lancaster and beyond, the Lehigh Valley, participate to create short pieces of theater totally new," said Vicki Haller Graff, artistic director for the Reading Theater Project.

A dance performance artist who does most of her work in Philadelphia said she's surprised at the opportunities for collaboration the festival fosters.

"I think one of the surprises that I've discovered is that there is so much talent and community within the Berks County arts scene," said Jessica Warchal-King, a dance performance artist.

Santo Marabella, perhaps better known for his film work, is directing and writing a stage piece for the festival and said the Reading Theater Project allows artists to take more risks.

"RTP is one of the theaters that I love working with because they are always open to trying new work, experimental stuff," said Marabella.

The theme of this year's five-minute fringe festival is "Finding Home," so it's fitting that the festival has a new home in the Yocum Institute in Spring Township.

"One of the greatest resources we have in the community is the Yocum Institute of the Arts," Marabella said.

The black box Schumo Theatre provides a unique space for directors, actors and writers to create original, personal works.

"One of our goals is to create more artistic community here in Reading, so by doing this, we are sort of collecting all the different artists in town and giving them an opportunity," Haller Graff said.

The festival runs through Sunday. Many artists said they hope the relationships they form will lead to new collaborations.

"There are so many artists in the Reading, and I've already collaborated with other musicians, but I'm looking forward to finding other performers other dancers other actors," said Warchal-King.

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