The festival will feature exclusive U.S. and world premieres by acclaimed international artists and contemporary performing arts companies.
Festival events will be presented in association with other Pittsburgh cultural organizations and will offer intimate experiences for audiences at various traditional and non-traditional performance venues within the downtown Cultural District and throughout the city.
"This is a very exciting time in Pittsburgh's 250 years," stated J. Kevin McMahon, president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. "With our Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, the return of the Festival of Lights this fall, and the extended run of the Carnegie International, this is a definitive time in this region with a surge of unprecedented cultural activity that truly stimulates the local and regional economy and helps people imagine Pittsburgh in a new way."
Participating performing artists or troupes include Peter Reder from England, Ballet Maribor from Slovenia, Kassys from The Netherlands, Teatro de los Sentidos from Spain and Jo Stromgren Kompani from Norway.
For a complete schedule and more details, visit www.pifof.org. *
First launched in 2004, the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts "continues to build upon The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's 24 years of successful urban redevelopment through the arts and creation of Pittsburgh's vibrant downtown Cultural District."
"The works chosen especially for this year's Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts celebrate the intersection of art, theatre, dance, music and movement — and they definitely blur the lines between art forms to provide audiences with very intimate experiences in performance," according to Paul J. Organisak, vice president of programming at The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and curator of the 2008 Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts.
"We're excited to present to Pittsburgh audiences a broad sample of new international performance work that shares, to some degree, common threads of being intimate, immediate, awkward and immersive, and happening in atypical environments as well as theatres and traditional performances spaces," added Ben Harrison, associate curator for performance at The Andy Warhol Museum and associate curator for this year's festival which will feature performances around the city at venues including the New Hazlett Theater, the Ellis School Armory, and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.
The official start of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts will take place on Oct. 10, when the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts joins with Pittsburgh 250 Festival of Lights to light up Katz Plaza. The official unveiling of the illuminated artwork to be "painted" onto the side of the Century Building at Katz Plaza will occur at approximately 8:30 PM — immediately following an early festival performance at the Byham Theater and before a later performance at the New Hazlett Theater.