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‘Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts’ expanding

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COURTESY PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST
The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is Sept. 21-Nov. 11 at various locations throughout the city. There will be artists from all over the world from fine and performing arts disciplines, including theater, dance, music and visual art. The Chinese 'Moon Opera' will feature music in the Byham Theater.
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COURTESY PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST
The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is Sept. 21-Nov. 11 at various locations throughout the city. There will be artists from all over the world from fine and performing arts disciplines, including theater, dance, music and visual art such as 'Nonotak' from France.
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COURTESY PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST
The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is Sept. 21-Nov. 11 at various locations throughout the city. There will be artists from all over the world from fine and performing arts disciplines, including theater, dance, music and visual art. 'What's That?' is a puppet cabaret with iconic Ukrainan poetry.
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COURTESY PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST
The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is Sept. 21-Nov. 11 at various locations throughout the city. There will be artists from all over the world from fine and performing arts disciplines, including theater, dance, music and visual art. This Brazilian dance performance will be at the Byham Theater.
GTRLIVFESTIVALFIRST2
COURTESY PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST
The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is Sept. 21-Nov. 11 at various locations throughout the city. There will be artists from all over the world from fine and performing arts disciplines, including theater, dance, music and visual art. South Africa's 'Karoo Moose' will be part of the theater genre.

This year’s Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts promises to be bigger and better than ever.

The festival, Sept. 21-Nov. 11, has doubled in length and will have triple the attractions.

Looking ahead, this expanded showcase includes 30 companies and artists from more than 20 countries and 500-plus performing and visual arts events never before seen in the country, continent and world.

“There is work produced in Pittsburgh by the local arts community that is truly international in caliber and scope,” says Kevin McMahon, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust president and CEO in a news release. “By bringing these incredible performances and exhibits from around the world and pairing them with outstanding Pittsburgh-produced arts, the cultural trust wants to put the spotlight on Pittsburgh as an international city and make sure it is recognized locally and by people around the globe.”

What’s happening?

Over the course of eight weeks, Pittsburgh’s cultural district will become a hub of the U.S., North American and world premieres. These works by renowned, globally minded artists will feature a full range of arts disciplines — theater, dance, music, visual art, pieces that defy category — and take place in both traditional and unexpected spaces.

From intimate experiences in galleries, to physically following a story as it unfolds in an historic church, to mind-blowing outdoor light shows, to a circus arts spectacle in the region’s largest theater, each piece will challenge, excite, entertain, question and leave audiences seeing the world in a new way.

Who is coming?

The companies and artists hail from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Haiti, Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, China, South Korea, Thailand, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Israel, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

The guiding forces

Scott Shiller, who joined the cultural trust in 2016, has been a driving force behind widening the festival’s reach.

“Our goal with this edition of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is to reflect the world through these unique artist’s voices and we are honored to present their extraordinary works as part of the cultural trust’s breadth of programming,” Shiller says, in a news release.

Quantum Theatre’s artistic director Karla Boos joins as guest curator of the festival. Artists all over the world are actively expressing their citizenship in a borderless “country” of the mind and spirit — one that transcends national boundaries and resists xenophobia, Boos says in a news release. Their works address their concerns head-on, but often in unexpected ways, expressing resistance to bleak political or social climates with startling beauty.

Visual arts curator Murray Horne has been a part of all four Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. He says since the last event, the team has learned that artists in the United States are working with global partners on the cutting edge of the visual and performing arts.

“We are excited to explore these intersections over the course of this international survey,” Horne says in a news release.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office at Theatre Square in Pittsburgh. (Some events are free. Others require a timed ticket.)

Details: 412-456-6666 or trustarts.org

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or [email protected] or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

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