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Touchstone Theatre’s Festival UnBound is a ten-day slate of incredible art performances and happenings right here in the heart of Bethlehem and across the Lehigh Valley, featuring countless homegrown and global performers and artists—and you.
It’s a “big playful experiment in art and civic dialogue,” says Touchstone founder Bill George, and it’s a once in a lifetime experience.
But what’s the best way to plan your Festival UnBound? We at Fig are proud to not only be sponsors of the Festival, but to present this Festival guide to help you navigate and curate your UnBound experience.
Festival UnBound: By the Numbers
Representing theater, music, dance, visual art, and the art of dialogue and conversation, Festival UnBound’s events will allow you to both enjoy a lifelong passion and encounter something new. Whether you’re creating a community mural, one woven thread at a time, at pARTicipate: Express Yourself, discovering the Hidden Seed of Bethlehem’s Forgotten Moravian Utopia, or unearthing The Secret—a world-premiere play from Mock Turtle Marionette Theater about H.D., Bethlehem’s greatest literary voice—there’s something for everyone.
Festival UnBound is happening in the heart of Bethlehem and across the Lehigh Valley: from the South Bethlehem Greenway to the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, the Bethlehem Area Public Library to Zoellner Arts Center, to Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown and the Sigal Museum in Easton. Chart your course across the Festival—and our home!—with this map.
6 EVENTS NOT TO BE MISSED
- Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Bookending the Festival on October 4 and 13, the opening and closing ceremonies will be jubilant extravaganzas, joyful gatherings of our 21st-century village. Free. 90 minutes.
- Prometheus/Redux. A companion theatrical piece to Steelbound, performed 20 years ago at Touchstone’s Steel Festival: the Art of an Industry—examining modern American healthcare as the now-dominant industry in Bethlehem. Oct 4, 5, 6. $25 for adults, $15 for students, seniors, and steelworkers. Limited number of pay-what-you-will tickets available. 90 minutes. Touchstone Theatre.
- Homecoming. An afternoon of celebration, words, music, and food, highlighting the culture and arts of the Black/African diaspora. Featuring legendary singer Ysaye Barnwell, Bakithi Kumalo and the South African Allstars, Tshila, and speaker Rev. Dr. Gregory Edwards. Oct 5. Free. 12:00pm-5:00pm. Bethlehem Area Public Library.
- To Hunt a Wild Utopia. Presented by bicycle touring theater Agile Rascal, the Hunt is a 2.5 mile-long wild theatrical bike ride through Bethlehem! Ride with your small group from scene to scene, and experience a journey full of song and wit. Oct 9, 10, 11, 12. $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, limited number of pay what you will tickets. 90 minutes. Bicycles provided. All guests must pre-register.
- A Joyful Noise. A thrilling and unique afternoon of song and community featuring the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, in collaboration with Nazareth Area High School Cantus, Camille Armstrong, Greater Shiloh Church Choir, Big Easy Easton Brass, Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock, Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts Touring Choir, Bel Canto Youth Chorus, and Jakopa’s Punch. Oct 6. $15 for adults, $10 for students, limited pay what you will tickets available. 90 minutes. Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center.
- Embracing Bethlehem / Abrazo a Belén. New York’s preeminent Latinx theatre collective Pregones PRTT / Puerto Rican Traveling Theater comes to the Lehigh Valley, partnering with Bethlehem’s Latinx community to create stories and songs for our future. Oct 11, 12. Pay what you will. 90 minutes. Charles A. Brown Ice House.
2 WAYS TO CONNECT AND SHARE, IRL (In Real Life)
Given all the experiences you’re sure to have at the Festival, you’ll want a place to talk about them—and Festival UnBound wants to hear your voice!
Community Conversations at Fig partner Café the Lodge, hosted by Touchstone ensemble member Christopher Shorr, will feature artists and specialists to discuss the Festival’s events and themes in small groups. Oct 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Noon to 1:00 pm. Free to attend. Seating is limited.
Cabaret will be a nightly watering hole, a place where audiences can rendezvous and enjoy a different performance every night. Come for food and drink, conversation and fun! Oct 4, 5, 6, 11, and 12. Free. Touchstone Theatre parking lot.
2 WAYS TO GET YOUR TICKETS
- Get into every event by purchasing an all-access Festival Pass. $145 for adults, $110 for students and seniors (a 25% discount on all ticketed events!)
- Customize your Festival UnBound experience a la carte.
More than half of Festival UnBound’s events are free or pay what you will. Accessibility and inclusion were guiding principles for Festival organizers; a select number of seats at each ticketed event have been earmarked as pay what you will, and ASL, closed captioning, and other accessibility measures have been provided wherever possible.
View a festival map and learn more about events in the Festival UnBound guide in our fall issue! We can’t wait to see you at Festival UnBound!