Philippe Petit: OPEN PRACTICE

Virtual Mainstage | Virtual Schooltime & Family Matinee | Artist Talk

Philippe’s newest show is Open Practice, in which he shares with an audience for the first time how, for the last 55 years, he has prepared himself to meet the challenges of the high wire.


Beautifully shot in the majestic Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, NY, the audience gets a front-row seat to a show few have seen in person. After a few warm-up balance exercises on the ground, Philippe jumps on the wire to demonstrate and explains the origins of some of the unique walks and moves of his invention, including juggling, kneeling, and laying down on the wire. Interspersed with anecdotes about his life, he reveals some of his unusual ways of thinking about creativity, risk, and what he calls "cheating the impossible".


Open Practice is a rare opportunity to peer into the fascinating world and process of a unique master.

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About Philippe Petit

On August 7, 1974, high wire artist Philippe Petit walked a high wire he had secretly rigged between the rooftops of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Philippe’s book, TO REACH THE CLOUDS, which recounts that adventure, was the basis of the 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary MAN ON WIRE, as well as the IMAX 3-D Robert Zemeckis film, THE WALK starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Starting at the age of 6, Philippe taught himself close-up magic, followed by juggling, chess, lock picking, 18th-century timber framing, the art of pick-pocketing, six languages, and, of course, wire walking. He has performed more than 80 high wire walks on 6 continents, has been arrested over 500 times for street juggling, and estimates that he has walked the equivalent of the earth’s circumference on wires.


The author of eight published books (most translated into multiple languages), Philippe is currently writing his autobiography. He gives lectures on creativity and other topics to audiences all over the world, directs plays, performs a one man show, and gives master classes on tight rope walking. He continues to perform on the wire. Among his dream projects is a walk on an inclined cable on Easter Island amid the giant sacred stone Moai and another between the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.


Twelve people have walked on the moon, but only one has walked a wire between the Twin Towers.




Petit in the Press

"Seeing him work out on the practice wire convinced me that....there is no denying that for both the artists and the spectator Petit's art is conditioned by the knowledge  that he is risking his life."

The New Yorker

"Whether you take Philippe Petit's tightrope walk as art, daredevilry, or madness, it's hard to deny the awe it inspired."