Melbourne Fringe Festival turns 40

Carol Saffer

The 2022 Melbourne Fringe Festival theme “it’s about time” is appropriate for an event that has 40 years of history to celebrate and three lost years to make up for due to COVID.

This year’s first in-person Fringe Festival kicks off with an enormous free opening night 40th birthday party on October 6 and runs through to Friday, October 23.

Dockland residents are in for a treat with PENDULUM, a site-specific contemporary dance event created by Lucy Guerin Inc and Matthias Schack-Arnott and presented at the unique Shed 21 at Yarra’s Edge running from October 15 to 22.

It is a meditation on time with amazing views and unique art where dancers move in sync with a field of suspended bells that hum, glow and toll in this movement-driven performance.

As this formidable intergenerational ensemble of women dances with time, every rise and fall reveals the strength and vulnerability of the human form.

Melbourne Fringe creative director and CEO Simon Abrahams said the expanded program of new exhibitions, dynamic public art and brand-new art precincts made it the most ambitious festival.


“Through this festival, we’re writing a history of the future,” he said.


“We’ve centred free events as our birthday gift back to the city, including free participatory public artworks and, of course, the return of our iconic Fringe Parade.”

On Saturday, October 15, from 3pm, join or watch the parade of community groups, marching bands, trade unionists, dog walkers, drag queens, fashionistas and the public, march along Lygon St from Faraday St to Argyle Square.

The Square is the scene for a block party that will rock on until late, with two live stages featuring Fringe acts and live music, roving entertainers, and a reprisal of the famed Waiters’ Race that will keep the celebrations going.

With a long list of exhibitions and performances by extraordinary artists and organisations, there are more than 450 events planned for clubs, theatres, galleries, computer screens, parks, and bars of Melbourne.

The return of the Festival Hub at Trades Hall is greatly anticipated as well as the introduction of a Festival Park at Queen Victoria Market.

Deadly Fringe, Melbourne Fringe’s First Nations program, features brand-new works by senior and established First Nations artists exploring time, past, present, and future concepts.

Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos said, “Throughout its 40-year history Melbourne Fringe has provided a platform for so many of Australia’s artists and creative leaders, allowing our independent creative community to take risks and bring their work to the legendary Fringe audience.”

“Venues and locations across the CBD will be electrified with creative experiences while the flow-on effects of hundreds of festival goers each night enjoying the city and its restaurants and bars will be enormous.”

Productions by LGBTQIA+ artists, including 290 trans and gender diverse artists, account for more than 51 per cent of the shows at the festival, while 238 deaf and disabled artists make up 13 per cent of festival events. •

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Waterways team to the rescue

November 29th, 2023 - Docklands News
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