Melbourne Fringe takes centre stage


“PLAY UP!” is the rallying cheer for this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Welcoming all Victorians and drawing performers and crowds from across the world, the Melbourne Fringe Festival is back.

Fringe festivals are a complex and diverse spectacle of the arts, tracked and followed around the globe. With the unifying desire to “reimagine Melbourne into one epic art adventure playground,” Melbourne Fringe creative director and CEO Simon Abrahams describes this year’s festival as an opportunity for show-goers to open themselves up to new experiences.

“Melbourne Fringe is quite unique, actually,” Simon Abrahams told CBD News. “Globally, in the world of Fringe festivals, we’re not a giant. We are a place for incredible art making.”

Featuring a formidable and well-woven tapestry of 475 events, this year’s program ranges from a Scandinavian WWE-style circus smack down at Queen Victoria Market (Mythos: Ragnarok), to An Evening with JK, where trans comedian Anna Piper Scott plays a cipher of the Harry Potter author.

A colossal eight-metre-tall bright-gold and fully accessible playground swing will be installed at the State Library free for all to ride.

The festival will host 44 award-winning shows from Australia and overseas, however true to Fringe culture, the heart of the festival lies in the margins of society and amplifies the voices of emerging artists.

“I think what makes Melbourne Fringe unique is [that] we’ve got artists at the absolute top of their game, making extraordinary work alongside fresh artists trying new things, all on the one bill together,” Simon Abrahams said.

The festival, of which more than 80 per cent of events are homegrown in Victoria and made up of 55 per cent LGBTQIA+ artists, speaks to diversity and the vibrancy of being different.

Melbourne Fringe runs throughout October and multiple locations in the city. •

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