Fringe opening night off, more cancellations expected

Opening night of the Dunedin Fringe Festival has been cancelled and organisers expect more to follow.

At this stage the festival would continue and festival director Gareth McMillan said the programme would be adjusted in accordance with the latest advice from the Ministry of Health.

Both the Opening Night Showcase and the The Fringe in the Octagon event have been cancelled because because of their size and "risk profile".

So far about events and shows have been cancelled and Mr McMillian said he expected more cancellations to follow.

"It's a large pubic gathering, it's not seated so we can't track and trace participants."

There were still many shows in the festival which would remain on the schedule, he said. 

Some international acts had already cancelled because of the requirement to self-isolate for two weeks.

Updates any other cancellations would be made available on the Fringe Facebook page

Other large performances, including the Opening Night Showcase would proceed if organisers were confident there was no additional risk to participants and attendees, Mr McMillan said.

Festival director Gareth McMillan at the launch of the 2019 Fringe Festival Programme at the Dog...
Fringe Festival director Gareth McMillan says at this stage the 10 day long festival will go ahead mostly as planned. Photo: Linda Robertson

Other events could also be cancelled at the discretion of the producers, he said.

"Consideration of people’s wellbeing is our primary concern and we are therefore adjusting our plans for the festival in accordance with the latest advice from the Ministry of Health."

"These will evolve as the situation develops but at this point in time we are not planning to cancel the festival in its entirety," he said

All staff, volunteers, artists and festival goers will be asked to to follow best hygiene practice as set out by the Ministry of Health and are asked not to attend the festival if they are feeling unwell. 

Mr McMillian said the Fringe remained convinced, now more than ever, the community needed artists and the arts sector.

"In times of adversity, communities that are connected and resilient are best placed to weather the storm and recover faster afterwards."

The Dunedin Fringe Festival starts this Thursday.

People who have purchased tickets will be offered refunds and people will have the choice to make a donation to the artists whose shows had been cancelled, he said.

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