Fringe Festival up and running

The Dunedin Fringe Festival is under way, offering 10 days of theatre, dance, music, comedy, cabaret and visual arts.

Despite the challenges of the Omicron outbreak, many performers will be stepping up to strut their stuff on stage in the festival, which runs from today to March 27, while others will be sharing online offerings.

Festival director Gareth McMillan said it was "action stations" at Fringe HQ in Princes St, as the Fringe Festival team worked to liaise with local and visiting acts ahead of their shows.

"Excitement is high around Fringe HQ — we are very happy that the festival is getting under way," he said.

McMillan said 45 in-person events would go ahead during the 10-day programme, about 75% of those originally planned.

"We are really pleased with the mix of events, including a strong contingent of visual arts events," he said.

Dunedin Fringe Festival director Gareth McMillan. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Dunedin Fringe Festival director Gareth McMillan. PHOTO: ODT FILES

While there were a number of cancellations, other events were able to move online, boosting the festival’s online offerings, MacMillan said.

"Some of our larger, higher risk profile events have been unable to go ahead this time, but are looking at postponing to be part of the 2023 Fringe Festival."

The Dunedin Fringe Festival team had been in contact with many artists who were delighted the festival was going ahead, as they had lost other opportunities, he said.

"We wanted to be here to support the artists in any way that we can," he said.

With that in mind, cancelled events remain visible on the festival’s online programme and, if people click on the shows, they can make a donation to help support the artists.

People who may not feel confident to go out to a show themselves can also support the artists by buying a ticket for someone else.

Overall, festival ticket sales were going well, all thing considered, MacMillan said.

"With the smaller audience capacity under Covid-19 rules, some shows are selling out.

"We do encourage people to get out there and support our local creative community and visual artists by buying tickets."

In order to help make the Fringe Festival accessible to all, there are also about 20 shows in the programme that are free/koha entry.

These include visual art exhibitions "Adam and Adam, Eve and Eve", plus "Cargo Bike Art Space" and" Pink"; theatre pieces Rough Night and Resilience — A Lockdown Theatre Response — The Film; poetry from Angelina Stanton — Spontaneous Poetry; and online dance performance Inherent Awkwardness and more.

The full Dunedin Fringe Festival programme can be found at www.dunedinfringe.nz.

This week, the Otago Community Trust announced its February grants round, which included $83,000 for the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust.

The funds are an annual grant from the trust and help to support several trust projects, including the Dunedin Fringe Festival, Amped Music Project and the New Zealand Young Writers Festival.

 

 

BRENDA.HARWOOD@thestar.co.nz

 

 

 

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