The Fringe Festival has grown so big it's moving into some unusual spaces
With 408 programmed events, the Melbourne Fringe Festival is now so huge, you’ll have to really plan your attack.
"That's our theme this year," says creative director Jayne Lovelock. "We're inviting people to be a part of something big."
The festival's keynote project is called Uncommon Places, a series of ten commissioned works in unusual venues around Melbourne.
"The idea is to tell the stories of the place and of the people," says Lovelock, "inviting artists and audiences to explore new social spaces."
For instance, filmmaker and human rights activist Emily Dalkin will be investigating the Melbourne Baths, tracing the social history of the site back into the pre-colonial era when it was an important local waterhole. Other sites include the Federation Square super tram stop, the Swanston Street fast-food strip, Pellegrini's on Bourke Street, the State Library and the lawn bowls club in the Flagstaff Gardens.
You can expect to find work by theatre makers, visual artists, creative writers, lighting designers and multi-media artists.
"Uncommon Places is a celebration of ordinary experiences," says Aneke McCulloch, the program curator. "We're asking each of the ten artists to create a work by talking to people who ordinarily use the space."
The project highlights the importance of these informal community spaces, these zones between home and work, in the creative life of the city. "These are places where ideas are born," explains McCulloch, "where discussions about art or business or politics begin."
The festival team had no trouble finding venues around Melbourne ready to participate.
"The only people who didn't want to be a part of it were places that were about to have renovations," says McCulloch. "Everyone was really excited about inviting their usual patrons to help create something unique for space."
There will also be a festival common room in the city, a base camp from which to organise your adventures in the unusual.
Meanwhile, the main festival hub will again be the North Melbourne Town Hall, which will host more than 60 events, while other performing arts venues around Melbourne include Theatre Works in St Kilda, the new Circus Oz base in Collingwood, Tuxedo Cat, a big programme at Gasworks in Port Melbourne, the Victorian College of the Arts, La Mama, the Owl and the Pussy Cat, Newport's Substation and Revolt in Kensington.