Get out an about for Sydney's annual festival of indie performance
The Fringe turns six this year – and their first birthday present is $24,800 from the City of Sydney, for a pilot program that will transform five vacant shopfronts and existing retail spaces into temporary theatre venues, for the duration of the festival. The initiative is part of the City of Sydney's Creative City Cultural Policy and Action Plan, and inspired by Edinburgh Fringe's low-cost temporary venue licenses.
Festival director Kerri Glassock (who seems to have had a finger in all kinds of arts pies for the last couple of decades, from Jazzgroove to Old 505, and treading the boards herself) says: "This pilot project will enable us to explore out-of-the box spaces to house artists, offer a wider choice of cultural experiences to audiences and engage with the local community."
Five Fringe experiences to try
1. Festival Village
Sydney Fringe is making Erskineville its home this year, with pop-up performances along the main drag, comedy at the Hive Bar, emerging artists at PACT, and dance at the Anglican church. Erskineville Town Hall is the centre of the Festival Village, the site of a 1920s-style Speakeasy Lounge (hosting performances and live music inspired by the era) and the Festival Bar, serving up Coopers. There will also be theatre shows most nights, and Late Night Library events on Sep 8, 15 & 22.
2. Comedy at Giant Dwarf
Fringe Comedy is actually happening at a few different venues, but if you haven’t been to Sydney’s new hub for alt-comedy, then you should check out their fringe offerings, which include the 25th Annual Spelling Bee, special editions of GD regulars Comedyish, Erotic Fan Fiction and First Tuesday Comedy Club, and solo shows by Anne Edmonds, Eddie Sharp, Laura Davis and more. giantdwarf.com.au.
It’s not just amateur theatre at the Fringe – you also get first runs of shows by talented SUDS and NIDA grads, and inter-state shows that have already done the Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth Fringe festivals. This year's highlights include Bruce, by Perth-based Weeping Spoon Productions (The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik; It’s Dark Outside); Moondance, a new dance-theatre work by De Quincey Co; and Katie Shearer’s performance of young British writer Charlotte Josephine’s acclaimed one-woman play Bitch Boxer. If you like your theatre interactive, grab a ticket to performance artist Honi Ryan’s intriguing two-hour social-experiment-meets-supper, Silent Dinner Party (Sep 26, Marrickville Town Hall).
4. Redfern Groove
Sydney Fringe and Redfern Community Centre are teaming up for this mini-fest of Indigenous music, art-making, market stalls and food trucks, celebrating community and culture in the ‘hood. Redfern Community Centre, 29–53 Hugo St, Redfern 2016. 2pm-6pm. Free. Sep 12.
Kickstart your fringe with the IGNITE street party (Sep 5, Erskineville Rd) – a lineup of local music curated by former Thirsty Merc frontman Rai Thistlethwayte. Wes Carr is doing a tribute to George Harrison’s songbook (Sep 4, Venue 505); actor and singer Ursula Yovich (Love and Information) is delivering blues and soul (Sep 16, Venue 505); and Young Henry’s Small World Festival is putting PVT, DZ Deathrays, The Church, Palms and more in one line-up with inner-west food heroes Mary's, Bloodwood, Porteño, Black Betty BBQ and Cornersmith (Sep 19, Sydney Park). But given festival director Kerri Glassock’s background, the music programming will tend towards jazz, fusion and funk.