Born in 2009, the Auckland Fringe Festival is an open access performing and visual arts festival. The annual three-week stint enables creative minds from around the country to present their work in an artistic environment where anything goes; as well as giving locals access to an intensified period of weird and wonderful arty experiences.
This year's Fringe officially kicks off on February 9 and will run until March 1 with an eclectic range of events taking over every nook and cranny across the city. Think: theatres, streets, parks, plazas, churches, halls, kitchens, lofts, basements, vaults, galleries, rooftops and silos.
Attendees can expect everything from: an interactive pavement whale stranding, a bachelesbian sex education lesson, a guided tour around 1980s Ponsonby, among plenty of other things. See the full schedule here.
The latest work from acclaimed writer Victor Roger (Black Faggot, At The Wake) follows the true story of Shalimar Seiuli, a Samoan fa’afafine prostitute who was picked up by comedian Eddie Murphy on Santa Monica Boulevard in 1997. After a media storm and a quick rise to fame, Seiuli was found dead one year later. The Girl on a Corner follows Shalimar as she tells her story and offer some variations on what may or may not have happened.
For the latest work from playwrights Tessa Mitchell, Stephen Bain and Dave Fane, audience members will be transported (by a free bus) back to Ponsonby in the year 1983. Wearing wireless headphones, the audience will be led by performers who weave true stories and real time drama of the neighbourhood before house prices shot through the roof and fashionable bars were on every corner. All set to a pulsing ‘80s soundtrack. Seats are limited.
Now 18, Suri Cruise and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, the offspring of Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes and Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie are set to reveal how challenging it really is to grow up under the spotlight. Together alongside a host of characters, Suri and Shiloh set out to warn New Zealanders of the dangerous path we tread towards losing our privacy, our grasp on reality and our Chanel VIP customer card. The fast-paced show, written and performed by comedic duo Phoebe Borwick and Susannah Smith-Roy, made its debut to rave reviews at Wellington and Christchurch Fringe Festivals.
With their new work, the alumni of the youth poetry slam collective Rising Voices, are aiming to challenge the perception of street poetry. Drawing from their diverse backgrounds, the performers will fuse their words with dance, theatre, music, movement, props and video over three nights. There are no judges or rules. The crew will also present a special line-up for Pride Festival on February 13.
Kyle is happy with his life as a male escort until the day he is hired by a closeted premiership football player and falls in love. Based around the stigma of homosexuality in sport, the one man show follows the relationship in a country where not one of the 5000 professional players are out. Also appearing as part of the Pride Festival, the show comes to Auckland direct from the UK where it played out to sell-out audiences and picked up awards like the Equity Vicky Allan Memorial Award for Best Show and Best Actor.
It’s not what you think, and if it was, then tickets probably would have sold out ages ago. The one woman show has been described as “The sex ed lesson you never knew you needed,” and features the city's most eligible bachelesbian and maybe some off-colour comparisons between tane mahuta and dildos. It was written and is performed by Auckland comedian, and the person more than likely responsible for the term 'bachelesbian’, Freya Desmarais. Directed by Brendon Green.
The performing debut of Sam Brooks (Queen, Wine Lips), a stutterer and award-winning playwright. As well as taking his talents from paper to the stage, the one-man show will see Brooks turns his focus inwards, detailing his screw-ups with men and his approach to his own stutter with characteristic rawness, self-depreciating wit, and a whole lot of lip synching.
Wellington experimental performance group Binge Culture Collective will bring their 2013 Best in Fringe piece, Whales, back to life. The interactive theatrical event sees a pod of whales strand themselves in Aotea Square, and they need your help. People of all ages can save these majestic creatures from an untimely end, but you’ll need to work fast. Drop everything, grab a bucket and save the whales.
The real-life gaming experience will see you take to the streets of the Auckland CBD on a mission to find a girl named Cara. Beginning on the roof of Aotea Centre, the Amazing Race-style game will give clues and encounters along the way. Prizes up for grabs include a tablet and a wireless printer. Spaces are limited.
Square Soapbox is a free performance space in Aotea Square for all fringe artists to showcase their work and for passersby to get an indication of what’s happening over the jam-packed three-weeks. This year's previews include: a performance from Auckland big band Sal Valentine and The Babyshakes, a theatrical demonstration from the Binge Culture Collective, the show Bright Futures, and improv from Snort featuring comedians Rose Matefeo and Guy Montgomery.
When: February 11 - 14
Where: Aotea Square
How much: Free
Photo credit: I Wanna Be Na Nah Na Nah Nah (stuff.co.nz)