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Melbourne Fringe Festival Returns Next Month for a Huge 40th Anniversary Edition

Riffing on the theme 'It’s About Time', this year's instalment features over 450 events, dishing up cabaret, circus, drag, visual art, music and loads of other creative delights.
By Libby Curran
September 05, 2022
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By Libby Curran
September 05, 2022
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It's been three long years since Melbourne Fringe Festival hosted its last IRL instalment — and you can bet it's not holding back one scrap when it comes to its glorious return next month. In fact, from Thursday, October 6–Sunday, October 23, Fringe is celebrating its 40th anniversary with what's set to be its heftiest program yet.

The independent arts festival will this year dish up over 450 events from talent both established and emerging, covering dazzling performances, participatory art, groundbreaking theatre, immersive creative experiences and everything in between. All speaking to the theme: 'It's About Time'.

Fringe even has some brand new goodies up its sleeve this time around, including Runaway Festival Park — a new festival hub and pop-up art park at Queen Victoria Market with a program of comedy, cabaret, circus and drag performances headlined by Bernie Dieter's Club Kabarett.

Fringe-goers can also look forward to the return of an old favourite, as the Fringe Parade and Lygon Street Block Party descends on Carlton for a big, bold, inclusive shindig. Riffing on a long-running event that helped shape the festival's early years, the party will feature a colourful street parade, two outdoor stages, roving performers, and stacks of local eats and drinks.

And popping up at the State Library Victoria is The Rest Is Up to You: Melbourne Fringe 1982-2062 — a major new, free exhibition and sound installation reflecting on Fringe's first 40 years, while also imagining its next 40.

The rest of the program is packed with creative delights for all tastes; from a mesmerising contemporary dance installation in Docklands called Pendulum, to an all-night Meatloaf-themed communal karaoke session.

Speaking to the impacts of climate change, Matthias Schack-Arnott's Groundswell takes the form of a giant percussive rain drum that passersby can 'play' by walking upon its surface. Meanwhile, Prahran Square plays host to a unique live music event, which sees unedited words from three local contemporary writers presented in four-part harmony by a mass choir.

YUMMY Deluxe, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2019, by Theresa Harrison

The return of the festival's First Nations program Deadly Fringe features everything from a group exhibition exploring Blak queer futurism, to an immersive event fusing music and talks that'll take you on a deep-dive into Fitzroy's Indigenous history.

Fringe Focus Taiwan is set to present two envelope-pushing works from Taiwan's most innovative contemporary artists; while the long-running Fringe Furniture program is reborn as Design Fringe, featuring a month-long exhibition, talks and a 'designer in residence' program.

Food-meets-art creatives Long Prawn will host a live yabby fishing — and eating — experience; free participatory public artwork Hexadeca will bring an installation of spinning musical bucket seats to Fed Square; and you can join in a four-hour line dance marathon at Coburg RSL.

And of course, gracing stages throughout the festival will be a mega lineup of acts doing what they do best, including Geraldine Quinn, YUMMY, Jude Perl, Kween Kong (Drag Race Down Under), The Chaser's Andrew Hansen, Jordan Barr, Lou Wall and Sarah Ward.

'Multiply', Melbourne Fringe 2020, credit Gregory Lorenzutti

2022 Melbourne Fringe Festival runs from October 6–23 at venues across the city. For the full program and to book tickets, see the website.

Top Image: Duncan Jacobs.

Published on September 05, 2022 by Libby Curran
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