The Sydney Fringe Festival has announced its 2016 program, and this year its thematic sprawl is matched only by its geographical reach. With Festival Director Kerri Glasscock placing emphasis on the importance of discovering "new places, sounds, people and genres", this year's Fringe comprises over 300 ticketed events and commandeers close to 50 venues over 11 suburbs throughout the city.
Darlinghurst will be one of the first suburbs to find itself under creative governance. To celebrate the opening of the festival, Fringe will take over Stanley Street for an epic street party on Saturday, September 3. Fringe Ignite will see shops, bars and cafes on the strip transformed into pop-up live music and performance venues, all of which will be curated by Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer Barney McAll. It's also followed by a drag disco at Oxford Street's Midnight Shift from 9pm.
And that's just the start of it. This year, the festival will run from 1-30 September with a series of coordinated artistic invasions taking place throughout the month. Performances hit all points of the compass, from Melita Rowson's Giant Worm Show to the 17-piece Sirens Big Band. Rose Callaghan's Attention Deficit…Ooh a Pony! is just one plank in a raft of comedy acts, whiledance and visual arts are strongly represented by Melbourne City Ballet and Polixeni Papapetrou, respectively. The Yoganauts — four heroes who introduce kids to the superpower of yoga, naturally — will be returning to ensure younger audiences lose their minds too.
On the Thursday, August 11, musician and Festival ambassador Elana Stone will spearhead the carving out of a new artistic precinct along Parramatta Road. Aptly named Off Broadway, an army of local independent artists will descend to reinvigorate a part of the city that is often mistaken for the Soviet Union. Close by, the beautiful new Camperdown Commons urban farm site will also become a vassal state to the arts with a range of events, and Camperdown Park will host a vintage cricket picnic.
The festival isn't going out with anything other than a bang either. The closing weekend will see last year's sold out Silent Dinner Party — where diners eat a three-course meal in total silence — will make a return, and, for the first time ever, Fringe will host a mini music festival at Glebe's waterfront Bicentennial Park.
The call is to party, but make no mistake – this is annexation by art. Batten down the hatches or pledge your allegiance to culture in the streets this September.