‘Joy of fringe’ size, diversity of programme

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The “joy of the fringe” is its huge and diverse programme, Dunedin Fringe Festival director Gareth McMillan says.

In his first year as festival director, after taking over from Josh Thomas last year, Mr McMillan said the festival’s 100-odd events would have a nice balance between international, high-profile New Zealand and local acts.

The Fringe Festival was a key event for artists, as it was known for celebrating fresh, original work, nurturing emerging talent and allowing an exchange of ideas.

“One thing we have really noticed is how many of the acts have a multi-disciplinary approach, offering different combinations of theatre, music, dance and visual arts,” he said.

“It’s going to be very exciting to see how those events unfold.”

Among the major highlights of the festival would be the Polson Higgs Opening Night Showcase next Wednesday, March 7, which was an ideal way for people to sample a wide cross-section of Fringe shows.

The Festival Club, which takes over the Community Gallery next door to Fringe HQ for the duration of the festival, would be hosting shows and was also the late-night hub for the event, Mr McMillan said.

“It’s fantastic for people to come along to the club after seeing shows, having a drink and discuss what you’ve seen with your friends.

“Artists also often drop in, so it can be a great place to meet them.”

The Festival Club would also host “the fringiest part of the fringe”, the Black Box performance space, he said.

This space gave artists a chance to really go wild, and had already been booked by a ukulele group, a children’s theatre group and visiting Spanish puppeteers.

He was also delighted at the extraordinary variety of venues hosting Fringe Festival events, with 34 venues, ranging from the Dunedin Town Hall to the St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool, involved.

The festival team felt “very fortunate” to have the New Athenaeum Theatre involved in the festival and hosting a large number of events.

“While many of the venues are in the centre of town, we also have venues from north to south involved, which is a great way for us to connect with the wider community,” Mr McMillan said.