Gasworks Arts Park is gearing up to be Melbourne Fringe’s creative cauldron

Gasworks Arts Park is gearing up to be Melbourne Fringe’s creative cauldron

Words by Annie-Mei Forster

Beloved arts park Gasworks is your southside hotspot for everything Melbourne Fringe this September.

The precinct’s rich and vibrant history began back in 1873 when the South Melbourne Gasworks was built on the site, providing more jobs than anywhere else in the district.

What used to be a site for producing domestic heating and fuel for cooking is now the southside hub for artists, performers and actors providing food for the senses. Gasworks hosts over 500 events a year for Melbourne arts festivals including the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Fringe, Midsumma and Melbourne Cabaret festivals.

Rolling in for this year’s Fringe is Brett Ashby’s dynamic live painting performance Energy. In Energy, the mixed multimedia artist takes his painting studio to the theatre, with four prominent Australians as his subjects. Ashby will paint his subjects on canvas while he rides a skateboard on ramps to produce a sonic and visual representation of the subjects’ consciousness.

Subjects include music icons Lisa Edwards, Mick Harvey (The Bad Seeds), Cash Savage and Sarah McLeod (The Superjesus), who will be interviewed on-stage while they have their portrait painted. It’s a unique exchange between artist, audience and subject with live action painting as you’ve never seen it before. Ashby grew up in Melbourne and now works between his hometown and London. Check it all out between Thursday September 12 and Saturday September 14.

Another show you should check out is Do You Even Gestate, Bro? which is not for the faint-hearted. If you’ve ever wanted to watch someone conceive on a trapeze then this is your chance as the Elemental Performance Troupe take you on a voyeuristic story of babyhood.

There’s sure to be plenty of laughs and some crying involved during this aerial circus performance which will leave you contemplating the capability of the human body. The show will be performed between Thursday September 19 and Saturday September 21.

Then there’s The Circus Firemen where a comedic duo bring their highly skilled and hilarious performance to Gasworks later this month as part Fringe. Both performers graduated from the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne (yes, there is a real circus school) and have been performing around the globe for more than a decade to rave reviews.

They’ve performed for the Crown Princess of Brunei and in 2011 they became Vegemite ambassadors as they set world records for their circus skills, including longest two-person cartwheel and longest distance walked on a ladder. This is a show that’s sure to please people of any age, so check them out at Gasworks between Tuesday September 24 and Thursday September 26.

Outside of the aforementioned events, Gasworks will also host Truth Bomb!!!, a collection of short performance pieces and a music video linked by a single prop. This is one person’s perspective on the world and how they travel through it. There’s also Super Circus Squad, a superhero origin story about two brand new circus superheroes. In this highly interactive journey, witness high-energy acrobatics, aerial stunts, slapstick comedy and a whole lot of power posing.

These are just a few of the events going down at Fringe’s southside hub – other titles include parody musical Sex and the Musical, kids production Kid-aoke, experimental piece A Quintet For One Human and bouncy comedy Comic Psychic – HorrorScope.

It’s no surprise a venue that has been awarded Fringe’s ‘Best Venue’ in the past has prepared such a blockbuster program for this year’s instalment. Get down and check it out, it will be well worth your time.

Gasworks Arts Park comes to life when Melbourne Fringe goes down from Thursday September 12 to Sunday September 29. Tickets to all shows available via the Gasworks website.