Melbourne Fringe Festival reveals 2020 program including a bunch of in-person events

Melbourne Fringe Festival reveals 2020 program including a bunch of in-person events

Words by Tom Parker

Melbourne Fringe is back!

Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, the legendary Melbourne Fringe Festival is back with another weird, wonderful and ever-adventurous 2020 event.

The festival will go down from November 12 until November 29 and offer 250 shows presented across a range of mediums – whether it be outdoors, digitally, via audio, or even over the phone.

Melbourne Fringe represents the city’s most creative and ambitious artists so there was never a question that the Fringe program could come together creatively, it was just a matter of whether COVID-19 would allow it to manifest.

And it has in the most magnificent way. So without further ado, here are some of the highlights of the program:

From November 24-29, a unique event called Big Day In will see music extraordinaire Ian Pidd prepare a live band to perform in front of aged-care homes across Melbourne. It’s something that Pidd has gotten the hang of – while his parents were in an aged-care facility, they were diagnosed with COVID-19 so Pidd started performing music outside their window. This event will also be livestreamed.

GB24: The Improvised Variety News Channel will see funnymen Game Boys present a nightly news spoof comedy show, featuring sketches, character interviews, unexpected surprises and more. This one will be showing each night throughout the festival.

Then there’s Losing Touch, one of the first in-person events taking place post Melbourne lockdown. Going down at the Abbotsford Convent on November 25, Losing Touch is a performance artwork investigating touch, distance and technology created via a long-distance collaboration between composer Antonia Barnett-McIntosh and performance artist Sara Cowdell.

Another standout event is Such Is Now – Isolation Diorama Project 2020 – an installation by Australian contemporary artist, Jacqui Stockdale. In response to Melbourne’s lockdown, Stockdale started making miniature versions of her recent Ned Kelly exhibition at St Kilda’s Linden New Art. Now, via two large eyes and a Ned Kelly helmet painting on the window of the Rose Chong Costumiers shop, she will showcase the works in some sort of peep show arrangement. Taking place from November 12-29.

Creepy Boys showcases the work of two Canadian queer artists who came to Australia for Adelaide Fringe, and thanks to COVID-19 have been stuck here ever since. This show will have everything, including games, gifts, cake, and possible Satan. Showing November 17-22.

Then there’s Welcome to Bunt – a show that flips the notion of tourism upside down. In a small town of Aussie oddballs, a return to tourism post-COVID is about to present a few challenges. Presented by Sophie Joske and Elly Squire, aka Clara Cupcakes, and going down from November 24-29.

From November 14-28, Tomas Ford will be performing live electronic sets from his bath as part of Come Have A Bath With Me while PLATFORM is a techno party held within a digitally-scaled recreation of The SUBSTATION building in Newport. Across five hours and hosted inside a private Minecraft server, punters can choose their own avatars and explore brand new landscapes. This one takes place on November 20.

To cap off the program highlights is the variety gala presented by The People of Cabaret. Going down across three dates on November 10, 17 and 24, the events will showcase cabaret artists from home, interstate and across the globe. The People of Cabaret collective aims to uplift, celebrate and empower brilliant performers of colour from the worlds of cabaret, burlesque and circus.

Melbourne Fringe goes down from Thursday November 12 to Sunday November 29. Find out more via the Melbourne Fringe website.

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