Melbourne Fringe provides a platform for those on the margins of our society. Drawing people in from the fringes and inviting them to the floor to do just about everything imaginable (and sometimes unimaginable).
We are are committed to ensuring that people from all backgrounds and abilities can participate in our Festival and our year-round venue, Fringe Common Rooms, as artists and as audiences. Our Access and Inclusion Program, delivered in partnership with Arts Access Victoria (seriously these guys are the best), aims to reduce barriers to participation across all areas of Melbourne Fringe and help make our programs as accessible as possible.
(Not too many, promise!) Approximately 20% of the Australian population identify as experiencing disability, yet people with disability make up only 8% of artists and earn 25% less from their practice. There are significant barriers to participation in the arts for many in the disability community, particularly emerging artists – our key demographic, our peeps, our raison d’etre. It also signals an absence of unique voices, perspectives and art-making styles from the collective body of work of Australian artists.
In 2020 we joined forces with Darebin Arts to present Your Space – an inclusive mentorship for emerging producers and self-presenting artists that provides space to develop, space to play and support to present. The program looks to support artists who are Deaf or disabled, breaking down barriers that prevent artists from participating in Melbourne Fringe through personalised mentorships, professional capacity building and creative development.
Our venue, Fringe Common Rooms at Trades Hall, is fully wheelchair accessible with DDA compliant and gender-neutral bathrooms and lift access inside, plus a hearing loop. Our online event listings are tagged with access icons so you can search and filter for all access information to find the events and information that meet your requirements. You can find detailed Common Rooms access information, including a key of all access icons, here.
The Melbourne Fringe Festival is Open Access – meaning all applications are accepted and anyone with something to say can put on a show. we don’t assess or control the Open Access Program and there is no quality judgement on work accepted into it. Participation in Melbourne Fringe’s programs is guided by two key principles: Freedom of Expression and Ensuring Community Safety. You can review our Community Guidelines here.
The irrepressible Carly Findlay, our Access and Inclusion Coordinator, works tirelessly to help our artists and venues maximise their accessibility to make sure anyone can get involved. We’re doing lots of things behind the scenes to reduce barriers to access. Got ideas for us? Got questions? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org (or using whichever method works best for you).
This program is supported by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and Gandel Philanthropy. If you would like to add your support to this program, please contact Miranda Borman on (03) 9660 9600 or email email@example.com.