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Deadly Fringe

Deadly Fringe unearths and nurtures brand-new work by First Nations artists.

Now in its seventh year, Deadly Fringe continues to add to the creation of an exceptional body of works by First Nations artists that have reached thousands of audiences, toured the country and won multiple Melbourne Fringe and Green Room awards. It embeds First Nations storytelling in Melbourne Fringe – and in the broader independent arts industry.

Deadly Fringe centres First Nations voices and perspectives, offering financial backing to artists so they can undertake ambitious new projects that elevate their voices and platforms. We support them to grow and develop their practice and connections through mentorships, First Nations Yarning Circles, discount tickets for mob and the guidance of two Deadly Fringe Coordinators. Alongside producing works for the Festival, these dedicated roles facilitate community outreach and engagement, and help create safe, indigenous-only spaces for community to come together, and are mentored by First Nations leaders in the industry.

Deadly Fringe History

Since 2017, Deadly Fringe has been hard at work amplifying the stories of First Nations artists and arts workers. It has evolved from a commissioning program into a nationally significant supporter of the creation of new performance, design and visual art.

In its first year Deadly Fringe supported and mentored two emerging First Nations artists in the creation of new works – Joel Bray’s award-winning biladurang and Kate ten Buuren’s dis place – alongside two emerging producers, Kalinda Palmer and Levi Weston.

In 2018, we partnered with ILBIJERRI Theatre Company to mentor two emerging producers, Caleena Sansbury and Laila Thaker, who guided the presentation of three Deadly Fringe projects: Declan Furber Gillick’s nationally recognised Bighouse Dreaming, Sandy Greenwood’s masterclass in performance Matriarch, and Sermsah Bin Saad’s Liyan.

Deadly Fringe expanded in 2019 and partnered with the Koorie Heritage Trust to support three emerging visual artists, presenting Current by Piera Van Sparkes, Kalkadoon by Arkie Barton and Edwards Gammin Cafe by Gammin Threads’ Tahnee Edwards and her dad, Uncle (Choco) Talgium Edwards, all supported by emerging producers Kalyani Mumtaz and Savanna Kruger.

In 2020 producer Tuuli Narkle supported the production of two new Deadly Fringe visual art commissions in her newly-created role as Deadly Fringe Program Coordinator. Us by Rosie Kalina and Healing through Buliana (Pregnancy) by Madison Connors were presented on our Digital Fringe platform, and amidst the onset of the pandemic Deadly Fringe directed more than $35,000 in financial support to First Nations artists and arts workers.

2021 saw Deadly Fringe keep growing under the guidance of two Deadly Fringe Program Coordinators, Kimberly Lovegrove and Digby Mercer, working under the mentorship of Laila Thaker, Eugenia Flynn and Wesley Enoch. In total six 2021 Deadly Fringe projects were presented through 2021 and 2022, including the exhibition BLAK JEWELLERY FINDING PAST, LINKING PRESENT; Bridge by Ngioka Bunda-Heath with Theodore Cassady, Gabriela Green Olea and Josh Twee; Of the Land On Which We Meet by Harley Mann;WARRIORS R OUSSS!!!!  by Racheal Oak Butler and Kamarra Bell-Wykes, Minyerra by Neil Morris, and our Design Fringe Commission: birli nganmantha (eating together) by Nicole Monks.

In 2022, all our Deadly Fringe artists were supported to grow and develop their practice, including through mentorships for three of our commissioned artists, as well as with registration microgrants, Elder Engagement, First Nations Yarning Circles, discount tickets for Mob and the guidance of our Deadly Fringe Coordinator, Peta Duncan. We built on the program’s nationally recognised body of work by commissioning and funding the presentation of 10 new extraordinary First Nations-led projects, from both emerging and established artists, across a range of artforms including new writing, fashion, comedy, visual arts, theatre and an immersive participatory event. 2022 Deadly Fringe Commissions included A Rainbow of Tomorrows by Stone Motherless Cold; Drag Supper Club by Timothy Jackson; Future/History Runway by Mob in Fashion; Janet’s Vagrant Love by Elaine Crombie; Kungari Comedy by Kimmie Lovegrove; Layers of Blak (public programs) by Koorie Heritage Trust; Manta Milmilpa (Sacred Ground) by Robert Champion; Run a Muck by Ridley Livesey; The Whisper by Brodie Murray and Yalinguth Live produced by Jason Tamiru.

Deadly Fringe is supported by Craig Semple.

Deadly Fringe Partners