2020, the year of the impossible

In 2020, we pulled off the art of the impossible – and you can read all about it now in our 2020 annual report.

“Melbourne Fringe, defiantly and joyously present despite everything, was one flicker of resilience in the darkness of the pandemic.” — The Saturday Paper, 2020.

In the year of the impossible we created endless opportunities for audiences and artists to connect: we delivered two festivals, dreamt up a custom-built digital platform, and transformed our venue into a live broadcast studio. We supported over 2,300 independent artists to realise their creative potential, putting over $800,000 in their pockets. We presented 345 events across eleven genres (and everything in between) and pushed the boundaries of digital art.

Time and time again, the artists of Melbourne Fringe gave us hope, meaning and purpose and together we discovered the unexpected – about our ourselves, our community and our city.

“It’s as if these artists are saying: no matter how hard artmaking becomes, it’s necessary, it’s vital and we won’t be cowed by disaster, disease or institutional indifference.” — Witness Performance, 2020.

We took live music to nursing homes just out of lockdown, put on Multiply – a truly phenomenal mass-participatory dance work featuring hundreds of Melburnians – and rang a giant bell to signal the return of theatre the moment restrictions lifted.

“Cathartic, emotional and the perfect way to reconnect with community after months of lockdown.” — Multiply participant, Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2020.

Representation of First Nations artists and audiences doubled, and Deadly Fringe supported 12 events by First Nations artists and arts workers. Our Access and Inclusion program saw huge increases in representation of Deaf and disabled artists, audiences and staff.

2020 wasn’t the year we broke box office records. 2020 was the year we did something much more important. With the support of our artists, audiences, donors and funders we made a statement that art matters.