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Well, looks like packed rooms and sweaty dancefloors are not on the cards for Fringe this year. While the latest Victorian COVID news may not have been what we wanted, it has given us certainty on what we can expect for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2021. We launched a big and brilliant festival knowing that there was always going to be lots of changes to the program in the current circumstances. But we launched with hope and optimism anyway (as you’d expect from Melbourne Fringe) and even though it appears that in-venue events will not go ahead this year, rest assured we are not cancelling – we still have so much exciting programming to share with you in any stage of lockdown.
Nearly 50 digital, outdoor and socially-distant events are on our website now, and this number is sure to grow. Keep an eye on our website as we continue to add new shows, list rescheduled events and provide updates. Some highlights still proceeding at this stage are our stunning documentary and dance film Multiply, audio tours around neighbourhoods, home-delivered virtual reality, a host of brilliant performances on Digital Fringe, and even an opportunity to step outside and view the world from the perspective of a tree. We’re still Fringey, after all.
Our hearts are with the artists working on the hundreds of in-person and in-gallery shows that will be unable to proceed this year. They’ve been working all year on incredible Fringe art and it’s devastating that for many, their shows won’t go on. Supporting artists is our priority, and we’re doing everything we can. We are refunding all registration and advertising costs, plus we’re asking ticket buyers to gift the price of their ticket back to artists (or else they can have a refund too, if they prefer). We want to get more cash into artists hands (trust us, they need it). You can donate to our Artists and Sustainability Funds if you want to help out too.
We’re here to assist artists in whatever they decide is best for their show at this year’s Festival and we’re already welcoming a bunch of events that are being adapted for digital viewing (to be announced soon), as well as looking at new dates for some in-person events down the track a bit (we’ll let you know if, when and where). Changes to events and new events can take some time, so bear with us as we work through it all. We promise we won’t let anyone miss any updates about shows that have changed or exciting new shows on the program.
If you’ve bought tickets to a show that is cancelled, or you’re not sure if it’s going ahead, hold tight. We are working through all cancellations and show changes and will be in touch with all affected ticket holders very soon.
Our artists are resilient and brilliant, and as expected we’re going to be responsive and well as responsible. So as things change, and in the event we can proceed with in-person events safely, we will do everything we can to bring them to life. After an impossible year in 2020 we’re pretty good at finding a way to make things happen and we are up for it again. We’re going to continue to be here for artists and audiences no matter what. And one thing is for sure – you can’t keep a good Fringe down.
So we might be asking you to don your own sequins at home to get into the Fringe spirit, but despite the ever-changing situation, we’re promising to deliver a Festival with as much fabulous art as we possibly can. We’re operating under a new unofficial mantra: “It Is What It Is”.
We look forward to sharing some amazing independent art with you (from a safe distance) from 30 September – 17 October. Did we mention the Festival is not cancelled?!
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