Q&A with previous Bank Australia Peoples Choice Award winner – A PRUDENT MAN

How did winning the Bank Australia Peoples’ Choice Award help your art-making? Has it helped the show get out into the world?

Yes, absolutely! The award gave us the momentum and confidence to take A Prudent Man on the road in 2017, starting in January at Fringe World Perth where we sold out all 6 shows a week before we opened. The award also helped us to secure our very first festival appearances at Darwin and Brisbane this year, as well as Hawkes Bay Arts Festival in New Zealand and a return Melbourne season at Gasworks this November. The demand for the work has now resulted in a major national tour for 2019 – although we did not anticipate any of those things when the 3 of us (writer/director Katy Warner, performer Lyall Brooks and myself as producer) put the work together in 2016, this award began a chain reaction that not only allowed the work to reach more audiences, but helped our company continue growing at a time when funding and opportunities in the small to medium sector are increasingly hard to secure. In just twelve months since winning the award we have been able to secure two more new works by Australian playwrights and transitioned to a not-for-profit structure with a wonderful board and a bright future! I really do feel that all of this started at Melbourne Fringe Festival and the Bank Australia Peoples’ Choice Award.


What does Fringe mean to you?

In one word: OPPORTUNITY. To get a new work up, to learn, to fail, to network, to discover new talent, to broaden your experiences as an audience member and to be part of something bigger than yourself (and your usual circle of creatives) for 2.5 weeks. It’s the best time of the year in Melbourne!


Any hot tips for other artists about to embark on Fringe?

If you’re doing a longer run, try to fill your first 3-4 shows, not just opening night. Reviews (even online) aren’t coming out as fast as they used to, so give yourself a greater chance for early word of mouth to spread by inviting people to your show who love to TALK – your hairdresser, the guy from your local cafe, your peers at work who love to gossip and never shut up – don’t just invite the usual industry people.

And if you see another artists’ work and you loved it, be a good sport/human and let them and the world know!


What about hot tips for audiences?

Maybe try and experience genres/styles of work you don’t normally see during the rest of the year? The beauty of fringe is the sheer variety of work on offer, so don’t just leave it to the artists to take the risk all the time,  broaden your horizons and get out of your comfort zone a bit as an audience member. It’s Fringe – you’ll love it!