Happy New Year Fringe Fans!
We’ve been a tad quiet due to the holidays & watching covid unfold. This pandemic affects us all, but in terms of organising a festival, it’s the unknowns that make it difficult. We don’t know what restrictions will be in place and we can only hope that we’ll be well past the peak of infections by the time the festival is due to begin on 17 March.
Changes Due to Covid:
We’ve had a few artists pull out due to travel difficulties, illness and the like, but the majority (50 artist groups at last count) are super keen to get back on stage and deliver some long overdue entertainment to a covid-weary community. Newcastle Fringe is committed to delivering on our mission of supporting artists & the industry. This is more critical now than ever before, so we’ll be resisting any attempts at cancellation. The show must go on if we are to provide employment for artists, tech staff and venues.
It may be that our audience numbers will be down as some people won’t be keen to venture out or it could just as easily be a sell-out because people are so keen to get back to ‘normal’ and our capacities will be reduced to allow for social distancing. Whatever happens, we’ll be implementing every possible covid safety protocol to keep everyone as safe as we can. We’ve got board members who have worked on major covid safe events, so we’ve got the expertise on hand to ensure we do it right.
With all the unknowns, there may well be a few tweaks and changes to the way we do things. It is likely that our printed program will change in layout in order to save on printing costs, we’ve already expanded the festival across two weekends to spread out the ‘love’ and we’ll be having another go at streaming in some capacity so that those who don’t want to venture out, don’t miss all the fun.
At last count we’ve got 137 performances across 10 venues over 8 days with 50 artist groups. These figures could change but it’s a solid line-up. There are several artists that have toured extensively in their careers and have international profiles. Highlights include country music artists Catherine Britt and Henry Wagons, British artist Li Laurent, world touring comedian and poet, Marty Bright, Triple Treat Comedy with Peter Berner, Tommy Dean and Darren Sanders, a world-renowned basketball freestyler in Basketball Man Can Fly, neo-soul, R&B, electronica and trip-hop artist WCB: Sigil and the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir.
There are a number of cabaret, burlesque and circus style acts, such as local artist and producer Hannah Indigo’s OMGWTF (last year’s Best Newcastle Show) and Wildside, her latest. Serious theatre goers will enjoy Steve Wilson, winner of Best Premier Show last year with his new Don’t Touch Me – A Tale of Cats & Hugs. Comedy is king at fringe with several award nominated shows including Brit Robyn Reynolds in Mermaid (nominated for Best Comedy at Sydney Fringe in 2019) and Nothing Serious with Maddie Southall and Laura Coleman (2020 Raw Comedy State Finalist). Other comedy offerings include local Eddy Rockefeller who was a sell out last year, the hilariously titled Teardrops on my Dildo with Vanessa ‘Larry’ Mitchell and Tinder Cindy – a roller skating comedy of crisis.
The Festival Experience:
The festival experience is affordable, quirky, unique, unusual and most of all, fun! The best way to enjoy it is to study the program and identify the shows you’d like to see, you can even search by genre, check the schedule to plan what you can see when and where (there’s a handy day by day schedule on the website) and get into the spirit of the event by purchasing tickets to multiple shows – ticket prices are deliberately kept low. Half the fun is lurching from venue to venue, rushing around trying to see as much as you can.
Don’t miss out on your tickets to Newcastle’s own Fringe Festival – the biggest little fringe in Australia – 17 -27 March 2022.