Perth gets first look at Fringe World 2022
It would be understandable if Artrage chief executive Sharon Burgess was at least a little apprehensive about WA’s COVID-19 future, as she and her team start to rollout Fringe World 2022 today with the early release program.
However, she is approaching the massive summer arts event, from January 14 to February 13, with nothing but optimism and greater preparedness for the potential pitfalls like Fringe World was dealt earlier this year when Perth went into a snap lockdown.
“We’re all a little bit more versed in how to navigate this,” Burgess said.
“We understand what we need to do for our event planning to keep everyone safe. We’re approaching how we deal with any changes in a much more informed manner because we’re doing it for the second time.”
While restrictions on venue capacity limits are on her radar, flagged as a possibility by Premier Mark McGowan when WA reopens its borders, Burgess said the Fringe team could only work on the information they had at the moment, which was yet to include any direction from the State Government on potential capacity limits.
She said Fringe World’s COVID-19 vaccination stance mirrored that for the general population.
“We will watch and wait and hopefully any changes will continue to ensure the well-being of everyone in the State, and allow for people to continue to enjoy live performance,” she said.
“But we continue to encourage people to please get vaccinated; the sooner, the better.
“We are proceeding with confidence, as our audiences are proceeding with confidence.”
This confidence has already seen an uptake on Fringe World Friends subscriptions at a rate of 50 per cent more than it was at this time last year, as 204 shows in the early release go on sale today for Friends, and on sale to the general public on October 27.
The full program will be available from November 10.
Burgess said the early release presented Fringe goers with a taste of what is to come, while also giving unannounced performers more time to prepare their shows, thanks to the greater flexibility provided by the Fringe World app instead of a printed brochure.
“It gives people a feeling of what’s going to be out there, but also, because it’s an early release, you know there’s more coming so you can pace yourself,” she said.
Fringe World 2022 will unsurprisingly remain predominantly WA-based artists, with only interstate shows that can currently enter WA going on sale.
The Girls School in East Perth and The Pleasure Garden at Russell Square in Northbridge, which gets a new second main entrance off Aberdeen Street, will remain as the two main Fringe World hubs.
Highlights at the Girls School include Japanese drumming experience Onsen and ultimate variety show DIVAS: The Drag Revue Fierce and Fabulous while The Pleasure Garden will welcome back Briefs with their show Bite Club, along with YUCK Circus’s Deadset, The Dumtectives in Cirque Noir, A Bee Story and Don’t Mess With The Dummies.
The program of independent venues is set to cover 14 suburbs outside of the CBD and Northbridge area, stretching from Scarborough to Kalamunda and Wanneroo to Canning Vale.
“Perth can look forward to the same creative, vibrant and fun festival that they’ve always enjoyed,” Burgess said.
“Seeing the joy in audiences makes you feel a part of something so life affirming, particularly when you see children glow in the shiny, twinkling lights of the festival. There’s nothing better than watching a mermaid and a child with the magic in their eyes.
“This is the point of the year where the butterflies start to become very real.”
Fringe World 2022 is on January 14 to February 13, with the early release program at fringeworld.com.au or download the Fringe World app.
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