12/02/2021 - 14:00

Fringe to return for two-week encore

12/02/2021 - 14:00

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Fringe World Festival was due to wrap up on Sunday, but organisers have launched an encore season after losing five days of programming due to Perth’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Fringe to return for two-week encore
The encore will run for two weeks from Monday February 15 until February 28. Photo: Rachael Barrett

Fringe World Festival was due to wrap up on Sunday, but organisers have launched an encore season after losing five days of programming due to Perth’s COVID-19 lockdown.

The encore will run for two weeks from Monday February 15 until February 28.

Festival-goers will be able to see shows including the musical The Karaoke Club at the Rosemount, The Comedy Stylings of Pete Rowsthorn and Frankie at The Royal Hotel in the city, and musical comedian Matt Storer’s show Hot Nonsense at The Rechabite.

Girls School in East Perth will continue to host performances, as well as smaller venues including Perth Town Hall, Universal Hall and Air Nightclub.  

“If you haven’t seen enough Fringe this year, or even if you have, the Fringe Encore is a great excuse to get out with mates and enjoy live theatre and performance,” Fringe World Festival director Amber Hasler said.

Five days of the festival was cancelled when the Perth, Peel and South West regions of Western Australia entered a snap lockdown in early February, significantly affecting artists who were due to perform.

Artrage chief executive Sharon Burgess said the encore season would provide much-needed performance opportunities for shows that were forced to cancel due to the lockdown, and offer audiences more time to enjoy the festival.

“Fringe World is a spectacular and much-loved highlight of our community’s annual calendar, and while we experienced some difficulties this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are proud of what we have achieved,” Ms Burgess said.

“There have been thousands less audiences who were able to enjoy the festival this year due to the week’s lockdown and subsequent reduced capacities.

“The Fringe Encore will give them a second chance to Fringe and for our artists who’ve experienced financial difficulties it will be vital income.”

Fringe World said it was processing more than 75,000 ticket cancellations due to the lockdown and reduced capacities in venues, which would have a significant financial impact on artists.

“We are in close contact with the state government to explore ways that they can support our artists and Artrage, so that Fringe World can continue to be an event that delivers back significantly to our community,” Ms Burgess said.

The Fringe Fund, organised by Artrage, has raised more than $80,000 for artists impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions.

Fringe World said the fund had received significant donations from the Ungar Family Foundation, Woodside, which was matching employee donations, and Gage Roads Brewing Co, which contributed money through sales of its Hello Sunshine cider.

Fringe World usually hosts the Fringe World Awards at the end of the festival but has decided not to present the awards this year and instead donate the money to the Fringe Fund.

The 2021 festival featured 2,400 artists in more than 500 events at about 100 venues and employed about 450 staff members.

Last week, Perth Festival, which was supposed to begin on February 5, announced its shows would be postponed until February 15, when pre-lockdown restrictions would be enforced in WA.

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