Nowhere does Fringe like Melbourne's inner west

Published on 10 August 2017

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View the world from a different angle this September as Melbourne Fringe ventures Westside.

The inner west is a unique and thriving cultural hub, with a dynamic and progressive culture that reflects the creativity of those living and working in the west.

After five successful years of presenting Fringe Out West as part of the Festival, this year Council is partnering with Melbourne Fringe to bring the City of Maribyrnong an artistic and cultural experience like no other.

With an extraordinary selection of performances, talks and workshops for all ages, the 2017 Fringe Westside program is set to be better than ever.

One of the program highlights is The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, the Ugliest Woman in the World, a play by Peel the Limelight, a professional English language theatre company based in Thailand.

Based on true events, the play tells the true story of an indigenous Mexican woman born in the 1830s with a disfiguring genetic condition and sold as a child to be exhibited in freak shows around the world.

But this unprecedented theatrical experience has a twist – the audience will be, and must remain, blindfolded to experience the show.

Peter O’Neill, Peel the Limelight Artistic Director, said that the experience of sitting in darkness during the performance is one way that the audience can relate to the messages about exploitation and human trafficking.

“The play takes away one sense but delights and teases the others. We get to work with people’s perceptions,” said O’Neill

“Because the play is in the dark, we take away the element for which Julia Pastrana was exhibited, and it gives her back some humanity,” O’Neill continued.

Another highlight of this year’s Fringe Westside program is the Forest Exchange Lab, which will see UK based risk-takers Forest Fringe collaborating with three local artists during an innovative residency providing a time and place to exchange ideas in the context of Melbourne’s West.

Carving out a Fringe-away-from-Fringe, the Forest Exchange Lab will be a space for critical conversation, deep experimentation and the seeding of new work.

The first week of the residency will culminate in a ‘Day of Action’, day long performance creation projects, and an ‘Afternoon Assembly’, come-one-come-all afternoon showing, in Footscray.

Deborah Pearson of Forest Fringe said that the project is an experiment in making a performance happen with other artists.

“The residency will be an experience of joining in and trying out something new together, which is just as important as the final product,” Pearson said.

“Forest Fringe has always been a place of messy, collaborative fun… a place where we are serious about what we do, without taking ourselves too seriously. The audience should expect to be a part of something fun, open and generous,” Pearson continued.  

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore our creative city during Fringe Westside, taking place from 14 September – 1 October.

For full program details, visit #myfestivalcity #melbfringe


A word from the Mayor of Maribyrnong, Cr Catherine Cumming

City of Maribyrnong is delighted to partner with Melbourne Fringe to bring you Fringe Westside – an extraordinary program of performances, talks and workshops for all ages as part of the 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Maribyrnong is home to a strong and increasingly creative community. Through our Festival City and Arts and Culture programs, Council is proud to support and foster the arts, which contribute to the cultural and civic richness of Maribyrnong. I encourage you explore our creative City through the Fringe Westside program and discover why so many artists, trailblazers and gamechangers are drawn to the inner west.

So join us for fringe.westside in 2017 because nowhere does Fringe like Melbourne’s inner west!

Maribyrnong News

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