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Like a Phoenix

If you thought you were going to have to wait until next year to sink your teeth into some Fringey fun, think again… Darwin Fringe Festival is back with bite, serving up three jam-packed days of local shows to keep you entertained as the sweaty season begins.

It was a sad day for many in the Top End’s close-knit arts community when Darwin Fringe announced the 2021 Festival was cancelled due to the July snap lockdown.

“Having to tell those artists about the cancellation was a pretty sh-t day and a lot of tears,” admits Festival Director Hannah Illingworth.

So there’s something almost magical about Fringe’s re-emergence this month with a smaller, but considered, local program that gives some of the artists that worked hard on their shows a chance to perform.

“It was a lot to do with the support of Brown’s Mart and the Entertainment Centre. And the team I have at the moment is so amazing – they’re just the best humans. Everyone gave me a sense that this is possible… there’s a lot of support there from people who are really keen to support these artists,” Illingworth says.

With such an abundance of Territory talent out there, it’s not hard to see why there’s so much enthusiasm and goodwill. Fringe 2.0, as the new program is called, is brimming with circus, theatre, cabaret, dance, music, comedy, spoken word, workshops and, of course, Fringe Club, spread out over three full days at Brown’s Mart and Darwin Entertainment Centre.

True to the Fringe spirit, it’s all about getting up there and having a go, with only around a third of the shows being presented by established performers.

“We worked hard to only work with shows that don’t have an opportunity otherwise, so we’re still maintaining a role in keeping the stage accessible to everyone. Everyone is really figuring it out, but they’re skilled as!”

One of the impressive debuts gracing the stage is Metamorphosis, a showcase of solo physical theatre, dance and circus acts featuring some jaw-dropping feats, curated by first time producer Samantha Tran.

“It’s sexier than a variety show, and some of the stuff they can do is insane. So giving them a stage feels really good… because a lot of them just practice in their own spaces in their own communities.”

Blending circus and dance with personal storytelling, Metamorphosis takes audiences on an emotional journey from darkness into light, transforming weakness into strength. It’s a theme sure to resonate with many in this time of uncertainty and change.

There are also plenty of platforms devoted to emerging First Nations artists, including Deadly Darwin comedy, which has a whopping line-up of 10 comedians; Sol Code, a new collective aiming to create open mic spaces for people of colour; and Saltwater Divas, MusicNT’s program to develop emerging Indigenous female singer-songwriters.

With a Spooky Artist Party bringing Fringe 2.0 to a close, head on down to this fitting finale and celebrate this incredible program that has risen again from the ashes!

Fringe 2.0

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