The western suburbs are to be transformed into a giant playground thanks to the many exciting offerings from this year’s beloved Melbourne Fringe Festival.
The Fringe is renowned for celebrating voices from the margins, artistic risk-taking and unrestrained imagination, and this year it’s getting playful.
Themed PLAY UP!, the Festival is inviting westies to imagine their neighbourhood as a personal play space and to help it’s bringing their biggest and boldest free public art to the west. Perfect for anyone looking to reconnect with their inner kid while enjoying the best of what Melbourne’s independent art scene has to offer.
For the entire month of October there’ll be a vibrant showcase of events popping up all around us to create a social centre of colossal public art, mischievous immersive experiences, and powerful new theatre.
Creative Director and CEO Simon Abrahams says he’s thrilled to be expanding the Fringe footprint in Melbourne’s west. ‘We’ve received some funding from the Victorian Government and Maribyrnong City Council to allow our expansion into the West, building on the work we’ve already been doing there for the last few years,’ he says. ‘We’re prioritising working with local creatives and bringing more extraordinary art to audiences there’.
As we Westies already know, our hood is amazing. It’s home to many vital artistic spaces and is full of creatives thirsty for events and activities that bring us together and inspire, so it’s fantastic to see a prestigious art event like The Fringe focus so heavily on the west.
Some of the offerings include the installation of a giant, 8-metre tall Swing at Footscray station. Instantly recognisable as something out of your childhood (two ropes and a seat; no bungy-jump business here) Swing has a dizzying arc that will give the young-at-heart a whole new perspective on the city. What better way to spend the wait for your delayed train? It’s fully accessible and you might even be serenaded by a choir as you soar through the air.
The joy of puppetry will reign supreme as Puppet Mayhem takes over Seaworks in Williamstown. The iconic venue will be transformed into a puppet museum featuring a collection of puppets created and performed over the last 50 years. There’ll also be roving artworks, bands, DJs and pop-up performances.
Meanwhile at Footscray’s Nicholson Street Mall, a thrilling work of circus and sculpture will unfold in the nail-biting new circus show from One Fell Swoop Circus. Staged on a custom-built rigging apparatus, In Common explores the care we owe others in our community and the structures we build to sustain each other.
‘We’re truly taking the biggest and boldest of the program this year out west with our major commission,’ says Simon. ‘And It’s just the beginning. We’re already planning some exciting projects for 2024!’