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Dunedin Fringe Festival 2019

20 February 2019

Explosive performers, innovative art, pioneering theatre and comedy, and everything in-between - there is something for everyone at the Dunedin Fringe Festival, and 2019 will be no exception! Over 80 vibrant and diverse acts are part of the lineup for the next festival, bringing together a wide range of local, national, and international talent of the highest calibre. The festival will run for 11 days, from March 21st - 31st.

Since the festival’s debut in 2000, the core ethos of Dunedin Fringe Festival has been to support the growth of emerging artists, and to make contemporary and experimental art accessible to a wider audience. 2019’s fresh lineup is a strong testament to this, with many of the creative events independently produced by artists, alongside some excellent high-profile performers. The festival is the second largest of its kind in New Zealand and has been embraced by Dunedin, becoming increasingly successful with each passing year, and 2019 is set to continue this trend.

The 2019 Dunedin Fringe Festival Programme is packed with over 80 top quality acts from around New Zealand and the world.

Kiwi comedy heroes are here to make a statement and represent the array of talent on offer. Famed TV comedian of 7 Days and The Project, Ben Hurley returns to Dunedin after three years with his new show Turn Off Your Mind, Relax, and Float Down Stream. Another 7 Days regular and Funny Girls star, Donna Brookbanks brings Under the Doona With Donna to Dunedin. Chris Parker is back for another round, following his highly successful show in the previous festival with Camp Binch (Returns). 2019 Billy T Award nominee and former Dunedinite James Mustapic also returns with a new show after 2018’s sensational Mildly Wild. Yet another Fringe favourite, Wilson Dixon, joins the lineup again, this time with fellow comedian Alice Snedden for 75 minutes of comedy together, separately.

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From further afield, a stellar group of female comedians bring energetic humour twisted with politics and activism. Winner of NZ Fringe’s 2017 Outstanding Performer award, UK based performer Sameena Zehra brings her first solo show in 2 years to Dunedin. Arsebiscuits is “a goulash of storytelling and political commentary,” combined with Zehra’s signature brand of absurdity and dark humour. Join London’s Sajeela Kershi as she Fights Like a Girl! With sparkling and mischievous multi-cultural humour, Kershi’s show will inspire both empowerment and laughter. Also hailing from London, previous Fringe performer and a favourite of New Zealand shores Charmian Hughes will perform her latest show What-Not.

Creativity and genre-pushing are valued by Dunedin Fringe, and many musically-inclined acts are stepping up to this challenge. Hot off winning the New Zealand Cultural Exchange Award at the San Diego Fringe Festival, Austin Dean Ashford’s (I)sland (T)rap combines ukulele and rap in a virtuosic performance retelling Homer’s Odyssey based on the black experience in America. Fresh from Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Gary Sansome presents Bald Man Sings Rihanna, in which he, a bald Scottish man, sings Rihanna, which is sure to be a memorable experience. Regarded as New Zealand’s most inventive and theatrical chamber orchestra, Auckland’s Blackbird Ensemble will perform dazzling arrangements of Icelandic pop star Bjork’s music in Bjork: All is Full of Love. Local David Bowie aficionado Dr. Ian Chapman honours the musical greatness of Bowie alongside his Cosmic Jive Quartet in David Bowie: The Art of Being Different. With superb acoustic arrangements of Bowie’s best tunes, interactive performance and Q&A, this is a celebration of the way Bowie connected art to everyday life.

Theatre goers will be spoiled for choice with an extensive lineup of inventive shows. Originally from the UK, now Dunedin-based Ruth Carraway brings 30 years of acting experience in the iconic shows Grange Hill and The Bill, to name just a few, to her very first self-written and produced play, LAVVIE’S. Performed on location in a bar (and the women’s toilets on the premises), the show is a glimpse into the night out of group of women as their friendships are tested. Wellington based A Mulled Whine in association with Dunedin Dream Brokerage present ORPHEUS, an internationally award-winning retelling of an ancient myth. Originating in York, England, the show is a mash-up of spoken word poetry, theatre, and acoustic performance, telling of death-defying love and adventure. Also from Wellington, I’ll Tell You This for Nothing: My Mother the War Hero is a one woman show written and performed by Kate JasonSmith, sharing the true tales of her mother, Phyllis, a nurse in WWll awarded the Legion d’Honneur. Auckland’s Hobson Street Theatre Company, winners of NZ Fringe’s Best Directed Chaos, bring That’s What Friends Are For, in which the cast attempt to make friends in the audience within an hour. Part observation, part participation, the show presents raw honesty in a funny and poignant way, exploring how we make friends, and what it means to be one.

Another highlight to reemerge is the Polson Higgs Opening Night Showcase, which features five minute previews of selected acts as a taster of what is on offer throughout the festival. Regent Theatre will host the showcase on March 20th, kicking the festival off in an energetic style. The Emerson’s Festival Club also returns for 2019, providing a bar, hub, and performance venue, with four nights of local music curated by musician Nadia Reid. Core sponsors of the festival, in addition to Polson Higgs and Emerson’s, include Dunedin companies Perraux Audio and Computer Concepts Ltd. Dunedin City Council, Otago Community Trust and Creative NZ also continue to support Fringe artists and their events such as Arcade Theatre Company’s Light to Light, Le Sujet Parle: And Then He Shot Me by Emily Duncan and Lines of Flight festival.

The full 2019 Dunedin Fringe Festival programme will be launched in hard copy and online at a launch event in Dunedin on the 20th of February 2019.


© Scoop Media

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