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Dunedin Fringe 2021: The Pan-Arts Panacea

Festival dates: March 18-28

Like a phoenix from the ashes of 2020, Dunedin Fringe Festival returns in March 2021 with a diverse and eclectic line-up of more than 80 events across the city and online.

An unmissable highlight in the festival calendar, this year's hybrid festival - combining live and online events - will deliver something for everyone, across visual arts, theatre, comedy, cabaret, music and more.

The Fringe programme has come to be known for it's A-class comedy line up and this year is no different. The inimitable Emerson's Festival Theatre will feature a stellar programme including NZ's snapchat superstar Tom Sainsbury, Chris Parker performing the world's first comedy felting show, a debut with shocking revelations from Eli Matthewson (Head Writer - Have You Been Paying Attention) and split bill shows from Michele A'Court / Jeremy Elwood and Justine Smith / Donna Brookbanks. Brand new for 2021, the Late Night Line Up will take over the venue every Thursday to Saturday night of the Fringe, bringing the best stand-up the Fringe has to offer, followed by live music and DJs into the wee hours.

Once again, we will give you the chance to join some comedy 'firsts' including a debut Ōtepoti performance from Australian comedian Laura Davis, a new comedy set from multi-award-winning Nick Rado, the return of Fred Award winner James Nokise for the first time in 8 years, and Billy T James award winner David Correos.
The debuts continue across artforms with autobiographical performances Thief about growing up in LA in the 90s and The Changing Shed about growing up gay in rural Otago in the 70s; Bathroom Self(ie), an interactive exploration of the selfie in a public bathroom and Unreal!, a virtual reality experience of paintings by internationally-exhibited artist Ewan McDougall; an improvised string orchestra, AUGmented STORK; and a Duo, a duet combining a live dancer and a partner projected from the UK.
Festival Director Gareth McMillan said "The Fringe Launch went off like a frog in a sock on Wednesday night. Dunedin's finest congregated along with Dunedin's weirdest, although to be fair, these are sometimes one and the same. There's a palpable excitement about the programme and we know people can't wait to get amongst the Fringe action."

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While the programme guarantees the laughs we all need, artists continue to probe social issues such as mental wellbeing and gender identity in innovative, evocative and affecting ways.

In Adventures in Failure, a three-part performance, the audience will be guided through the murky world of gender representation through drag, steampunk and dance; Sausage Party will dazzle with queer burlesque; and Glossy Leaf Kiss is an experimental performance with a basis in transfeminine identity, queer ecology, matauranga Maori, body adornment, and video & performance art.

Talanoa Mai Moana uses music to explore the experience of Pasifika men, living on foreign lands, who have been through the prison system; the Otago Corrections Facility will present forum theatre performed by inmates in RE-CYCLE. Long standing contributors Artsenta (shared arts studio for people within the mental health community) are hosting Creative Keys an exhibition comprising work created from a de-constructed piano.

Since the festival's debut in 2000, the core aims of Dunedin Fringe Festival have been to support the growth of emerging artists, and to make contemporary and experimental art accessible to a wider audience. After a difficult year, the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust has facilitated over $40,000 of funding to support artists and ensures 100% of ticket sales go to artists.

Full programme:

Comedy and Cabaret

Stand up including Tom Sainsbury Does Dunedin; Chris Parker - How I Felt; Eli Matthewson: Daddy Short-Legs; Michele A'Court & Jeremy Elwood On The Road; Donna Brookbanks & Justine Smith; James Nokise: Let It Out; Laura Davis: If This Is It; Nick Rado's 110% Comedy (7 Days, Have You Been Paying Attention?); No! I'm not Australian! with Ocean Denham; Ray Against the Machine with Ray O'Leary (7 Days, Have You Been Paying Attention?); Inside James Mustapic; Happy Jokes For Happy People with Dan Brader; Is This Thing On? with Rob McLennan; I Just Don't Want to Be Alone for an Hour with Advait Kirtikar; David Correos' David Postoffice; Neil Thornton: Honestly Brutal; Too Many Dick Pics with Alan McElroy; Charmian Hughes: She, Live from the UK!; Mike Fowler & Rob Harris - Crowd Sourcing For Approval; Awardless! with Simon Kingsley-Holmes; Down To Mirth with Josh Ritchie and Reuben Crisp; and American Refugees with Aaron Barber and Gavin Hews; The Power To Change Your Mind, a hoax motivational talk with faux-genius and guru of nothing, Vinyl Burns; The Cool Mum, unlock your inner cool parent with Jo Ghastly; Adulting... Are we there yet? with Heidi Geissler. Cabaret from Bondage Queen Sings the Hits, a hilarious comedy cabaret full of S/M, sex positivity and 80's music; Sausage Party by award-winning Drag/Boylesque Trio Sausage Sizzle; Disenchanted: A Cabaret of Twisted Fairy Tales, sidelined fairytale characters tell her their side of the story.

Art and moving image

The Cameltoe No Show, cycling around the Dunedin Hospital site in protest of the mental health service; Fashion Fwd, the iconic designs from iD Emerging Designer Awards finalists spanning 16 years are exhibited with items from Otago Museum's extensive textile collection; Spectacle Presents: Spectacle, a dynamic, immersive, participatory show spanning several mediums; Exquisite Corpse 2, a chance-based, Victorian surrealist drawing game; Bathroom Self(ie), a series of twitching and wobbling machines create a moment of private reflection in a public bathroom; AYE E KARE WUU2?, a night of capitol indulgence; The Pantybag Collective, dropping wee gifts around the city; Midlife Cartooning with former Wairapa Midweek cartoonist Di Batchelor; Meow, a feline-inspired exhibition from the Otago Art Society; Unreal! Ewan McDougall paintings with Virtual Reality by Claire Hughes; Cargo Bike Art Space, local artists exhibited on a bike cycled around town; Precious, a multimedia show about birds from artist Danielle Munro; Resting Spaces; Shelter and Kindness, multicultural and community based narratives; Creative Keys, a collaborative piece based on deconstructing/reconstructing a piano; Situations of Trust by artist Robert Piggot; In Plain Air, a short film celebrating the career of artist Pauline Bellamy; CLOSE UR EYES, MAKE A WISH, a film exploring our connection to time, place and the ecosystem; The Quilt Project, a hands-on workshop integrating math and art to share your views on gender inequality; Quantum Shorts Film Festival brings you the weird, wonderful, and stranger-than-fiction side of science.

Performance, theatre and improvisation

The Bacchae, an adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy through a unique Aotearoa perspective; Thief, an autobiographical performance about growing up in LA in the 90s; The Changing Shed, an autobiographical piece about growing up gay in rural Otago in the 70s; RAA! Random Acts of Art!, a peek through a lounge window to a family home re-living 2020 at speed; Sleepwalker, three stories explore apocalypse as revelation; RetrospectiveFuturistic: A Steampunk Adventure, time-travelling Steampunk dirigible for a fantastical journey; Adventures in Failure, exploring the murky world of gender representation and sexiness through drag, comedy and dance; Passing Through, exploring life's successes and failures through a group of people in a waiting room; The Glass Menagerie; TWO, internationally acclaimed two-person performance set in a pub; Sexwise - The Sneaky Peek; follow the story of four friends struggling with the super-awkward parts of growing up in 2021; Murder on the Dance Floor, improv murder mystery or musical; Daddy Issues, exploring feminist cliches such as The Patriarchy, Toxic Masculinity, and The One That Got Away; GLOSSY leaf kiss and experimental performance exploring gender identity; The Carnival ain't over - A circus rock opera; Re-Cycle, exploring the prison system in the prison with prisoners; Dayboy, an explosive drama of young men grappling with boyhood, brotherhood, and the fragility of masculinity; We'll Dance on the Ash of the Apocalypse; evocative new play by Australian playwright Melissa-Kelly Franklin telling the story of a couple living in a world ravaged by climate change; Crash With Me, a thirty-minute verbatim performance from Australian Theatre Company Sneakyville, centred around homeless women living in Melbourne; Time for Tea tells the stories of a community after a fire devastates Edinburgh's old town; Vividha Nayika, an evening of love lyrics, longing, contemplation, romance, music and dialogue.

Music and Dance

Dunedin Festival of Women's Art & Music; Tea Dances, tiny dancers play and the choreography unfolds in and out of teacups and crockery; Duo, two dances perform simultaneously on opposite sides of the world; BLUE Experience, Sophie Ricketts explores Joni Mitchell's 1971 masterpiece; Ōtepoti Hip-Hop Hustle presents the Four Elements of Hip-Hop LIVE; Vor-stellen, an improv / experimental group blending motorik guitars and drums with looped, ad-hoc electronic layers; AUGmented STRORK , an improv string orchestra;
Sine Rave, an ambient rave pyjama party featuring experimental sound performers/DJs and moving image from Dunedin and further afield; Our Footsteps are all Entrances; a unique premiere for solo violin and mixed media work based upon works from the poetry collection Homing In by Cilla McQueen; Scenic album tour!, experimental glitterbang band Band Sensations offer landscape-soundscape tours to launch their first album; This Piece Won't Change The World, a couple perform a rare dance duet; Zero F*cks Good Music Zumba; rotor plus presents: fugue states, part-performance, part-installation, surround sound environment that reconsiders the process of forgetting; Talanoa Mai Moana, Pasifika men will gather to share their stories and memories and invite you to come to the circle, Ecstatic Dance and Sufi Trance, the rejuvenated and supercharged Sufi band Fatima's Dream.

Literature, poetry and spoken word

Faovale Imperium, comedian James Nokise and DJ Don Luchito satirical retelling of Captain James Cook's voyage through the Pacific; The Book of Mark, a fresh and immediate performance of the earliest account of Jesus Christ; Fierce Love & Fresh Air, a poetic reckoning with collective healing and grief; a gREAT rAW, a theatrical musical debate about World War One; Elena Poletti Reads, a poetry performance based on life as a New Zealander; Happiness in 20 Minutes!, A joyously brief performance on being happy by that blind woman; Every Now and Then I Have Another Child, an inventive and heartfelt meditation on motherhood.

© Scoop Media

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