It’s that time again when bold, risk-taking comedy, cabaret, theatre, live art and music step into the spotlight to challenge and entertain audiences
First thing’s first: look to the sky. In a festival that is all about illuminating new ideas from new voices, it is fitting that the Fringe will open with a spectacular network of laser beams propelled across the night sky over the CBD. Sky Light (dusk-11pm. Free. Sep 15-18) is the work of renowned Australian laser artist and composer Robin Fox, and the Fringe’s biggest-ever commission. Start from Southgate, download the Sky Light soundtrack and immerse yourself in a journey of sound and light through the city. In the last four days of the festival, head to the other side of the river to Grattan Gardens, where Robin Fox will premiere White Beam: a horizontal beam of white light that will shimmer overhead (Grattan Gardens, Greville St, Prahran 3181. Dusk-11pm. Free. Sep 29-Oct 2).
If you haven’t guessed already, the theme of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival is Step Into the Light – and that means giving voice to those who often go unheard. Creative director and CEO Simon Abrahams has curated a program where marginal voices take centre stage: the culturally diverse, the young, the queer and the disabled.
Take the kids’ program for example. If there’s any time you shouldn’t overlook the children’s shows, it’s this year. In Kids vs Art, children will review contemporary art and performance during the Fringe for a podcast. In the brand new Kids Club (Fringe Hub, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne 3051), cabaret performer Yana Alana will host a rainbow kids party, called Rainbow Cactus (12.30pm. Free. Wed Sep 28) and much-loved Finishing School DJ Andrew McClelland will give little ones a real music education at Starting School (12.30pm. Free. Fri Sep 30).
Another new addition to Melbourne Fringe is The Other Film Festival (State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000. Sep 28-30), presented with Arts Access Victoria. This festival of international and local films by with and for people living with disability has been running for several years, but will now be part of the Fringe. The brand new Open Book program celebrates Melbourne’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature, featuring 'The Stalls', an installation of bathroom graffiti from across the city, assembled at the Fringe Hub (Sep 16-Oct 1).