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Melbourne Fringe Festival

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A person stands against a crazy purple and black background wearing a purple jumpsuit covered in red lips
Photograph: Supplied/Melbourne Fringe Festival

Time Out Says

Melbourne’s beloved open-access arts festival is back with a fabulous program featuring more than 120 shows

If there was ever a time that us Melburnians needed a healthy dose of comedy, music, dance and theatre to lift our spirits, it’s right now. Thankfully, the annual Melbourne Fringe Festival is returning in 2021 with a jam-packed program of both digital and socially distanced events.

From September 30 to October 17, you can catch a line-up of talented performers – many of whom have had to reshape their original shows and concepts – from the comfort of your home or local area. The key theme for the festival this year is ‘Make Some Noise’, and after encountering a few sizeable, pandemic-related bumps in the lead-up to the event, it’s safe to say everyone involved is raring to get a little loud, bold and boisterous.

With many shows pivoting to a digital format, and more than 40 completely new events joining the program, it’s hard to pick a favourite. Some of our at-home highlights include Queeraoke, which is all about celebrating music’s biggest queer acts and most beloved queer anthems via a wild karaoke sesh you can enjoy from your living room, and What Rhymes With Orange, a new play by Isabella Pervesi that explores the threshold and boundaries of a relationship – and what happens when it is held together by secrets, shame and guilt.

There’s also Audible Cubicle, a psychedelic audiovisual journey through the public toilets of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, and Simon Taylor’s Comedy Picnic, which will see Simon perform stand-up in the Carlton Gardens to a maximum of four people from a single, vaccinated household. 

There may not be any standing ovations and arm-in-arm singalongs like the Fringe of old, but there’s still plenty of exciting art to immerse yourself in, which we promise you’ll love. Tickets are on sale now, and you can score yours here.


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