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Thick and Tight will stream digitally as part of Global Fringe
Photograph: SuppliedThick and Tight will stream digitally as part of Global Fringe

Five local heroes join the Global Fringe line-up, with digital and IRL shows

Sydney Fringe director Kerri Glasscock says there's an interesting conversation to be had about the festival footprint

Stephen A Russell

The first glimpse at the line-up for the inaugural Global Fringe has dropped, and Sydney’s fielding five shows for the worldwide digital extravaganza. A team-up between the Sydney Fringe and Brighton Fringe, New Zealand Fringe, Stockholm Fringe, San Diego Fringe and Hollywood Fringe, it looks pretty amazing. In even better new for local audiences, the Sydney-based shows will also enjoy a strictly limited four-night run at Newtown’s Old 505 Theatre, too.

The local line-up includes physical theatre company Clockfire’s We, the Lost Company, a poetic tribute to memory and the migratory nature of the ocean, as inspired by Brett Whiteley’s beautifully wistful beach paintings. And if you dug Daniel Craig whodunnit movie Knives Out, you'll love to unpick the knotty twists of Ninefold’s A Murder Story Retold. It’s billed as a suburban revenge killing drama set to Max Richter’s re-compositions of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’, and it keeps retelling the story form different perspectives.

Award-winning author Oliver Mol’s theatrical debut Trainlord is a performance art monologue that draws on his horrendous experience with a ten-month migraine and the railway job that got him through it, promising to make you laugh, cry and applaud. Queer stories queen Maeve Marsden presents Queers on the Fringe, assembling an enviable team of artists, writers, comedians and musicians baring their souls and the secrets of the city’s LGBTQ+ underground. And with Black Lives Matter marches spooling across Australia, Black Birds’ Our Visions Begin With Our Desires - Chapter tackles the lack of representation and misrepresentation of women of colour on our stages.

The local shows will perform in person, Thursday through Saturday, each week, as well as joining their international comrades online. The global cohort includes Kiwi company Zanetti Production’s The Basement Tapes, which combines physical performance with inventive audio production values with a Twin Peaks meets Serial vibe. American Halt and Catch Fire star J Elijah Cho presents solo comedy show Mr Yunioshi, skewering Mickey Rooney, yellow-face and ‘colour-blind’ casting. Plus dose up on ‘90s nostalgia with UK-based trio TOOT’s Be Here Now. There are also two new shows from acclaimed UK dance duo Thick and Tight. The Princess & The Showgirl unites Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe, while high-camp ballet Queen Have & Miss Haven't pairs Queen Victoria with Dickens' classic fictional character Miss Havisham from Great Expectations.

UK-based trio TOOT’s Be Here Now
UK-based trio TOOT’s Be Here NowPhotograph: Supplied, Sydney Fringe

Sydney Fringe director and Old 505 owner Kerri Glasscock told Time Out that Global Fringe was a chance to “utilise this difficult time to explore new ways for our global community of fringe artists to make international connections, and possibly develop a new way to tour digitally”.

Glasscock added: “Sydney has some of the most inventive, unique and forward-thinking theatre creators around, we’re providing them with an avenue to global export while the world’s borders are closed. It has been a fantastic challenge that we have taken up with gusto.”

While the canning of the IRL Sydney Fringe hurt, this online solution has sparked a lot of interesting thought. “The conversation around equitable touring, access to international markets and the responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint has been brewing within the international fringe festival circuit for a while. This seemed like a fantastic opportunity to push that conversation forward and create a new digital platform that could present high-quality works streamed live to partner festivals and vice-versa.”

Keep your eye on the Sydney Fringe website for more updates soon.

Sydney's art scene is coming back to life. Read about the return of Carriageworks here.  

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

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