From tap dancing to science fiction and everything in between, the Nelson Fringe Festival is back to full strength, with more than 100 performers due to take to the stage next month.
The festival programme was launched on Thursday evening and it’s packed with 38 shows over 10 days, from June 23 to July 2.
Ranging from theatre, music, dance and comedy, to cabaret, children’s shows and workshops, the festival is being held in three venues in Nelson – Refinery ArtSpace and Studio One on Hardy St, and Red Door Theatre on Atawhai Drive.
Of the 38 shows in the programme, 17 are local featuring 40 top of the south performers. Other performers are coming from around the country.
The fringe festival was to have been held in April but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and festival director Giles Burton believed the timing was now right to hold the event. It was last held in full in 2018, after not going ahead in 2019, being held in digital format in 2020, and staged in a reduced manner last year.
“I think people are eager to go out and see things now,” he said.
Burton said there was a selection of established shows already on the fringe circuit for this year’s event as well as new shows making their premiere in Nelson.
“The 2022 programme really takes on the challenge of putting everything and anything on stage. Often people think a fringe festival is a line-up of one-hour shows in small venues for cheap tickets and that’s true, but we’re also a lot more.
“A fringe show is life on the edge. It’s about stories and laughs and music that is happening right there. It’s the absolute core of live performance, it’s where every stage show begins,” Burton said.
“A fringe is a guaranteed mixed-bag. To get the most out of it, go to at least three shows: you’ll like one, love one, and have no idea what was happening in the third.”
Among the acts are tapdancing Bayley Graham who recently won TVNZ’s talent show 60 Seconds, ukelele-playing Jo Marsh’s amusing journey through history’s rogues and rascals called A Nifty History of Evil, Amy Atkins’ show RAW! ASMR, which delves into the strange world of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and Advait Kirtikar’s comedy The Awkward Indian Guy Act.
“It’s like a taster menu in a restaurant,” Burton said. “You have all these small treats, they’re all only an hour long.”
Returning to the festival is Scratch Night, where people and groups can try out a short piece – such as slapstick comedy, dance or a play – on the stage, with an audience.
This year’s festival features three performers who were in last year’s Scratch Night, which Burton said was “exactly what we’re aiming for”. Comedians Mary Glaisyer and James Murray both tried out sections of their routines last year and are back with their respective one-hour shows A Little Closer to the Edge and Hawkman, while Andy Dolling did an excerpt of ‘a gREAT rAW’ last year and now it was a full-fledged theatre piece.
The Nelson Fringe Festival also features a series of workshops open to the public.
The full festival programme at www.nelsonfringe.co.nz and tickets are available at various venues including online at www.eventfinda.co.nz
Source: STUFF, Vanessa Phillips, 18:00, May 12 2022