The Hamilton Fringe Festival is looking for fresh blood. A younger committee has been given control of the annual festival to attract more emerging artists from modern social networks.
Alec Forbes has been involved in organising the festival since its inception in the late 1990s. “It was an attempt to get people into the Meteor Theatre, when it was under the theatre services,” Forbes said. “And therefore bringing under an umbrella artistic individuals and groups that wouldn’t have been able to get into the building by themselves because of the costs.”
Over the years, the Fringe Festival successfully enabled left-of-field creatives in Hamilton to emerge from the underground and bring their outside-the-box performances to public audiences. “For people who were starting out, the risk was too great,” Forbes said. “But with the Fringe as an umbrella organisation, then they could take on certain aspects of using the building and the production.” But Forbes said he was stepping back with the rest of the old guard and gradually handing the reins over to younger artistic advocates.
Macaila Eve, 25, is a key member of the all-new committee working on the Fringe this year. She emphasised the festival was about encouraging new artists to come forward and have a go. “It’s primarily for new and emerging artists,” Eve said. “It’s for trying something for the first time, and it’s for things that are zany or a bit out there or on the cusp of normal.”
The festival aims to provide a supportive space for artists to try put on performances that they otherwise may not be brave or confident enough to do. It gives creatives a chance to learn skills around putting on and promoting their own events, and bridges the cost to give them the opportunity to perform in a space such as the Meteor Theatre, Clarence St Theatre, Creative Waikato, in the carpark underneath Celebrating Age, or in public spaces.
“I think there’s some amazing artists here, amazing musicians and theatre people, and real creative people with brilliant ideas,” Eve said. “A lot of them don’t seem to have their work in the public sphere unless they’re doing something like Fringe Festival.”
The fee to artists putting on a performance as part of Fringe is generally $100 for the Meteor, and $50 for other venues. That money goes toward publicity for the festival, but the costs are also flexible to make the event accessible for people in a tight financial situation.
“Particularly if they want to put on a free event in a public space then we’d be very open to make a low fee, or no fee, depending on what they’re doing,” Eve said. “We definitely encourage everyone to approach us and talk to us about their situation and their ideas.”
The committee will be holding a launch event, called The Fringle, on July 12 at 6pm in the Creative Waikato space at 131 Alexandra Street. The gathering will allow prospective performers to mingle with the organisers and ask questions about taking part.
“We’re all a new committee this year and my big vision is to have a lot more in the public space,” Eve said. “I really want to see more spontaneous events in the public sphere and have this crazy vibe that something is happening in Hamilton.”
Performances as part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival will take place from December 1 to 8.
Story by Gary Farrow – Stuff