Feminist Happenings - Melbourne Fringe Festival Edition

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Fringe Festival season is undoubtedly one of our favourite times of year in Melbourne – an opportunity to see new artists develop their style, experience art outside your comfort zone, and support emerging artists. Whether you like dance parties, spoken word, stand up or clowning, chances are there will be something in the Melbourne Fringe Festival program to challenge and delight you. We’ve found some of our favourite events to get you started, and make sure you have a look at the full program too – you never know what you might find!

Future’s Eve – Hey! Precious

 Sept 13 – 16 at Brunswick Mechanics Institute

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Are the robots taking over? Maybe. This one-woman, one-Roomba show is all about robot ethics and how they play into sex, technology and man-made women. Featuring performer and creator Michelle Aitken, this piece uses projection, dance, and theatre combine in an abundance of evocative imagery and conflicting ideas. By turns bizarre, hilarious, and riotous, Future’s Eve looks like a compelling glimpse into a future that might have already arrived.

Lovely Mess – Riot Stage

Sept 14 – 16 at Fringe Hub – Arts House

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Riot Stage is one of ’s best youth theatre companies, challenging and breaking your expectations of what “youth theatre” means. In Lovely Mess, they invite an adult audience to bear witness as group of teenagers on the cusp of adulthood shed the skin of childhood embarrassment so they can move on with their lives. This collaboration between Riot Stage, projection artist Yandell Walton and ten young people between the ages of 9 to 21, is a messy, awkward celebration – and one that will no doubt resonate with audiences regardless of age.

Have You Tried Yoga? – Rachel Edmonds

Sept 14 – 30 at Bluestone Church Arts Space

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You just can’t write this stuff – and Rachel Edmonds has chosen not to, instead using verbatim interviews to explore what it’s like being disabled when surrounded by empty gestures, echoing platitudes and wannabe heroes. Shaped by music and physical theatre, this performance has received rave reviews at the Adelaide Fringe Festival earlier this year, and we can’t wait for it to come to Melbourne. Have You Tried Yoga? is one not to be missed – it’s one part biographical, nine parts necessary.


Dog Show – directed by Cassandra Fumi

Sept 14 – 22 at Melbourne Fringe Hub – Arts House

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Dog Show goes some way to answer the eternal question “Who let the dogs out?” Or maybe it doesn’t. As an interdisciplinary piece of Total Theatre, Dog Show places audience members inside a dog show arena, while actors transform between dog and owner as the inter-species pageant unfolds. An interrogation into the impossible standards we place on ourselves and others, this fast-paced theatrical event charts the course of a tight, competitive 'Dog Show'. As a piece of theatre, Dog Show looks like it would be hard to define… but if it were a dog, it would be a Cockapoo.

All That Glitters is Blak

Sept 15 at Fringe Hub – Arts House

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Melbourne Fringe just wouldn’t be the same without some incredible dance parties, and this one looks like the most spectacular – All That Glitters is Blak is a First Nations dance party will be an all-night dance floor set to paint the city blak. Featuring a non-stop line-up of live contemporary music from First Nations artists, this is a glorious celebration of the enduring legacy of First Nations art and music. Start your weekend the way you want to end it – gettin’ sweaty on the dancefloor. A welcome space for one and all, including an open invitation for all First Nations people – come for the music, and stay for the PARTY.

Baby Bi Bi Bi – Flesh Coloured Panties

Sept 17 – 23 at The Butterfly Club

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With catchy original songs and plenty of witty jokes, Baby Bi Bi Bi has basically everything you want in a cabaret about the lives of bisexual women - from the big life changing moments like coming out, to the mundane ones, like going grocery shopping, all with a healthy dose of humour and funky tunes. Created as a response to the lack of bisexual representation and perspectives in pop culture, this is a musical gem that the world is finally ready for.

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What is an artist’s motivation in making work that seeks to change the world. How can art ignite social change? When does activist art become preachy and boring? These are the questions that artists Steve Lambert, Candy Bowers and Jax Jacki Brown will be asking at this free talk presented by The Wheeler Centre. Fringe isn't just about the art we see on stage, or in the gallery, but the conversation that the works can inspire - this panel discussion looks like the perfect way to help you start processing the your festival experience. 

Get F*NKED – Alchemistudio

Sept 22 at Brunswick Mechanics Institute

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Did we mention how much we like dance parties? Get F*NKED is a one night only art-happening for women (trans, cis and non-binary). This night is all about creating a space for women away from the male gaze, tipping social boundaries and expectations on its head. It’s about entering into an electrically charged space where you can basically do whatever you want – we’ll have music, food, installation art, live performance, quiet corners for anti-partiers, a bar, a disco ball if you’re lucky, a petting zoo… (actually, probably not a petting zoo). Furthermore, Alchemistudio is partnering with the good folks at Deafferent Theatre and A_tisitc Theatre to make this event as accessible as possible. Wear what you want, dance how you choose. Let’s Get F*NKD.

i don’t make good choices – Rebekah Robertson

Sept 25 – 29 at Brunswick Mechanics Institute

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Ever been stuck at home alone with a sprained ankle and chickenpox contracted at your flop of a birthday party? Decided recovery is the best time to skill up on hair braiding in the hopes of unlocking some blackgirlmagic and becoming the ideal sidekick, somebody’s new best friend? Rebekah Robertson has, and she is wondering if she’s not the only one. This piece explores the fine line between nourishing solitude and harmful isolation, as it spans three centuries and three continents on the lonely quest for friendship.

Domini Marshall