The Sydney Fringe is now leading the way in NSW in the advocation, activation and reform of prohibitive issues facing local artists, in our town it’s all about space. We work year round with our partners to creatively think outside the box and find lasting solutions to enable more creatives to open space, and existing creative spaces to flourish.

In 2015 the Fringe headed a 10-month pilot project to address the current shortage of affordable small to medium sized performance spaces in Sydney. The project studied the needs and requirements of local Independent artists, and examined the current regulation around temporary leaseholds and the limitations and expense that prohibits general retail premises being used as performance spaces. From this pilot three new permanent performance spaces were created in Sydney, with the resulting project report and list of recommendations submitted to City of Sydney Council in early 2016.

In 2016 our advocacy work continued as we managed the conception and direction of a new creative arts precinct OFF BROADWAY placing creative tenants into empty shopfronts and activating temporary performance spaces. Working with local government and land owners to create smoother pathways for new creative spaces to open. The OFF BROADWAY PRECINCT now provides a permanent home for the Independent artists of Sydney. Enabling artists to become self-sufficient, to have secure spaces that they have ownership over, where they can turn cultural practice into sustainable businesses, and a new cultural precinct that provides the audiences and patrons of Sydney with a vibrant, unique and varied cultural offering.

The national and international profile of the Sydney Fringe has rapidly grown over the past three years. Now globally recognised for our unique model, and game changing activations and pilot projects that drive lasting change in the city. 

We catch up regularly with our counterparts in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin to share information and nurture the national connection between Australia’s Fringe Festivals. In 2016 we welcomed representatives from Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Fringe, NZ Fringe and Darwin Fringe to our festival. And our Festival Director travels across the globe to build international touring opportunities and strengthen ties in the international fringe circuit.

We are welcoming more and more travelling artists to the festival each year and our local artists are increasingly taking their work beyond our festival with touring partnerships established between NZ Fringe, Stockholm Fringe, Melbourne Fringe and Critical Stages.

Each year the Sydney Fringe Festival drives a number of key projects alongside local Government and major stakeholders to build a more viable, vibrant and sustainable sector.

Pop-Up Pilot - The re-adaptive use of buildings as temporary performance spaces

In 2015 the Fringe ran a 10 month pilot project to address the current shortage of affordable small to medium sized performance spaces in Sydney. The project studied the needs and requirements of Independent artists, and looked at the current regulation around temporary leaseholds and the limitations and expense that prohibits general retail premises being used as performance spaces. From this pilot three new permanent performance spaces have been created in Sydney, with the full report and list of recommendations being submitted to Council in 2016 . The Sydney Fringe will continue this work during our 2016 festival with an expanded POPUP FRINGE program of activated venues and spaces.


The City of Sydney is now seeking feedback on the Creative Spaces and Built Environment Discussion Paper - New Uses for Old Buildings, which Council endorsed for public exhibition on Monday night.

This is an opportunity for you and your friends and colleagues to tell the City about the challenges you may have faced in finding or setting up performance or rehearsal spaces, studios etc. It is also an opportunity for you to explain why such spaces are needed.

The Discussion Paper proposes 6 broad actions - with more detailed actions relating to these:

1. Increase understanding of the challenges faced when adapting existing buildings for new creative uses;
2. Strengthen relationships for a solution focussed dialogue - including working with other government agencies
3. Promote participation of people with a disability as artists and audience members;
4. Develop and implement processes to support the adaption of existing buildings for new creative purposes - this includes reviewing regulatory processes andCouncil's internal processes
5. Provide resources that clarify the regulatory environment associated with creative spaces;
6. Advocate to the NSW and Federal Government stakeholders for clearer regulatory pathways for small and low-risk creative enterprises.

Information about providing feedback together with the Discussion Paper and two other useful reports, including the Sydney Fringe's Pop-Up Theatre Report, is available at

Emerging Artist Hub

This year our Emerging Artist Hub is bursting at the scenes. Presented by the National Institute of Dramatic Art, we are hosting it once again at PACT Centre for Emerging Artists. We’ve turned their fabulous venue into two intimate performance spaces and have set up a Coopers courtyard festival bar so you can settle in for the night and catch the next big thing!

The next generation of theatre makers is one of our passions here at the Fringe. The Emerging Artist Hub offers up and coming artists a safe and supportive space to explore new work, test out ideas and get their projects of  the ground. We also o er on the job experience to our next generation of stage managers, technical operators and event managers via internships — so even our crew are supported when starting out.

Be sure to catch a show here during the festival!

Shows on at the Emerging Artist Hub include...

Touring Hub

With an expanded international and interstate program this year our friends at BOQ have helped us create a space especially for the standout shows from other Fringe Festivals around the country and across the globe.
The newly renovated Edwardian Ballroom of 5 Eliza Street Newtown will host seven bold productions including award-winning shows from New Zealand and Australia.

Shows on at the Touring Hub include...


We have been working hard in 2016 to secure avenues for our artists to tour their work, ensuring productions have a life beyond our festival. Our partnership continues with NZ Fringe in the presentation of the SYNZ Award. We will be hosting the 2016 winner from New Zealand in our program, CASTLES, and sending one of our shows to their 2017 festival.

New this year is a partnership with CRITICAL STAGES who will be presenting the Critical Stages Regional Touring Award which will take one of our Festival shows on a regional NSW tour. We are also introducing the MELBOURNE FRINGE TOUR READY AWARD which will see one of our productions head to next year’s Melbourne Fringe and we too will host a winner from their 2016 festival. Get ready to see Sydney based work spread wide and far.

Producer Workshops

Each year the Sydney Fringe runs a six month program of workshops designed to equip early career artists with the necessary producing tools required to put on their festival show and produce work after the festival.

Fringe Ignite

Our annual opening celebration FRINGE IGNITE was born from a recommendation of the 2013 Live Music and Performance Plan created by the City of Sydney to create an event template that was ‘Live and Local’ to enable struggling high streets across the country to revitalise their area with live music events, and to encourage local businesses to host live music. FRINGE IGNITE continues to develop resources to enable others to produce similar events and is presented in partnership with APRA/AMCOS and the Live Music Office.