05 August, 2022

The Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent will feature everything from boundary-pushing burlesque and big comedy names to a mimosa-fuelled drag brunch club over six packed weeks.

The countdown to the 2022 Sydney Fringe Festival is underway, with the city’s huge independent arts finally set to return for its first physical fest since 2019 from mid-August. And while the full program hasn’t been unveiled as yet, here’s something that you can block out in your calendar now: spending six weeks enjoying everything from cabaret and drag to comedy and live tunes in First Fleet Park in The Rocks.

From Tuesday, August 16–Sunday, September 25, Runaway Gardens will return to Sydney for Sydney Fringe — and the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent along with it. Amid the impressive pop-up venue’s stained-glass windows, velvet aplenty and, yes, mirrors, you’ll be able to watch boundary-pushing burlesque, laugh at big comedy names and sip your way through a mimosa-fuelled drag brunch club.

Headlining the program is the previously announced Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett, which’ll unleash its second 2022 season upon Sydney — sword swallowing, hair hanging, Cirque Du Soleil aerialists and all. German kabarett superstar Bernie Dieter leads the charge, and she’s been described as “an electrifying cross between Lady Gaga, Marlene Dietrich and Frank-N-Furter in sequins”, if you’re wondering what you’re in for.

Also on the lineup: is the Poof Doof Drag Brunch Club, which is exactly what it sounds like. Spend your Saturdays drinking while checking out an array of drag, comedy, burlesque and cabaret performers, with your beverages included in your ticket.

If you’re keen on checking out the live music bill, Runaway Gardens is focusing on legendary performers playing intimate gigs, with Daryl Braithwaite, Kate Ceberano, Diesel, Renee Geyer, Richard Clapton, Ross Wilson & The Peaceniks, and The Black Sorrows doing the honours. And if you’re eager to get giggling, the comedy lineup includes Arj Barker, Jimeoin, Akmal and Lawrence Mooney, as well as a Multicultural Comedy Gala featuring Dilruk Jayasinha, Georgie Carroll and Tahir.

Merrick Watts will talk you through vino in the Idiot’s Guide to Wine, too — and, across two Friday Up Late gigs, Odette and Jack Ladder will unleash their musical talents. Plus, there’s a gin-fuelled Festival Club running a best of the fest program every Thursday night, covering comics, cabaret, circus and musos, wit help from the house jazz band.

As well as all the action in the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Runaway Gardens will boast an outdoor bar and pop-up restaurant, all with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The precinct will operate from 4–10pm Tuesday–Thursday, 12–11pm Friday–Saturday and 12–10pm on Sundays. And if you’re wondering about the rest of the Sydney Fringe Festival lineup, that’ll drop on Monday, August 1.