CEO COVID-19  STATEMENT – AUGUST 2021

 

In 2020 when the world stopped our sector was forced to face a reckoning unlike anything we were prepared for. The unity, strength, passion, dedication and the stubborn resilience of our independent artists is truly inspiring. In spite of the hardships we are still here, and despite the futility of our environment artist are still making work, exceptional work. Sydney Fringe had hoped to share that work with you in September. A program of 370 independent productions made by our local artists during hardship, global change and unprecedented conditions.

The extended lockdown and rampant Delta strain has made any possibility of presenting our festival untenable. With a largely unvaccinated cohort of young artists and audiences the health and safety risks are simply too great.

As an organisation we have worked tirelessly over the past twelve months to reduce risk, put in place multiple plans, prepare for the worst and ensure that all involved are looked after should that worst case scenario eventuate. These preparations have tested our metal, bent our brains and identified our champions, but they haven’t taken away the pain and disappointment of seeing a year’s worth of work be snatched away only weeks from project delivery. Nor have they eased the heartbreak of knowing that 370 productions will simply not be seen this year, that tens of thousands of hours of work will go unrecognised, that our city will not benefit from the cultural impact our festival provides or the economic benefits it brings. This year more than ever our artists and city needed Sydney Fringe.

We are sorry that we could not find a way to forge on, to reimagine or pivot as our sector is so well known for doing. But this time round there was simply no way forward. We would like to pass our immense gratitude on to our Government partners, our sponsors and all our stakeholders who are standing by Sydney Fringe and our artists during this difficult time. Sydney Fringe will endure and the community that makes up our local independent arts sector will rally to emerge when recovery begins. But we will not be able to do so alone and will need the support of a City behind us.

Kerri Glasscock

CEO & Festival Director
The Sydney Fringe