CEO COVID-19  STATEMENT – AUGUST 2020

Since June when we announced the cancellation of the 2020 Sydney Fringe Festival we have been working tirelessly to find ways to support our community of independent artists and venues during this crisis. Now more than ever Sydney needs Sydney Fringe, and we have been working with our colleagues, community and local and State Governments to work through the myriad of issues facing our sector, to ensure that we can get back to work, and all get through to the other side.

In May we convened a working group of small-medium sized theatres to create best practice re-opening policies. This work took into account Government and industry advice and ensured that the varying business models of small venues was considered. Each venue then utilised the work to create their own unique Covid Safe Reopening Plans.

In June we launched our On The Fringe podcast series, a way for us to stay connected with our community, take part in some big conversations and commission original audio content.

In July we began working with 5 local theatre companies as part of our Made in Sydney project. Assisting them financially and practically to reimagine their work in a Covid present environment, for presentation later in the year.

In August we launched our Art in Isolation program a call out to local artists of all genres to submit for paid residencies at our home base in Newtown. These residencies will run until the end of 2020 and provide financial and space support to 15 artists.

In September we commissioned a large scale digital projection work to shine onto 5 Eliza St Newtown, that documented how local artists have been working in isolation during the Covid crisis.

Also in September we presented our international collaboration Global Fringe. This project in partnership with five international Fringe festivals presented 19 works from 10 different countries, streaming live across the Globe. Our local Made in Sydney work was featured and supported in a digital international tour, heading to Stockholm, Brighton U.K and Melbourne.

The work we began in May with our local venues was tried and tested during Global Fringe as 4 Made in Sydney works were presented in real life, with reduced Covid safe capacities at Old 505 Theatre. We were delighted that audience survey results had a 100% satisfaction response to feeling safe, and it was incredible to be able to present some of the first theatre back on Sydney stages.

We are doing everything we can to find practical solutions for our sector to work safely now and into the future. Ensuring that our venues are supported, our audiences are safe and our artists have every opportunity to return to the studio, stage or rehearsal room. Embarking into a new world takes bravery, ingenuity and expansive thinking, fortunately these are cornerstones of the independent arts world and we couldn’t be prouder of our sector and our partners as we forge new territory together.

 

Kerri Glasscock

CEO & Festival Director

The Sydney Fringe