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.
AN ANTHOLOGY OF SPACE 2015-2018:
Activating unused and underutilised space for the creative industries and performing arts sectors of NSW
After four years of activating everything from tiny shopfronts to large scale industrial space we have compiled An Anthology of Space. Proposing solutions to overcome the onerous red tape that is strangling Sydney’s creative sectors.
If clear pathways were opened up for the temporary use of commercial space by the performing arts and cultural sector, the venue crisis in Sydney could cease to exist. Our high streets could be filled with new small cultural spaces and vibrant mixed use businesses. Our large industrial space awaiting residential development could be utilised to provide greatly needed transient space for organisations like Sydney Fringe and their communities.
But for this to be possible we need to remove the assumption of risk that is associated by regulatory authorities when dealing with performance. We need to advocate for a State variation to the National Construction Code for the inclusion of a low-risk small arts venue, we need exempt and complying development for temporary cultural activities and we need clear pathways to enable that activity to take place.
The Fringe is committed to working with our partners and stakeholders to continue to advocate for change and to continue to drive pilot projects like these than can provide lasting change and build sustainable careers for the cultural entrepreneurs of our city.
Off Broadway Precinct
In 2016 the Sydney Fringe managed the conception and direction of a new creative arts precinct OFF BROADWAY in partnership with the Inner West Council. Placing creative tenants into empty shopfronts and activating temporary performance spaces. The project saw the Fringe work with local government and land owners to create smoother pathways for new creative spaces to open and successfully deliver the Off Broadway Festival Hub, transforming a vacant retail warehouse into a vibrant creative arts hub for the festival period.
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.
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 http://sydneyyoursay.com.au/creative-spaces-built-environment
We have been working hard to secure avenues for our artists to tour their work, ensuring productions have a life beyond our festival. Over the last 5 years we have been building exchange award programs with Fringe Festivals around Australia, as well as internationally, to offer our independent arts touring possibilities, as well as bringing stand-out independant work to Sydney that may otherwise not have the means to tour here.
Our award partnerships include:
NZ Fringe Festival in the presentation of the SYNZ AWARD. Launched in 2015 we have continue to host the winner from New Zealand in our program, and send one of our shows to their March festival.
Melbourne Fringe Festival in the presentation of the MELBOURNE FRINGE TOUR READY AWARD. Launched in 2016 we have continue to host the winner from Melbourne in our program, and send one of our shows to their September festival.
Fringe World, Perth in the presentation of the FRINGE WORLD TOUR READY AWARD. Launching in 2018 we look forward to hosting the winner from Perth, and sending the 2018 Sydney Fringe winner to their January/February Festival.
Brighton Fringe in the presentation of the BRIGHTON FRINGE TOUR READY AWARD. Launching in 2018 we look forward to hosting the winner from Brighton, England, and sending the 2018 Sydney Fringe winner to their May Festival.
Just announced for 2017 we have created a digital media and arts exchange between Stockholm Fringe and Sydney Fringe. Enabling our film and digital arts program to be screened at Stockholm Fringe, and for us to exhibit their program here.
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.
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.
We are proud members of the World Fringe!
World Fringe is the International Fringe Festival Association bringing the Fringe community together. Each year over 200 Fringe Festivals across the globe showcase hundreds of thousands of artists and performers. 19 million people see approximately 170 thousand performers in 60,000 free and ticketed events. Over 8 million Fringe tickets are sold in over 6 thousand venues across the globe.