ACT News


Canberra Multicultural Fringe Festival director promises to push the envelope this year

A director of the Canberra Multicultural Fringe Festival promises to push the envelope this year but doesn't expect any outrage.

The festival is being held next Friday and Saturday, February 12 and 13, in the Bailey's Corner carpark, opposite East Row.

The fringe festival is held in conjunction with the National Multicultural Festival but no mention was made of it at the launch of the multicultural festival on Thursday.

It's two years on from the 2014 fringe festival, under then director Jorian Gardner, which saw the Liberal Opposition outraged by a female burlesque dressed as Adolf Hitler.

This year's fringe is directed by Chenoeh Miller and Gregor Murray, their second year in the job. Ms Miller said the 2016 festival was an all-local affair with a "theatrical element".


"There's a lot more performance art than last year," she said.

They had introduced an adults-only section – The Adults Only Late Night Variety Show with Chris Endrey and Alison McGregor – which would run 10pm to midnight both nights.

"I certainly do want to push the envelope, a little bit more than we did last year," Ms Miller said.

"Last year, I wanted to keep everyone happy and tick all the boxes... Certainly, we're being a little bit bolder than we were last year."

Ms Miller said Endrey would bring some cutting-edge political comment to the show while McGregor specialised in cabaret performance. All with some theatrical and musical overtones as well as poetry and dance.

"I'm really not into shocking for the sake of shocking," she said.

"I hope everything means something and matters. Our aim is to entertain the audience and for me that is showing respect at all times.

"So I can't imagine anything being too outrageous."

Ms Miller believed Canberra audiences were mature enough to handle edgy entertainment held late at night.

"We're all adults and we can take a bit of a shock and it encourages a conversation and that's what we as artmakers are here to do, really," she said.

"You wouldn't expect kids there in those hours [10pm to midnight] and I've been quite adamant about that because people do want to see more risk at the event and rightly so."

There would be children's entertainment during the day including a show by Mr Tim and the Fuzzy Elbows at 4pm on Saturday, following Canberra's first multilingual poetry event, Mother Tongue Multilingual Mi at 2pm on Saturday. A kids' outlet will serve slushies and other refreshments during the day.

The entertainment generally for the fringe festivals starts at 4pm on Friday, February 12 and noon on Saturday, February 13.

The opening sequence, created by Ms Miller, is on Friday, February 12 at 8pm, featuring artists including Alison Plevey, QWire and MC Wizz.

Ms Miller said the festival had a focus on the plight of refugees.

Dance groups from around Canberra would come together at 5pm on Saturday, February 13 for Hit the Floor for Refugees, raising money for the Refugee Council of Australia.

More details about acts and times can be found on the Canberra Multicultural Fringe Facebook page.