Fringe is back, for one night only

Canberra's Fringe Festival will be revived in 2013 after a four-year absence, but for one night only.

The festival, which was abandoned in 2009 amid recriminations between organisers and the government, will be revived in a shortened version to run alongside next year's National Multicultural Festival, Arts Minister Joy Burch will announce today.

Ms Burch said the ACT government would be calling soon for expressions of interest for a creative producer to curate the Fringe element, with $20,000 on the table to deliver an ''alternative artistic program'' alongside the three-day Multicultural Festival in February.

The festival was abandoned in 2009 amid a bitter dispute between then Fringe director Jorian Gardner and then multicultural affairs minister John Hargreaves after a burlesque performance outside the Legislative Assembly in Civic Square ruffled government feathers.

Despite the trouble between Mr Gardner and the government in 2009, Ms Burch's office said there would be no barrier to the former director applying to make a Fringe comeback.

Ms Burch said the Fringe event would be held on the biggest night of the Multicultural Festival, Saturday, February 9, and asked for creative talent to come forward with expressions of interest for the artistic director's job.


''This is an exciting opportunity to showcase a colourful sector of Canberra's arts community alongside the biggest event in Canberra's CBD,'' Ms Burch said. ''The Multicultural Festival has gone from strength to strength, and Canberra's centenary is an ideal time to bring back a very popular event.

''Art should inspire and challenge us, as well as entertain us. I want to see a program that celebrates the diversity of our arts community and that caters to a young adult - and young at heart - audience.''

The new, one-night Fringe will be funded through artsACT, which will work with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which runs the Multicultural Festival. Ms Burch said the Fringe would be able to use the infrastructure of the Multicultural Festival.

She wanted a return of the ''experimental edge'' that the Fringe Festival used to bring to the Multicultural Festival.


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