The sixth annual Sydney Fringe Festival is taking place from September 1–30. For the first time there will be a 1920s-style Festival Village, based in Erskineville, as well as pop-ups, performances and shows, breathing creative energy into the shopfronts and streets of the inner west. Spread across five cultural villages (Newtown, Erskineville, Marrickville, Redfern and Surry Hills), the festival celebrates local talent and inspires new audiences to experience the independent arts of Sydney.
With a program packed with more than 300 performances at 50 venues it can be hard to know where to start. Here are a handful of the events on our list:
Wes Carr –“Here Comes the Sun” The Music of George Harrison
Friday September 4 at 7pm and 9.30pm
Venue 505, Surry Hills
After winning the 2008 series of Australian Idol, Wes Carr’s single You kickstarted his musical career with a platinum-selling, Aria number-one hit. Then came his gold-selling album, The Way the World Looks. For this show Carr will perform George Harrison's hits, including My Sweet Lord and Something.
Saturday September 5, 3pm–7pm
Festival opening celebration on Erskineville Road
The Festival Village will host a free celebration of the opening of the fringe, with live music and performances filling the shopfronts, venues, cafes and restaurants of Erskineville Road. To plan your route, hit up one of the festival guides – easily recogniseable from their large beards full of flowers. Keep this Saturday afternoon free for exploring the popular inner-west strip, and delve into the musical feast that is the opening celebration.
If you’re keen for a longer night out, various performances will kick off after 7pm including 6 Degrees of Ned Kelly at The Village Theatre and MOONDANCE at the Anglican Church.
Borrow A Human at Marrickville Library
September 5, 6, 9 and 10 at 8.30pm (doors at 6pm)
Ever heard the saying “never judge a book by its cover”? Well it’s about to take on a whole new meaning. The Marrickville Library will host free night events to turn the normal library experience on its head. Regular books will be substituted for people, and upon being chosen by a visitor (or “reader”) the “book person” will divulge a life story. Bookings are essential for this event – visit marrickvillelibrary.eventbrite.com.au for details.
Host A Murder Party
September 11, 18 and 25. 8.30pm–9.15pm
Speakeasy Lounge, Erskineville Town Hall
Spend a night in the roaring 1920s with a glamorous host guiding you through a seedy world of gangsters and rivals. With murder and bribery at play, you better watch your footing on this mysterious trail. Dress the part in flapper dresses and suits, gather your friends and enjoy the theatre of an intriguing dip into history. Bookings are made in groups of 6, at $22 a ticket.
Silent Dinner Party
Saturday September 26 at 7.30pm
Marrickville Town Hall
The Fringe Festival’s keynote closing event this year will be a dinner party held in total silence. Set to shake up social norms as well as your senses, this performance-art project by Honi Ryan has sold out at events all over the world, including the Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe Festivals. With tickets at $75 a head, you’ll be treated to a local and seasonal menu created by the chefs of Sydney Studio’s NEON. See how silent communication unravels at this unique occasion, with no technology allowed and guests asked to make as little noise as possible.
Film Festival Screening
September 28 at 6pm
The screening of the finalist films in the Fringe’s short-film festival is always a night to look forward to. This year the filmmakers were asked to create films with the theme Blink and You’ll Miss It. Entry is free.