Like so many other festivals, Sydney Fringe – NSW’s biggest independent arts festival – has been cancelled two years running. But it’s just announced a triumphant return for 2022, with its largest and longest program ever. Sydney Fringe 2022 will start two weeks earlier than usual and run for six weeks (up from four weeks), to cater for more than 500 events.

“We have had an overwhelming response to our artist call-out this year and are shaping up to be bigger than ever,” said Sydney Fringe CEO and festival director Kerri Glasscock in a statement. “This is really an incredible testament to the resilience and passion of the indie arts sector in Sydney, they are chomping at the bit to have their return moment and present all the work that has been bubbling away under the surface during the past two years.”

The full program – set to be announced on August 1 – will be spread across inner Sydney. The Runaway Gardens hub and Spiegeltent will pop up in First Fleet Park in The Rocks, with Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett making a return with circus and aerial performances, fire breathing and its “haus” band. And the huge Babylon street party will grace Chippendale’s Kensington Street and Spice Alley once again, with light sculptures, projections, live music, dancing, soundscapes, food, performance and drinks. There’ll be scores of other free events and street parties across the city.

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The Fringe will partner with Darlinghurst Theatre Company to host cabaret company Yummy, a group that brings together drag, dance, circus and burlesque. And a new festival-within-a-festival, Limitless, at 107 Projects in Redfern, will give a platform to performance and visual artists with disability.

Marrickville Metro will also host a three-day celebration of entertainment and food in its Smidmore Street hub. Other events will take place at the Seymour Centre in Chippendale, Erskineville Town Hall, Marrickville’s Factory Theatre and the Castlereagh Hotel in the CBD.

Sydney Fringe Festival 2022 will run from August 16 to September 30. The full program will be announced on August 1.