Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Dunedin Fringe Festival

Dunedin Fringe presents 

a premiere-packed programme for 2022

Festival dates: March 17-27


The Dunedin Fringe Festival is preparing to go ahead under the current ‘Red’ setting of the Covid Protection Framework, providing a supportive platform for artists to show their work and the opportunity for audiences to discover something new, whilst implementing a range of protocols to keep staff, artists and audiences safe.

An unmissable highlight in the festival calendar, the world’s southernmost fringe is back 17-27 March in Ōtepoti/Dunedin. This year’s programme is packed with premieres, offering audiences the chance to be the first to see innovative and experimental new work from established and emerging artists.

In Intoxicana, award-winning humourist Te Radar delivers a hilarious illustrated lecture revealing the untold stories of intoxicating substances from New Zealand’s past; vibrant dance double-bill Vivid Dreaming presents a collection of human experiences and issues set in the abstract worlds of our subconscious; and director Ruth Carraway (formerly of UK series Grange Hill and The Bill), works with a cast of people who have touched the prison system in theatre piece Been Through Enough.

First of its kind kaupapa Māori opera, Silence is, challenges preconceptions and explores the cacophony of physical, spiritual and political silences around us; while debut theatre The World’s First Lovers weaves a tapestry of Māori mythology and personal anecdote, combining the celestial realm and the human realm with personal stories that affect us all.

For the first time in Fringe history, delve into the world of fashion from the fringes Fashion X Fringe X Fashion in an event that highlights diverse, thoughtful, and challenging fashions from a selection of designers – current students, graduates and lecturers – all from Fashion at the School of Design, Otago Polytechnic.

Local artists take you on a unique voyage through Dunedin’s marine history. The salty crew of Sea Shanties and Salty Stories will take you across the harbour on a ferry while regaling you with tales and shanties from the salty brine; and GASP! Dance Inclusive explores the rich history of St Clair beach with a debut short film series, Promenade.

Tailored to Dunedin, Chris Priestly and the Unsung Heroes is an all-original musical theatre performance about New Zealand’s villains, rogues, and unsung heroes, led by Peter Elliot ONZM.

Festival Director Gareth McMillan said it was important in the face of yet another year of disruptions that the Fringe could offer support to smaller events with a lower risk profile to go ahead, and offer a platform to artists to continue to share their work and make an income.

“We are fortunate to be in a position to proceed with our Fringe events under the Red light restrictions and are taking extra precautions to make sure that this undertaking is as safe as possible,” he said.

“We hope that people will continue to support our artists as best they can, whether that be through coming along to an event if they feel comfortable, buying a ticket for someone else, or enjoying some of the online shows that are part of this year’s programme.”

This year’s online offering includes theatre pieces Rough Night and Shattered; dance pieces Promenade and Inherent Awkwardness; comedy from Rob McLennan: Pool Shark and Neechie-Itas; and performance art show Maggie Cocco’s Science for Sociopaths.

The festival’s comedic legacy will be upheld by a host of national comedy stars, including Taskmaster NZ’s David Correos, 2021 Billy T Award nominee Jack Ansett, Liv McKenzie (NZ Comedy Festival Best Newcomer 2019) and a split bill from Ben Hurley and a special guest.

Award-winning writer, performer and comedian Sarah Harpur returns to the Fringe in 2022 with her first comedy play, Shit Kidwhich in its infancy was selected for the UNESCO Cities of Literature Short Play Festival in 2019. The fictional performance tackles topics such as the painful intersection between motherhood and ambition with delicate wit.

The Late Night Line Up will once again take over the Emerson’s Festival Theatre, every Thursday through Saturday of the Fringe, entertaining festival-goers into the night with a hand-picked itinerary of headline comedians and musical talent.

Artist collective Spectacle will present a dynamic, immersive, participatory pan-art show on the theme of disturbance; The Blue Oyster Art Project Space is delivering another stunning performance series; Jojo Marsh of Bondage Queen fame returns to Dunedin with A Nifty History of Evil, a hilarious journey through history’s biggest baddies; and Ōtepoti Hip Hop Hustle will be back and bigger than ever for 2022, presenting the four elements of hip hop: DJing, MCing, dance, and graffiti art.

The 11-day festival programme also offers the opportunity to explore art in different spaces.

Fancy watching a live Shakespeare performance from the comfort of your garden? This year you can with The Barden Party! A small troupe of travelling actors will be bringing music, mischief, magic to Dunedin gardens in a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Shakespearean performance is peppered with folk-like renditions of popular music ranging from Billie Eilish to Wham.

Surround yourself in sound with STORK AND GAMELAN, a piece made up of traditional and improvised compositions using gamelan – a traditional, large scale instrumental ensemble; and find art in surprising spots across the city with Cargo Bike Art Space offering an ever-changing programme of artists, showcasing artistic works of projection, puppetry, and sound.


Dunedin Fringe thanks all our supporters. Core funding is gratefully received from:

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