We’re busting up taboos, pushing boundaries. This is where trends get set, where new styles of work and ideas are born. The radicals and experimentalists, the artists whose projects just don't fit in the box, the crafters, the grafters, the misfits and the clarion voices thrive at Fringe. So do your favourite faces and some of the country’s most loved acts. This is the festival where artists make their mark. Formal innovation, weird-out-wild experiences and just having a great time are hallmarks of every Fringe.
Fringe 2016 is about big nights out. Spiegeltent is back in all its glittery glory. This time we’ve got the keys to Dublin’s favourite garden in the lush and historic environs of Merrion Square. GET US! A site this beautiful calls for a spectacular show . We’ve got the world premiere from the toast of the town. THISISPOPBABY celebrates their 10th phenomenal year with their most ambitious and entertaining show yet. RIOT is going to fire on all cylinders – siren songs, drag royalty, jockstraps, hurling helmets and sizzling spoken word. A show this powerful, inspired and ferocious is not to be missed.
It’s not just RIOT that’s rich with action and glamour. Australia’s Hot Brown Honey offers cabaret with a political pulse. From the people who brought you Briefs and co-created by the stupendous Lisa Fa’alafi and Busty Beatz, Hot Brown Honey delivers scorching number after number of burlesque, beat box and banging tunes. Bring your friends; you’ll torch tyranny and burn up the dance floor. Comedy maven and RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon and her dashing companion Major Scales unearth their favourite pop tunes with The Vaudevillians. Get up close and personal with leading comics, take in sensational gigs from your favourite Irish indie bands and revel in experiential Spiegel parties.
Fringe artists will investigate ideas of consequence and possibility, and bring us stories bigger than ourselves. Fiction comes to the forefront this year via new ways of story-telling and radical reimaginings of the traditional ones. We asked artists to get intrepid, to bring us their most urgent ideas, concepts and stories and to do it from the pit of their gut. They’re surpassing all expectations and are taking us places we’ve never been. The artists of Fringe 2016 are giving us idealists corrupted by power, examinations of politics and radicalism, couples dealing with cyber-ethics and sexploits gone awry. These shows give your heart and soul a workout as we witness how it all plays out.
We’ve got an icon in our midst – New York underground’s legendary Penny Arcade will battle against the gentrification of our souls, in a co-presentation with the Abbey Theatre on the Peacock stage. Also at the Peacock, choreographer Aoife McAtamney leads an ensemble of spirited performers in Age of Transition. Collapsing Horse assembles their biggest ensemble yet to retell the Roman epic, The Aeneid in their signature playful and high dramatic style. Artist Aoibheann Greenan ritualises Wagner in a visual maelstrom of bondage and rave-inspired totems, strobe lights and gold lamé at the RHA. We’ve gone crazy for talkshows – Alison Spittle, Lords of Strut and Dick Walsh each make the format their own. It’s a city takeover too. Yacht clubs, comedy bars, galleries, the Docklands and your favourite Temple Bar theatres come alive for Dublin’s landmark festival.
We’ve been busy strengthening our network with exciting cultural organisations abroad. We’re delighted to be collaborating with major cultural partners in Greece, Germany, Lithuania and Portugal as part of a network funded by the Goethe Institut. Co-producers of Brokentalkers’ new work This Beach, the Goethe-Institut has enabled us to bring Cláudia Dias’ searing Monday: Watch Out for the Right! to the National Stadium. She’s putting her dukes up in a fight you don’t want to miss. On the Canadian front, Fringe has found a kindred spirit in the vibrant SummerWorks Performance Festival – Toronto’s leading independent arts festival. With the support of the Ireland Park Foundation, we’re proud to host maverick artist Liz Peterson with her travelogue meets dance meets comedy Performance About a Woman and see Irish artists head off to SummerWorks in Toronto this August.
We’re so thankful for the stalwart support and close partnership with our core funders the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Dublin City Council Arts Office, and Faílte Ireland and Dublin City Council Events Office for helping us bring our Spiegeltent to life in Merrion Square. Our three year title partnership with Tiger Beer has grown from strength to strength – this year, Tiger’s raised the bar yet again in their support of Fringe and independent Irish arts. As ever, we’re proud to share their stripes.
This line-up is phenomenal. Diverse, compelling, magical moments abound. There’s something for everyone. Twice or three times over. There are artists you know and love making huge leaps, making their next and best thing. You’ll get acquainted with new voices, new talent, new combinations of makers from across disciplines. Fringe is the kind of festival where you can always hedge your bets; you’re certain to get bravery, quality, ambition. It’s the festival where you jump into the fray along with the hundreds of artists who will thrill Dublin this September. Fringe is made for adventurous types. The kind of person who likes to think big, laugh themselves sick and leave it all on the dance floor. The kind of person who hashes it out after the applause with mates, gets swept up by romance and won over by grit. That’s a lot of people in Dublin. That’s most certainly, definitely you.
Here’s your Fringe. Enjoy!
Kris Nelson, Festival Director and Ruth McGowan, Programme Manager