WITH a bold and sassy programme of more than 70 productions, this year’s Cape Town Fringe – which runs in the city from 24 September to 4 October – promises to be a showcase of the best of South African theatre.
Audiences can look forward to an invigorating mix of new and original work spanning every genre, the organisers say. It is the second time this annual event will be held in the City.
Artistic Director Ismail Mahomed said the Cape Town Fringe was evolving its own artistic fingerprint – that of an engaged, original, and socially aware programme.
“It demonstrates how independent artists and arts companies are passionately engaging with the world around them and bringing that experience to their work,” Mahomed said, adding that more productions are likely be added in the coming weeks as contractual and other discussions are concluded..
While the programme comprises mostly theatre, dance, performance art, physical theatre, music, family theatre and magic will round off the 11-day Festival.
“The programme includes work that has left audiences stunned at other festivals and theatres, as well as fresh work from established companies and a selection of new voices. We believe it is an invigorating mix that will blow audiences away,” Mahomed said.
This year's line-up aims to offer a wide choice, ensuring that the Fringe matches the vibrancy and creativity of other Fringe Festivals worldwide.
"Audiences will be able to craft an amazing experience, drawing from productions that won the coveted Standard Bank Ovation Award at the recent National Arts Festival, through to original work that is devised and created specifically to premiere at this year’s Fringe,” he added.
A broad selection panel reviewed the proposals submitted for the Fringe this year. Led by Mahomed, it comprised Jaqueline Dommisse, Yazeed Kamaldien, Warona Seane, Sifiso Kweyama, Adrienne Sichel and Lynette Marais.
Produced by the experienced team at the National Arts Festival, the Cape Town Fringe will make use of venues in the City Centre, at the V&A Waterfront (for the first time in 2015) and Langa.
Notes V&A Waterfront CEO, David Green, ‘’As one of Cape Town’s most iconic public spaces, the V&A Waterfront has long been not only an attraction for all citizens of Cape Town, but a neighbourhood. The Fringe Festival is an extension of this inclusiveness, and we welcome the opportunity to be part of a vibrant cultural showcase. Through the Festival, locals can celebrate all that is unique about our eclectic multi-cultural city.’’
“The programme has a strong Cape flavor with locally based artists making up approximately 60% of the programme,” Fringe CEO Tony Lankester said.
More than 18 000 tickets were sold last year, and the event was estimated to have an economic impact of over R4-million, over and above its R2.7-million direct spend, Lankester said.
Local partnerships are crucial to staging the event, Mahomed said, highlighting relationships with initiatives such as the Zabalaza Festival, PANSA and ASSITEJ, all of which have made the programme “richer and more relevant”.
“The City of Cape Town is a proud supporter of a number of large events and the Fringe is one of these that attracts local and international participants and supporters. The economic spin offs of events hold enormous benefits for the city and its residents. The Fringe has helped Cape Town earn the enviable reputation of an events destination of choice. Moreover this event is part of the City’s commitments to ensure events for low seasons to address the challenges of seasonality on visitor numbers”. Said Councillor Garreth Bloor, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development
NEW ELEMENTS INTRODUCED TO CAPE TOWN FRINGE
Lankester said last year’s event had given the organisers a solid base from which to innovate: “We want to grow the event even more and we will be introducing some innovations developed as a result of open engagement with Cape artists and institutions earlier this year.”
Some of this year’s innovations include:
Patrons who book via the Cape Town Fringe website will be able to make use of the print-at-home-ticket function, reducing queuing time for patrons.
An enhanced and more user-friendly Cape Town Fringe mobile booking and planning app.
A stronger programme of events for schools and learner groups during the daytime.
Greater cognizance given to religious and other holidays in the planning process.
Expanding to venues beyond the City Hall precinct.
Partnering with Cape Town Tourism and a specialist travel agent to put packages together for visitors from other cities wanting to attend the Fringe.
More specials for workers in the City to attend shows during their lunch breaks. “Give us your lunch hour, we’ll give you a show and a sandwich,” say organisers.
A busier and more vibrant Fringe Club in the City Hall, where patrons will be able to meet for coffee, a glass of wine and a light meal.
Joining the City as a full sponsor of the event this year is Standard Bank, who will play host to the Standard Bank music stage in the City Hall.
“The venue will feature some amazing entertainment,” Jenny Pheiffer, Head of Brand and Group Sponsorships at Standard Bank said. “We are proud to continue our support for the arts in South Africa through the Cape Town Fringe Festival. For Standard Bank this is a natural fit and extension of our National Arts Festival sponsorship and we look forward to seeing the best new original work across all genres in Cape Town.”
Booking opens for the Fringe at the end of August at www.capetownfringe.co.za.