Pink lights flood Perth city, poster banners line busy Northbridge streets, and the hum of culture and arts is pulsating. There’s the smell of food trucks wafting through the air, the glitter on artists’ costumes sparkling as they pass you by, and the overwhelming sense of anticipation stings through the atmosphere. It’s Fringe.
It’s a time to see extravagant shows, immerse yourself in theatre, and be challenged in your way of thinking. It’s time to see jaw-dropping circus and acrobats, be captivated by moving theatre, and experience some weird and wacky shows. ’Tis the season of Fringe, and I hope you all are celebrating.
I seriously think every person in Perth can get something out of this Fringe season, and I strongly encourage each and every one of you to go and see at least one show. If Marky Mark (Mark McGowan for those playing at home) can go to Fringe and be photographed hula-hooping then hey, so can you.
It may be my unbelievable bias talking in this matter, seeing I was lucky enough to be involved in a Fringe show myself this year, but it’s not just that. Being at one of the main hubs for Fringe, Girls School in East Perth, I was blown away by the culture and atmosphere that this festival brings.
There are people of all ages out and about enjoying shows and discussing them with their friends after, and the buzz of the festival is electric. Here’s a city that’s known for its laid-back beachy lifestyle, completely immersed and focused on culture and the arts, and celebrating creative individuals.
The 2021 Fringe World Festival marks the 10th year of its run in Perth and makes a significant contribution towards the arts and culture in WA. It’s something that has largely brought the community together in Perth and is definitely an event marked clearly on the calendar of many households.
What’s interesting about this year’s festival, is the increase in local acts and artists. Making the most of local talent, and experiencing the festival knowing that the talent is mostly homegrown, is something really quite special.
The festival itself encompasses an array of different acts: from circus to theatre, to stand-up comedy and burlesque. I can honestly say that there is, without a doubt, something for everyone.
We are so incredibly fortunate to be able to experience the festival this year, given the ongoing hardships of many other countries with the COVID-19 pandemic, and I certainly don’t think this is something to be taken for granted.
Seeing a Fringe show this festival season not only enriches your lifestyle and wellbeing, but it gives you a connection to other people. Theatre and performance connect us and gives us a shared experience, and there’s something so electric about that.
I can still remember the first theatre show I ever saw, the musical The Lion King, and it fills me with such happy and nostalgic memories. Although I was equally terrified and amazed as a 6-year-old seeing giant animals process down the aisle of seats in the opening number, I remember that feeling of being completely engrossed and captivated by what I was seeing. For a moment in time I was in the story too, and I was peering into a story that wasn’t my own. That’s why I love seeing shows: I crave that feeling and connection.
You might not experience such a euphoric moment as my somewhat life-changing Lion King moment as a 6-year-old, but you sure will get pretty close. Fringe is all about getting out there and seeing something new – experiencing something different.
There’s nothing greater than that the post-show analysis after seeing a particularly engrossing and captivating piece of theatre – “I loved the way the lighting captured the inner thoughts of the characters”, or “the physical theatre really added a dimensionality to the show” – you know, things of that nature. Just me? Okay, that’s fair.
But seriously, I can’t rave enough about the atmosphere and culture this festival brings, and as your Lifestyle Sub-Editor for 2021, it is my civic duty to inform you all of events which will well, improve your lifestyle.
This is why I’ve taken it upon myself to write up my ‘Top 10 reasons to head to Fringe this year’, so listen up.
Reason #1: There are just so many Fringe shows – you’re bound to find something that at least piques your interest.
Reason #2: The shows themselves are pretty reasonably priced, so it’s not going to be an expensive night out on the town.
Reason #3: To see something that may challenge you or your way of thinking. We see ourselves in theatre and sometimes that helps when dissecting the issues we are facing around us.
Reason #4: Those pop-up bars and food vans are naughty-naughty and they definitely were teasing me, but they are pretty fabulous.
Reason #5: The people who write some of these shows are just so bloody clever, and it’s refreshing to see different ideas being shared. Have you got your ticket yet?
Reason #6: It’s a great little holiday activity for a group of friends to take their mind of the fact that the uni semester is about to begin.
Reason #7: The ‘reacts’ function on the Fringe App is just a lot of fun isn’t it?
Reason #8: Most of the shows are not too long, so you can definitely see more than one show on one night – the more shows the better!
Reason #9: It only happens once a year for a month, and there’s nothing else quite like it – seriously, are you convinced yet?
Reason #10: Fringe is the best. Full stop. Period.
My reasons to head to Fringe might get increasingly less convincing throughout that list, but hopefully you get the point (I really think everyone should go to Fringe – just wanted to write that out in full in case there was any confusion).
It’s a festival that brings people together, shares interesting stories, makes comment on aspects of society, and encourages people to believe in the magic that the arts provides.
Courtney was transported back to quite a real place thinking about her euphoric ‘Lion King’ musical watching experience, and is currently paying for her Disney+ subscription.
Words by Courtney Withers
Image courtesy of Fringe World.