Melbourne Fringe Festival returns with glorious boundary-pushing and experimental festival program 

Subscribe to Forte Magazine


Melbourne Fringe Festival returns with glorious boundary-pushing and experimental festival program 

YUMMY Deluxe, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2019. Photo by Theresa Harrison

Melbourne Fringe Festival 2021 will go ahead regardless of lockdowns.

Melbourne Fringe Festival returns for 2021 and has delivered an ambitious and ground-breaking program full of weird, wonderful, thought-provoking and boundary-pushing art in a celebration of Melbourne’s resilient artists and creatives after a supremely challenging 18 months.

Returning from  Thursday September 30 until Sunday October 17, this year stands as the biggest program in the festival’s history, with over 2,500 of the country’s established and emerging artists, actors, comedians, musicians, dancers, DJs and designers who will take over Australia’s cultural capital for two and a half weeks of boundary-pushing, experimental and formidably fabulous art. 

This year’s festival will go ahead regardless of lockdowns, with over ten per cent of this year’s events presented online and the rest of the program is able to be delivered digitally if restrictions prevent the festival from hosting physical crowds.

For many artists, this festival will be their first chance to respond after being unable to express their voice and their craft for months on end, with plenty of shows emerging with stories, ideas and bones to pick borne out of the pandemic.

The key takeaways

  • Melbourne Fringe 2021 is happening from Thursday September 30 until Sunday October 17
  • Over ten per cent of the festival will be presented digitally
  • This year’s program is the festival’s biggest yet, featuring over 470 events

Keep up with the latest festival news here

Held in unexpected places including small bookshops, street corners and bedrooms, as well as more conventional venues such as theatres, bars and galleries, Melbourne Fringe 2021 will host over 450 open-access artist events, as well as large scale public artworks, design exhibitions, concerts, films and more. With a record number of events this year, the festival will also expand to select regional venues as well, bringing experimental, avant-garde art events and parties of every flavour imaginable to more audiences than ever before.  

This year’s Melbourne Fringe theme is ‘Make Some Noise’ which will be interpreted through theatre, dance, music, visual arts, circus, cabaret and experimental arts, taking place online and in person.

Tackling everything from climate change and community to identity, feminism and protest, the program has something for everyone.

Melbourne Fringe 2021 will feature the likes of a giant playable musical instrument from leading Melbourne musician, Matthias Schack-Arnott; a VR Taiwanese art party at Loop Project Space & Bar; an avant garde furniture exhibition celebrating Melbourne’s extraordinary independent and emerging designers; a giant cardboard wonderland; and so much more.

“Victoria’s independent artists have proven themselves to be perhaps the most resilient and innovative in the world,” says Melbourne Fringe Creative Director & CEO, Simon Abrahams.

“At a time when artists are working under such extreme circumstances, it is extraordinary to see the community galvanise to create a Festival that is innovative, wild and celebratory. The need for Melbourne Fringe’s work has never been greater and I know audiences need this Festival now more than ever,” said Abrahams.

Melbourne Fringe is happening from Thursday September 30 – Sunday October 17. Visit the festival website for the full program and more information.