Melbourne Fringe unveils weird and wonderful boundary-pushing festival program

Melbourne Fringe unveils weird and wonderful boundary-pushing festival program

Reuben Kaye by Ayesha H Photography

Melbourne’s weirdest festival is back for 2020.

In the year of the impossible, Melbourne Fringe Festival has unveiled its 2020 program, promising a stacked festival full of weird, wonderful, thought-provoking and boundary-pushing art to tickle your fancy and alter your reality.

Undoubtedly the city’s weirdest arts and culture festival, this year will look a little different to what audiences are used to with 250 shows taking place either outdoors, digitally, in the home, via audio, behind glass or over the phone over 18 days this November.

Many artists in this year’s festival created their work in the most impossible, mid-pandemic circumstances, and the ingenuity and creativity of artists are in full swing.

It would be simply impossible to share details on each of the events, but highlights for this year’s Fringe include a nightly news spoof comedy show by comedy duo Game Boys featuring character interviews, sketches, surprises and special guests from the festival; a Ned Kelly installation by Australian contemporary artist Jacqui Stockdale; an interactive tongue-in-cheek masterclass wine tasting workshop; and Tomás Ford:…Come Have A Bath With Me, a live electronic pop performance performed from a bath, while audiences watch from home, also in a bath!

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know will have something for everyone. Inspired by the notion that lockdown
was an opportunity to take advantage of spare time and learn new skills, this event will see the likes of Nina Oyama, Clementine Ford, Ivan Aristeguieta, Karen from Finance, Geraldine Quinn and more deliver a five-minute tutorial covering anything from makeup lessons to circus tricks on the Melbourne Fringe Facebook page.

The People of Cabaret’s variety gala will showcase of cabaret artists of colour, featuring a dazzling array of performances beamed in from interstate and around the globe across three dates, while PLATFORM is a techno party inside a digitally-scaled recreation of The SUBSTATION building in Newport, where participants choose avatars and explore landscapes inside a private Minecraft server.

In exciting news for the city, Losing Touch will take place at Abbotsford Convent as one of the first in-person events post-Melbourne lockdown. This new performance artwork investigates touch, distance and technology in a dialogue-come-performance created in a long-distance collaboration between composer Antonia Barnett-McIntosh and performance artist Sara Cowdell. Another live event comes in the form of Big Day In, which sees Fringe music legend Ian Pidd lead a live band performance outside aged-care homes across Melbourne.

Returning for its second year, Fringe Club will continue the late-night party atmosphere synonymous with the festival, albeit from home with a series of events designed to have audiences pushing back the sofas, painting on the glitter and busting a move. This will include a pretty groovy suburb-by-suburb performance war in Fringe-O-Vision; a Karaoke Knockdown with Bae Marie; and Powder Room, which will see the ineffable Reuben Kaye get intimate with Fringe artists in a series of confessional conversations, peppered with lo-fi performances, DIY pantry make-up tips and other things better left unsaid.

“Melbourne Fringe this year really has done something impossible – we’ve created a festival with over 200 events under the most challenging circumstances, made by artists who have created extraordinary, timely, important and exciting new works. I can’t wait to share it with the world,” Creative Director and CEO of Melbourne Fringe Simon Abrahams said.

That’s all barely scraping the surface of what’s to come with this year’s festival program. Dive in online and discover the events for yourself.

Discover the unexpected at Melbourne Fringe 2020 from 12-29 November. To view the full list of events on sale now, head to