Dunedin artists dominate 2017 Fringe Festival Awards
After a non-stop eleven-day explosion of art, music and performance, Dunedin Fringe 2017 marked its final night with the Festival’s annual Fringe Awards. Artists, staff, crew, friends and whanau gathered at the Festival’s buzzing pop-up venue, the Emerson’s Festival Club, to celebrate excellence, innovation and achievement in Fringe 2017. The annual awards acknowledge the Festival’s outstanding events, performers and artists, and recognise the contributions of the Festival’s volunteer crew.
This year’s Fringe judges came from a range of different arts-industry specialisations and were selected by the Festival to provide comprehensive collective knowledge and experience. They deliberated for hours before settling on the best acts in each of Fringe’s seven categories and choosing the events and individuals from across all genres of the Festival’s programme to receive accolades for exceptional artistic achievement.
Discussions took 90 minutes longer than planned, with judges keen to extend their lively and passionate conversations about this year’s Fringe. Festival Director Josh Thomas was pleased that Dunedin artists and events were represented across the spread of nominations but didn’t envy the judges’ job. “Identifying potential nominees and winners from all of this year’s quality, diversity and exciting new work can’t have been easy,” he said. “Fringe 2017 was full of high calibre work, I’m especially proud that so much local talent is up there with the best of it.”
Dunedin artists dominated the Visual & Performance Art and Multi-Media & Film categories, with six of the seven nominated events – including Anything Could Happen: Strange Echoes of the Dunedin Sound, Frankenfoot; and The Odeon – Drive in Cinema – strongly imbued with quintessential Ōtepoti influences and perspectives.
The Warwick Broadhead Award was established last year in memory of the performance artist to recognise extraordinary talent, originality and creativity that pushes boundaries and expectations. This year’s recipients were Murdabike, Ōtepoti’s intoxicating avant-garde sound and light act. After wowing Princes Street in the Black Box last year, the intriguing duo was back for Fringe 2017, taking to the stage at the Town Hall to set the scene for the Opening Night Showcase. Also in its second year, the Festival Director’s award for Special Contribution to Festival Life went to Fringe’s Production Manager Dallas Synnott. “Dallas does an incredible job planning and executing the Festival’s most complex high-profile events, her professional abilities alone make her a worthy recipient of this award,” said Mr Thomas. “Dallas also brings unwavering dedication to her work; a real dedication to every Fringe artist, colleague and audience member. Her contribution to Festival Life over the past three years can not be underestimated.”
Best in Fringe was awarded to Body Map, the cabaret spectacular from last year’s Best in Fringe nominee, Glitta Supernova. The Sydney artist’s trademark red-light surrealism broke new ground. Body Map’s savvy socio-political commentary on objectification and beauty myth pulled no punches, garnering her Fringe 2017’s Award for Outstanding Performance as well as this year’s top prize.
Awards Night also offered the chance for Festival organisers to thank volunteers and supporters for the extraordinary generosity and talent that they bring to the Festival each year. Mr Thomas expressed how much the Fringe team valued the energy, generosity and passion of its volunteer base, saying “Fringe simply couldn’t be Fringe without you.”
A list of all Dunedin Fringe 2017 nominees and winners is available here.