Fringe 2023 Update : Dunedin Fringe Festival

Fringe 2023 Update

Statement from Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust Director Gareth McMillan

Wednesday 12th October 2022.

After substantive feedback from our community, the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust has made the decision to proceed with our 2023 cornerstone event, the Dunedin Fringe Festival: an eleven day, open access celebration of visual and performance art, experimentation, and creative risk taking. After several critical applications for grant funding were declined this year, the 2023 Fringe was thrown into doubt. Director Gareth McMillan explains why the festival will now go ahead:

“It was really important for us to go back to our artists and the venues that host Fringe events before making any decision. With nearly 70 people reaching out with thoughts and recommendations, the huge response really affirmed the significance of this festival to Dunedin, and to local and visiting arts practitioners. We’ve chosen the most palatable of our difficult options, which is to deliver Dunedin Fringe in March 2023, albeit with less production support than we normally provide. We are so grateful to all the artists and venue operators that have helped guide us in making this decision.”

Event registration and applications for Fringe Artist Grants will open on Monday 17th October 2022. An ‘early bird’ registration will be offered for the first month, reducing fees for all events by $100 and ensuring free and digital events only need to pay a $50 bond during this time. Offering early bird registration is a gesture of good faith: a way we can offer support to grassroots practitioners when other sources of support we usually offer are affected by our reduced funding levels. The closing date for registrations will be adjusted to 27th January 2023. Given Dunedin Fringe’s reduced funding levels, we are sadly unable to offer the full range of services we normally provide, including a full printed programme, an Opening Night Showcase, and Fringe Award cash prizes.

Events (presented by NZ citizens or permanent residents) will still be able to apply for a Dunedin Fringe Artist Grant, with the total funding available being dependent on additional income being raised by the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust. We have applied for a Round Two Creative New Zealand (CNZ) Arts Grant to support the Fringe Artist Grants, and therefore won’t be able to decide on these allocations until after CNZ’s round is announced on the 9th December. Our community have also indicated they would like more opportunities to show financial support for the Fringe; we’re seriously considering how crowdfunding/philanthropy could be used to increase the pool of Artist Grants available for our artists.

Despite the need to reduce some services next year, 2023 has some exciting developments, including the return of international performers to the programme and a new initiative for Pacific artists courtesy of Creative New Zealand. The CNZ Pacific Arts team has contracted the Auckland, NZ (Wellington), and Dunedin Fringe Festivals for three years to offer an annual award and better funding support for Pasifika artists. Dunedin Fringe will use this opportunity to increase engagement with Pasifika communities and ensure they are integral to the process of allocating these additional resources.

We’d like to thank all our supporters, especially those who contacted us in recent weeks. It’s really heartening to know that people love our Fringe as much as we do. We’ve read heart breaking and soul uplifting comments, and have shared these with significant decision makers. Here’s one such comment a Fringe artist shared about what cancelling Dunedin Fringe would mean:

“It's not so much what it would mean for me as what it would mean for all of us who love the Fringe and who benefit from its survival. It is a breeding ground for new talent, a workshop for existing talent and an experimental safe space for all artists, all of which are fundamental to Fringe festivals and which Dunedin Fringe offers and delivers in spades. There are other festivals around the country, yes, but with a cost-of-living crisis going on and life just generally being that bit more expensive, for southern artists who want a platform to perform to reach a wider audience, the Fringe is a lifeline and even just one year gone, it could severely impact on those people.”

Further information:

Gareth McMillan

Director, Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust



About Us

The Dunedin Fringe Festival is the world’s southernmost Fringe Festival. Initiated in 2000, Dunedin Fringe aims to bring experimental contemporary art to a wider audience and to support the work of emerging artists. Dunedin Fringe is an annual event which happens every March timed to coincide with other fringe festivals in New Zealand and Australia.

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Our Contacts

Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust
PO Box 1331
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

03 477 3350