Floriade expands into Braddon

Floriade Fringe artists, Gavin Findlay, Charne Esterhuizen, Nina Gbor, Bambi Valentine, Anya Anastasia, Nomad the Magician, Frances McNair and Miriam Slater of Sweaty Pits. Photo by Martin Ollman.

“CANBERRANS come out of hibernation”, said ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr at lunchtime today (September 27) while he was describing the likely reaction of Canberrans to the inaugural Floriade Fringe, which will be held in Haig Park, Braddon from October 19 to 21.

Nomad the Magician tries a card trick on the Chief Minister

Armed with a grant of $250,000 promised by Mr Barr prior to the last ACT elections, the creative producers have engaged facilitators, the travelling bohemian carnival company and The Village Festival, who wowed the crowds in Glebe Park as part of Centenary of Canberra celebrations in 2013.

The Village Festival was described by its general manager Ariel Valent at the media launch today as “an alternative utopian environment where experimentation is the norm”. He predicted that Haig Park would be dotted with the “weird and the wonderful” – caravans and colourful tents in which there will be dancers, workshops and games.

“The Village Festival is not a travelling circus”, he said, but rather “a gift from the Canberra community to the Canberra community”, meaning that the technical crew, most of the performers and the food would be made in Canberra.

For his part, Mr Barr said he hoped the event would show the way in which Floriade could grow into other areas of the CBD in the future.

The program for Floriade Fringe is being co-curated by locals Chenoeh Miller and Gavin Findlay, who have assembled a team of performers, including Alison Plevey of Australian Dance Party, Nomad the Magician and Anya Anastasia, who were on hand to the give the media a glimpse of what was to come.

Mr Barr with some of the local Fringe performers

Floriade Fringe highlights will include artists-in-residence, the Australian Dance Party, performing its new work “Seamless”, as well as Anya Anastasia with her show “Rogue Romantic”, direct from the Edinburgh Fringe. The music program features L-Fresh the Lion (Sydney) and The Burnt Sausages (Melbourne) as well as Sydney funkster Thunder Fox.

Snuff Puppets, which has its roots in Canberra, will bring their “Snuff Skool” to the event and give lucky Canberrans a chance to learn the art of performing with giant street puppets. The Village will contribute its performative food stage, The World Kitchen, while Dr Graham Walker’s “Science Showoffs” will encourage active participation. The Village strangest Sideshow Alley, WonderWorld, will be in town as well as creative workshops, “So You Think You Can” interpretive dance and 10-minute dance parties.

The highlight of today’s launch was probably a magical card trick performed by Nomad the Magician, whose hapless assistant turned out to be the Chief Minister himself.

The inaugural Floriade Fringe, Haig Park, Braddon 5pm-11pm, Thursday, October 19, 5pm-1am, Friday, October 20 and 1pm–1am, Saturday, October 21. Entry by donation (all donations go to the artists and performers) + some ticketed shows.



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