Melbourne Fringe reveals 2019 Festival program

MF19 The Truth Booth - photo courtesy of Cause CollectiveWith over 455 boundary-pushing events from 2,718 participating artists across 140 venues, including the exciting new home of the Fringe Hub, Trades Hall, the Melbourne Fringe Festival returns from 12 September 2019.

This year Melbourne Fringe is In Search of the Truth. Cause Collective (US) invites its participants to step inside a giant inflatable speech bubble/photobooth confessional and take a seat in front of the camera’s curious eye and respond to the prompt: “The truth is…”

The participants’ truths will be collated into a public exhibition at Chapel off Chapel, projecting a diverse portrait of people within the community and across the world. Live art experience: 13 – 15 September, Prahran (various locations) and exhibition: 26 – 29 September, Chapel off Chapel.

Andi Snelling’s life has taken a spectacular wrong turn, leaving her fighting for survival. Little does she know, she is about to be rescued in the most profound way. Happy-Go-Wrong offers an intimate peek behind the curtain of those who face their mortality on a daily basis with unflinching honesty and life-saving comedy. And roller skates… Happy-Go-Wrong is her third collaboration with director Danielle Cresp and marks a triumphant comeback after three epic years away from the stage. 13 – 29 September. The Burrow, Fitzroy.

Michael Gow’s Toy Symphony was written at a time when white privilege and the toxicity of power in masculinity, heteronormativity and queer misogyny within the arts was at its peak; there has never been a better opportunity to challenge the norm and expose the grotesque horror beneath. 12 – 21 September. Meat Market: Stables.

Bryony Kimmings, one of the UK’s most significant performance makers, returns to Melbourne with her theatre show about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength in I’m a Phoenix, Bitch. In 2016, following postnatal breakdowns, an imploding relationship and an extremely sick child, Bryony nearly drowned. Now, she is able to deal with life again, but still wears the dark scars of that year. 11 – 15 September, Arts Centre Melbourne: Fairfax Studio.

Be sure to catch SOCIETY – the circus-cabaret of the season. Influenced by the best party on earth, Mardi Gras, the show combines Cajun party culture, French exuberance, Creole voodoo, masquerade and breathtaking acrobatics. 17 – 29 September, Fringe Hub: Trades Hall.

After touring the globe, the legendary cabaret YUMMY is back in Melbourne. The multi-award winning, fabulous ensemble present YUMMY DELUXE – a mix of new acts and YUMMY favourites of breath-taking drag, music, circus and burlesque. 9 – 29 September, Fringe Hub: Trades Hall.

Ancient Shrines and Half Truths is a satirical, immersive outdoor audio experience that takes travelers on a journey to discover hidden gems. Join performance alchemists Binge Culture on a guided adventure through Werribee, and navigate the township with the aid of a smartphone, an app and headphones. 18 – 22 September, Werribee War Memorial.

Transgression is the world premiere show from human rights advocate Jacob Thomas which explores the lived experience of being gender diverse after Australia passed marriage equality. Thomas has done a TED talk, met the royal family several times and been super active in advocacy for gender diversity. 24 – 28 September. Meat Market: Stables.

Well known for their international sensation, Elixir – smash hit of 2018 and winner of Best Circus and Physical Theatre Award at Adelaide Fringe (along with a slew of sold-out shows all over the world) – the boys from Head First Acrobats (HFA) premiere their latest high voltage offering, Railed – a Western-themed Circus Spectacular combining trademark physical talents, finely chiselled bodies, and impeccable comic timing. 12 – 25 September. Wonderland Spiegeltent, Federation Square.

Comedy highlights include Mormon Girl: the hilarious, bizarre and beautiful coming of age story of Jess, the eldest daughter of a rural Mormon family who taught her that her body was off limits. Born with a disability and no uterus, Jess takes off on a solo journey of self-discovery, learning all the things her doctors, priests and parents never thought to tell her. 21 – 29 September: Fringe Hub, Trades Hall.

With original songs from rising star Jack Lynch, Confessions from the Bell Jar is an hilarious and heartfelt cabaret about modern gay life and the perils of mental health – and the influence of Sylvia Plath on a gay boy from Toowoomba. 9 – 15 September. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne.

Club Fringe will host some of Melbourne’s best parties, including Rhythm Nation – a night dedicated to the one-and-only Janet Jackson, in celebration of 30 years of her iconic album (20 September, Fringe Hub, Trades Hall) and Kick On – a Fringe-style Grand Final party hosted by Betty Grumble (28 September, Fringe Hub, Trades Hall).

And if you want to escape the confines of a theatre, jump on a bus in St Kilda for Batmania, The Bus Tour. Presented by The Very Good Looking Initiative and Theatre Works, experience all that Batmania has to offer in this surreal, twisted comedy from 11 – 21 September. Theatre Works, St Kilda.

Melbourne Fringe was established in 1982 as an annual open access festival that champions cultural democracy and supports anyone to participate in the arts. Fringe programs include the annual design exhibition Fringe Furniture, participatory public art commissions, children’s programs as well as its First Nations program Deadly Fringe, disability and Deaf arts programs, mentorships, workshops, residencies, forums, awards and touring support.

The 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival runs 12 – 29 September. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Truth Booth – photo courtesy of Cause Collective