Fasten your seatbelts and hold on tight for the 23rd edition of the Dublin Fringe Festival – a show-stopping, heart-thumping 16 day and night extravaganza that pulls into town this September.
Dublin Fringe is Ireland’s largest multidisciplinary arts festival, the home to brave and new ideas, bold performing arts and adventurous audiences – it will stage a jawdropping 81 productions, 460 performances, with 49 world premieres in 34 venues, this year.This highly anticipated annual city takeover of performing arts and culture is almost here.
This year audiences can experience more Fringe in more postcodes than ever, in a festival that will light up and animate new city sites more than ever before. Everyone has a chance to engage, wonder, be challenged and become a messer as Fringe shakes up all our preconceived thoughts and shows you a new way of thinking – and the craic will be only mighty. Festival ticket prices will be competitively low as always and there’s lots of FREE stuff too!
The 2017 edition is gritty and ambitious, hard-hitting and sensitive while brandishing the perfect DIY soul. Taking stock of the world around us, Fringe walks right in the crossfire of world issues. It’s time to speak out – Fringe is making sure the right person has the biggest microphone and is relaying their important messages.
In this complete city take over, there will be special Fringe-fuelled international collaborations between Irish artists and their Canadian counterparts. Trophy by STO Union (Ottawa/Gatineau) creates a glowing pop-up tent city on Barnardo Square for the festival’s opening weekend. Inside, Dublin’s Change of Address reveal moments in their lives where everything changed. Town Choir from Theatre Replacement (Vancouver) and Tonnta (Dublin) transforms notable writers’ observations into choral song with a wry twist. Fringe is bringing ephemeral magic to familiar Dublin landscapes, in the hope of adding phenomenal artistic experiences to your memory maps of Dublin; whenever you pass by, a bit of Fringe magic will linger.
Now more than ever, connections with international artists and voices become hugely important. Talking of grit? Look no further than Lucy McCormick (London)’s Triple Threat, her megalomaniac one-woman (+ Girl Squad) retelling of the New Testament – where she stars in every ecclesiastic, fantastic role. Leading Italian company Motus (Italy) serves up their sensational MDLSX – an explosion of memoir and gender fluidity featuring one of the most ferocious performances you’ll ever see. Both of these are part of Neighbours – international disruptions from Fringe and Project; a brand new partnership that brings us some of the best of the world stage to Ireland. Add to that Fringe and the Abbey’s co-presentation of pioneering transgendered artist Ivan Coyote’s bliss-inducing Tomboy Survival Guide (Canada) – a campfire of fearless songs and stories on gender we’ll all want to gather around. One of Brazil’s hottest young theatre companies, Grupo Tripé makes their international debut at Fringe with Entre Quartos (Within Rooms), a searing take on the lives and loves of 20-somethings in Brasília.
Irish artists too are calling the nation to account. Grace Dyas (THEATREclub) and Emma Fraser (NINE CROWS) create a waiting room that holds an archive of testimonies from women who have travelled to access abortion services, asking them what was different in NOT AT HOME. Dance duo, Junk Ensemble grapples with violence and PTSD as experienced by Ireland’s military with Soldier Still (pictured above). Amanda Coogan and Dublin Theatre of the Deaf make a welcome return this year in a new work that will appropriate Teresa Deevy’s play The King of Spain’s Daughter: Talk Real Fine Just Like a Lady. Luke Casserly deconstructs the controversial events surrounding the Kerry babies case of the 1980; and Sahar Ali gives a one woman show exploring Irishism, Arabism and racism that provokes queries like these; and wheelchair user, disability activist and journalist Louise Bruton makes a colourful exploration of sex and disability. Headlines, back-room whispers, unspoken myths hailing from all corners of the island inspire artists from Belfast, Galway, Laois, Donegal and Waterford (and a whopping ten ‘of em from Cork!). The all-island, all-Ireland presence has never been stronger at Fringe.
Fringe offers something for everyone across theatre, music, opera, dance, arts, comedy, circus, spectacle, live art and a mash up off all or some of the aforementioned – there’s an opera by Benjamin Britten, a finely tuned choreography of nine women with buckets at Meeting House Square; pop ups in Georgian Dublin; a Tribe of music at the Chocolate Factory; with meeting points at Baggot St Archways and Docklands LUAS stops and the last of the old warehouses in the docks area too; Some Sugar Coat’ing in a bookshop; and the opportunity to go On the Pop at Fumbally Exchange; There will be shows in our native language (aon mhac tíre nó roinnt mic tíre) and a pajama man that returns as a TRUCKER. Show In A Bag has four more amazing offerings at Bewley’s Café Theatre and there will also be some Fierce Notions – but that said, it’s Fringe and everything goes!
Dublin Fringe Festival makes its momentous first foray onto the Abbey Theatre’s Main stage with Foil Arms and Hog’s brand new show OinK in a special late night series. And if comedy is what you’re after, Alison Spittle, Conor O’Toole and Davey Reilly make much-anticipated returns and Pajama Man’s Shenoah Allen premieres a new solo about a man transforming into a truck. Be sure to catch red-hot Fringe debuts from Jessie Doyle, Luke Casserly, Hannah Mamalis,,Sahar Ali, Erin McGathy and Sugar Coat Theatre Company.
Young Radicals: Fringe for Kids is the first Fringe programme made for and by young people and is co-presented with Collapsing Horse – the line up features breakout new shows from LORDS OF STRUT and THISISPOPBABY with LORDS OF STRUT: ABSOLUTE LEGENDS; Birdy, whose quest to form the best band in the world created by Jane Madden and Ross Gaynor; Cobra’s Quest, an epic adventure podcast for under 12s written by 7-year old Cadhla McAnally; international hit for under-fours, Whoosh! (Netherlands), a world where the only spoken language is music; and a very special Young Hearts Run Free featuring teen bands and Dublin’s glitterati in a gig for ages 15 and up in Teen Dream. Young comedy forms itself in the shape of Monster LOLs: Stand-up Comedy for Kids. Tell your friends, bring the chiselers (and grown-ups, we won’t blame you if you sneak in by yourself) as everyone is welcome and will be thoroughly entertained.
DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL 2017 runs city-wide from September 9 – 24. All Fringe events are now on sale at fringefest.com or 1850 FRINGE (1850 374 643) from 30th August.
All images courtesy Dublin Fringe Festival; Trophy photo by Dahlia Katzphoto; Soldier Still photo by Fionn McCann; photo of Foil, Arms and Hog by Luca Truffarelli