Syd­ney Fringe

This year’s fes­ti­val has a mas­sive new ware­house space ded­i­cated to live per­for­mance.

Time Out (Sydney) - - ARTS & CULTURE - By Dee Jef­fer­son

YOU DON’T THINK of Alexan­dria as a hon­ey­pot for Syd­ney’s arts scene. A drive from the in­ner city to the new Syd­ney Fringe Fes­ti­val hub, bor­der­ing Syd­ney Park, con­firms your im­pres­sions of the area as an ex­tended, di­lap­i­dated in­dus­trial es­tate: fac­to­ries, ware­houses, the odd show­room and fac­tory out­let. But come Septem­ber, one of these ware­houses (225 Eus­ton Road, Alexan­dria) will crank into life as an arts fac­tory, turn­ing out per­for­mance, in­stal­la­tions and ex­per­i­men­tal hy­brids. Dubbed the HPG Fes­ti­val Hub (after the build­ing’s owner, prop­erty de­vel­op­ers HPG), Syd­ney Fringe’s Alexan­dria out­post has a 7,000m2 ground­floor foot­print, which will be trans­formed into a Fes­ti­val vil­lage of sorts from Septem­ber 1: food truck, a Coop­ers Fes­ti­val Bar, and cur­tained-off sec­tions for per­for­mances, live mu­sic, ex­hi­bi­tions and screen­ings.

Syd­ney Fringe Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Kerri Glass­cock says, “The gift of space – this much space – is just so rare in Syd­ney. So when I found out that we had this ware­house, I put a call out through my net­works: ‘Bring me your Sleep No Mores! Your Secret Cin­e­mas!’ I’ve got whole floors of of­fices to play with in this build­ing.” One of the Syd­ney com­pa­nies work­ing in the same im­mer­sive ‘choose your own ad­ven­ture’ space as Sleep No More are Mon­grel Mouth, who de­buted in 2014 with their show The Si­lence Came, tak­ing over Surry Hills eat­ing house the Com­mons. For the Fringe, Mon­grel Mouth have cre­ated a site-spe­cific work called Un­der­tak­ing, which will take over one of those floors within the HPG Fes­ti­val Hub. Au­di­ences will be able to move around the space and fol­low the char­ac­ters and story threads of their choice, within a “multi-sen­sory thriller” in­volv­ing dis­ap­pear­ing peo­ple. Also play­ing the Hub is Whit­lams front­man – and Fringe am­bas­sador – Tim Freed­man, with a ge­o­graph­i­cally fo­cused set fea­tur­ing “songs of hunger, des­per­a­tion and ro­mance, in your twen­ties”. “There’s not enough little spaces [in Syd­ney] to see weird little stuff,” says Freed­man. “That’s where artists start, small rooms. And I’ll be proud to play one of those small rooms come Septem­ber.”

Artists from The Mys­ter­ies of Mad River: A Swamp-Folk Operetta and Heaps Gay’s Masqueer­ade

Syd­ney Fringe di­rec­tor Kerri Glass­cock

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