For the first time since the world-renowned festival began, Fringe will be hitting the streets of Leederville at YMCA’s HQ.
HQ partnered with The Gelo Company to work towards presenting performer workshops for the 16-25 year olds participating, and were also able to secure the involvement of Propel Youth Arts to lift the concept off the ground.
“We put the call out for expressions of interest and we thought we’d be lucky to get 8 or 10 but we ended up with 33 expressions which is 100 young people all together,” YMCA HQ centre manager Andrew Rigg said.
“We asked them what they were interested in in terms of development opportunities and we devised a program around that so we’re delivering workshops for them on public relations, marketing, event management, and social media.”
With the guidance of the performer workshops, participants of the Fringe program will deliver shows ranging from theatre, to stand-up comedy, music, spoken word and even several types of art exhibitions.
While Fringe doesn’t kick off until January 20th, HQ will have industry mentors from the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) in for a three month period, who will assist in training the participants in December and January ahead of their acts in February.
Combined with the backing of DCA, Drug Aware and The City of Vincent, HQ are able to invest these generous hours into mentoring the performers, to ensure the best results are achieved.
“We’re starting early so we’ve got the time to develop their shows,” Andrew said.
“A number of the young people are WAAPA students, but we’ve also got some young comedians coming down from Geraldton to perform which is really exciting.”
Andrew says he hopes the young people will gain invaluable on the ground experience from participating in the highly accredited event.
“Through the workshops and the development side of it they’ll get some new skills and that will help them as they progress in their careers, and the fact it’s part of such a world-class event will also help to kick-start their careers in the direction they want to go in,” he said.
With a wide network of Leederville businesses and community stakeholders keen to see Fringe come to Leederville, HQ hopes this will turn into an annual event.
“There’s been a few small scale events in the past but this will be the most significant Fringe event in Leederville and we’re keen to expand that and work with the broader Leederville community to work further with what we’re able to present,” Andrew said.
The shows will open on the weekend of January 27th, and will run on Friday and Saturday nights for the next three weeks after it opens.