All aboard for Fringe

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 09:04 14/02/2013

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The Wellingtonian

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Sword swallowing, bike riding, murder mysteries, pods of whales - this year's Fringe Festival has doubled in size and organisers say it will be weirder and more wonderful than ever.

The festival starts on Friday, February 15 and runs until March 9.

It features 100 shows and 500 performances in 36 venues around Wellington. Last year there were 58 shows.

Fringe co-ordinator Hannah Clarke said she was excited about the festival.

"At nearly 50 per cent larger than 2012, the 2013 Fringe in Wellington is going to be awesome," she said.

"It's really exciting to see so many fresh new ideas and experiences planned for venues all over the city, and over 30 per cent is free or koha."

Creative Capital Arts Trust manager Emma Giesen said Fringe Festival was an open- access festival, which meant anyone could be part of it.

"Whether they have never put on a show before, or are experienced artists wanting to experiment with something new," she said.

"Fringe is a fantastic opportunity for people to push boundaries and step outside their comfort zone in a supportive environment - both artists and audiences alike."

Fringe publicist Brianne Kerr said she was excited by the weird and wonderful experiences awaiting Wellington audiences.

"There's sword swallowing, bike riding murder mysteries, pods of whales, podcasts, webisodes, musicals, magic, a circus and an 80s power ballad singalong."

This year interactive shows seem to be popular.

Wellingtonians can bring their own bucket and help Binge Culture save The Whales by Te Papa, become a bike riding homicide detective in Windypae's Wheels of Justice, or help create a new show at Wig Wam Jam.

People can revive their childhood chalk drawing skills on Friday, February 22 in ChalkBomb Wellington, a one-day event asking people to draw on Wellington's roads, footpaths, walls and more with chalk.

"Make something instant, something fragile, something beautiful," the synopsis said.

Fringe is also moving into cyber space. The Opinion Club and 15-02-13.com are available only via the internet.

15-02-13.com is a daily webisode about the day Josh came to town. Tune in every day to the website of the same name to follow Josh's adventures around Wellington with his friends.

The Opinion Club is a weekly comedy podcast downloaded from iTunes or theopinionclub.com. Host Penny Hall will banter with special guests on topics submitted by listeners.

Discretion is advised for young Fringe listeners because the show includes swear words.

Visual art is also a big part of Fringe this year. One of the must- see exhibitions is The Cuba St Project. Shop windows along the street will have photos and stories from its 172-year history. The photos will not only be of landmarks and buildings, but the people who have worked and lived on the street.

Viewers can engage with the project on the street and at cuba stproject.com.

BY THE NUMBERS

500 peformances

100 fringe events

36 venues/spaces

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23rd festival

10 Australians

3 weeks

- The Wellingtonian

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