Auckland is pretty lucky, because when one festival ends, another one begins. Hot off the heels of the biggest Pride Festival yet, expression and inspiration doesn’t have time to take a break, because Auckland Fringe Festival is back for 2020.
The independent arts festival kicks off from February 25—March 7, celebrating Auckland's art scene— the weird and wonderful, and everything in between. We’re painting the town fluro and with events across all of Tāmaki, there’s something for the artist in all of us.
While there are many great and immersive experiences (more than 70 events over 12 days), Fringe-goers have some serious ground to cover. Featuring tonnes of theatre, comedy, dance and physical theatre, spoken word, music and live art, here are our picks at this year's Fringe Festival.
Returning to Aotearoa fresh off their European and North American tours, Māori metal band Alien Weaponry is headlining Fringe Festival to take the stage for one night, and one night only. Part of Auckland Live Fringetown which is taking over Auckland Town Hall, make sure you secure your tickets to be apart of what is sure to be the craziest mosh pit Tāmaki has seen so far in 2020.
When: Saturday 29 February, 7pm
Where: Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall
Who Lived In A Vinegar Bottle
Like a moth to a flame, you’ll find yourself enchanted by Who Lived In A Vinegar Bottle, a magical display of story telling using light. Award-winning lighting designer Rachel Marlow brings a multi-sensory installation based on her favourite childhood Brothers Grimm tale The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle. Be captivated by a dance of moving light and shadow as you follow a grumpy old woman whose every wish is granted by fairies, but can never be content.
When: Tuesday 25 February-Thursday 27 February, 6pm-8.40pm. Sessions every 20 minutes
Where: Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall
Cleaning My Room
Ah, procrastination. The writer of this article can relate (writing that sentence took two checks of Instagram). This is true for many remote workers and creatives: everything must be Marie Kondo’d before we can even THINK about trying to work. A cluttered space is detrimental to productivity, even if that space isn’t actually the one in which we are working. Head along to Basement Theatre to watch a performance art piece of a woman preparing to work on her art by cleaning her room for four straight hours. For an unforgettable experience that will teach you some much needed wisdom, book your tickets here.
When: Saturday 7 March, 6pm
Where: Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland Central
Dom And Matt’s Travelling Breakdown
From dog owner Dominic Hoey, also known as the author of last years poetry collection I Thought We’d Be Famous (!!!!) comes a live performance that is going to be a gaggle of things: variety show, poetry request hotline, poetry writing and performing of said poetry. Whilst Dominic types away on his typewriter, Matt Short of Sola Rosa fame serenades us all with songs “from dead country stars". Music to your ears and food for the soul, the event description describes it as “if you like your poetry misspelt, your music heartbreaking and your ideas stupid, then this is the event for you”. We’ll see you there.
When: Tuesday 3 March— Thursday 5 March, 7pm
Where: Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland CBD
Remember when Chlöe Swarbrick uttered those infamous words ‘Ok, Boomer’, and people of a certain generation just couldn’t handle it? Turns out, it’s really funny to make fun of the generation who detests younger generations for eating too many avocados and not saving for a house in Auckland (intense lol emoji) (lots of avocado emojis). As demonstrated by three comedians from Gen X, Y and Z; Colin Heary, Oliver Smith and Matt Combe have banded together to share stories of their day to day lives in a comedic bid to "defeat the boomers”. All generations welcome.
When: Thursday March 7—Friday March 6, 7pm
Where: Sweatshop Brew Kitchen (Velvet Room), 7 Sale Street, Freemans Bay
Off the back of Hawaiki Tū’s sold out show in 2019’s Fringe Festival, the haka-theatre group return to the stage (Auckland Town Hall to be specific) with their exciting new live exhibit, Taurite, as part of Auckland Live Fringe Town. Exploring the concept of haka and its roots as an indigenous and physical expression, this is going to be a vital and ritualistic experience you won’t want to miss. Mauri ora!
When: Saturday February 29—Sunday March 1, 4pm
Where: Auckland Town Hall, Concert Chamber, 301 Queen St, Auckland Central
The Works Of William Shakespeare By Chicks
As an adult, many of us now feel perfectly comfortable admitting something which is considered blasphemy to English teachers and most probably, the English language: we don’t like Shakespeare. Never have, and never will. That is, unless it’s adapted into a feature film starring Amanda Bynes or Heath Ledger. So how about this for a proposal: what if Shakespeare didn’t write his plays, and instead, it was actually written by a group of kick ass women from throughout history? Now you have our attention. Humpty Bong Community College Applied Theatre Level Four investigates, and you can grab your tickets here.
When: Tuesday 18 February— Saturday 22 February, 10pm
Where: Vault at Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland Central
Prefer to stay in? Here’s everything you should be watching right now.
Image credit: Who lived in a vinegar bottle for Auckland Fringe Festival