Freelance writer specialising in serendipity: the art of finding wonderful things by accident or sagacity. Comments and suggestions always welcome!
Free samples, cheap tix and offbeat delights
If you haven't been to the Perth Cultural Centre when Fringe World takes over, you've missed one of the biggest and coolest events on the Perth arts and entertainment scene. Two years ago when the Pearl Spiegeltent first appeared at the back of the Urban Orchard and the party lights glowed above vintage caravans and pink flamingos, I knew I'd found my summer hangout. The 2012 Fringe built on that small start and now Fringe World 2013 is bigger than ever.
Fringe festivals specifically encourage new talent and allow anyone to have a go. Fringe World is all about experimenting and the program is packed with shows: cabaret, comedy, theatre, circus, dance and some that don't fit comfortably into a single category.
Not all of the shows I attended last year were to my taste, but for an average price of $15 a ticket I wasn't too worried about it. Still it's nice to get some idea of what's on offer, check out the venues or grab some discount tickets, and the opening weekend offers the perfect opportunity.
Free Stuff Family-friendly The Fringe Four-day Weekend coincides with the Australia Day holiday, making it a perfect time to visit. While some of the shows are 18-plus, on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening there are some special programs for the whole family. To start, grab an Access All Areas pass that allows a behind-the-scenes look at some of the venues. With not one but two Spiegeltents, the Lunar Circus Tent and the Blue Room Theatre among others, this will make for an interesting wander around.
Now that you have your bearings, stop by the Urban Orchard on Saturday or Sunday afternoon for a free make-your-own Scarecrow Workshop, or take your pet to the Pet Photo Booth (free but bookings required).
On Sunday and Monday evening and on three weekends in February Spare Parts Puppet Theatre will be performing the epic two-hour show Mechronos, a time-travelling steampunk adventure.
Late-night I only discovered Silent Disco a few weeks ago and I can't wait to try it. Grab a headset, tune in to the DJ and get down to sounds that only you can hear. What will be more fun – participating or watching? Silent Disco is on at the Urban Orchard starting at 9 pm.
The Idolize Spiegeltent is the venue for cabaret until 2 am, free to anyone with a ticket from another Fringe show.
New this year is the Little Creatures Secret Garden, located behind a little door in the wall opposite the entrance to the Art Gallery. I don't know too much about it but it's described as a late-night Wonderland. How can I resist?
Nearly Free Stuff There are more than twenty shows on each night over the Fringe Four-day Weekend. Most shows are around $20 but as an opening weekend special, from 8 to 11:30 pm, every 15 minutes $5 tickets will be released to the box office. So for a bit more than the price of a takeaway coffee, you'll get at least an hour of entertainment. Sure it's a lucky dip but look at some of the things on that weekend:
Check the programs, hand over five dollars and cross your fingers!
Markets and more
To help celebrate the Fringe World Four-day Weekend OnWilliam are sponsoring the Laneway Night Markets. If you haven't been to these excellent markets you're in for a treat with more than 50 stalls of unusual and beautiful crafts, clothing, food and more, all by local independent vendors.
And last but certainly not least, at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the fabulous Picturing New York exhibition is opening.
So if you only go to Perth once in 2013 make it the Fringe World Opening Weekend - I guarantee it's Perth like you've never seen it before.