Audiences Flock To Fringe In Record Numbers

Tue, Mar 15 2016
Audiences have shown their love for the Adelaide Fringe by attending shows, events, exhibitions, films and workshops in record numbers in 2016.
Audiences have shown their love for the Adelaide Fringe by attending shows, events, exhibitions, films and workshops in record numbers in 2016. 

With the Fringe having entertained audiences for more than 50 years, Adelaideans have turned out in droves to this year’s Adelaide Fringe and snapped up more than 600,000 tickets to shows big and small – an increase of 12 per cent compared to last year. 

Encouragingly, the ticketing split between the three major outdoor hubs (the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Gluttony and Royal Croquet Club) and smaller venues was almost even this year. The three major outdoor hubs saw 60 per cent of total ticket sales, while other venues accounted for 40 per cent of total ticket sales. 

The Adelaide Fringe was truly brought to life this year by more venues than ever, with both longstanding Fringe haunts and new spaces getting in on the action. From decommissioned homes for the criminally insane to laundromats and everywhere in between, you name it and it was a Fringe venue this year. 
Adelaide Fringe Director Heather Croall, who oversaw her first Fringe this year, attributed the resounding success to adventurous Fringe-going audiences, an impressive program of extraordinary events, outstanding venues and the amazing team working on the Adelaide Fringe. 

“I would like to thank Adelaide audiences for their discerning taste and dedication. It is extremely rare to find a city anywhere in the world that has the energy to come out every night of a month long festival. 

“The calibre of Fringe shows in this year’s program across all genres has been of an incredibly high standard and ticket sales suggest that audiences have loved what they’ve seen. Between shows, audiences were delighted by the Fringe Illuminations along North Terrace, which attracted over 160,000 people.
“The Adelaide Fringe wouldn’t be possible without the tireless work of the 300 people employed by the Adelaide Fringe, the more than 300 volunteers and countless others employed by hubs and venues for the Adelaide Fringe,” Ms Croall said. 

This year saw more than $20,000 donated to the Adelaide Fringe Artist Fund from generous Fringe-goers. Excitingly, this mammoth number will be matched by Creative Partnerships Australia Plus 1, meaning a total of $40,000 in grants will be available for the 2017 Fringe. This important fund enables the Adelaide Fringe to ease the challenge of producing a Fringe show for newcomers and 2015 saw eight grants of up to $5,000 each awarded to selected Australian artists. 

Through government and corporate support, the Fringe was once again able to deliver amazing free public events such as the Fringe Illuminations, the Fringe Parade, the Unfold Fringe in Rundle Mall stage, the Fringe Street Theatre Festival, Desert Fringe in Port Augusta, Fringe at Lourdes and Fringe on Tour at Westfield shopping centres, Flinders University, Goolwa and Semaphore. 

With a new route along North Terrace, this year’s Fringe Parade saw a record 66,000 people (up from 57,000 for the 2015 Parade) line North Terrace to see 80 spectacular floats and catch a glimpse of Fringe Ambassador Julian Clary.
“The Fringe offers something for everyone’s tastes and budgets and we’re thrilled by the huge number of people who attended Fringe’s free events in the CBD and across the regions this year,” Ms Croall said. 

The outstanding quality of work presented in this year’s Fringe is evidenced by the 118 shows that were awarded four or more stars by The Advertiser. A massive 25 shows received five stars including theatre productions The Road That Wasn’t There, A Gambler’s Guide to Dying and Echoes by Henry Naylor, cabaret luminaries Hot Brown Honey, music events California Crooners Club with Hugh Sheridan and State Opera SA’s The Magic Flute, comedians Sammy J and Frank Woodley and the genre-straddling Penny Arcade with Longing Lasts Longer

Ms Croall also acknowledged Julian Clary’s involvement as the 2016 Fringe Ambassador. 

“As our first international Fringe ambassador, Julian has done a fantastic job of spreading the word far and wide about our amazing festival,” she said. 

Adelaide Fringe Chair David Minear said “this year’s Fringe has been embraced wholeheartedly by the people of Adelaide and South Australia. The record ticket sales are proof that Fringe-going audiences are willing to jump right in and experience everything the Fringe has to offer. 

“As well as to the artists and audiences, a great deal of credit must go to our talented, tireless Fringe Director and CEO, Heather Croall and her dedicated, hard-working team. With this year’s Fringe, Heather has built on previous successes and has infused the much-loved event with her own signature energy. 

“We are also immensely grateful to the many corporate partners who support the Fringe. They are part and parcel of our DNA and success”. 

On the opening night of this year’s Adelaide Fringe, audiences took advantage of BankSA’s Take a Friend for Free campaign, with a total 1,272 tickets sold. BankSA’s Support Act program saw 880 tickets sold to shows by independent and emerging artists by subsidising ticket prices to the public. 

BankSA Chief Executive, Nick Reade, also congratulated the Adelaide Fringe team on staging another successful, record-breaking Fringe. 

“We’re proud to support an event that makes such a significant economic contribution to the state, while at the same time doing what we can to ensure the Fringe is more fun, accessible and cost effective for South Australians,” Mr Reade said. 
“What matters to South Australians matters to BankSA, which is why we love supporting the Fringe and are already looking forward to another fantastic program in 2017.” 

The 2017 Adelaide Fringe will take place from 10 February – 12 March 2017. 

2016 Fringe Facts 
  • 2016 Adelaide Fringe featured more than 5000 artists, 1100 shows and 430 venues
  • The program featured 228 music events, 24 interactive events, 112 cabaret shows, 35 circus and physical theatre shows, 305 comedy events, 12 magic events, 32 dance shows, nine film events, 151 theatre productions, 111 art and design exhibitions, 58 children’s events and 45 special events. Magic was a new genre in the 2016 Fringe, as was the interactive genre. 
  • Adelaide Fringe produced 11 special free events, including the Fringe Illuminations, the Fringe Parade, Unfold Fringe in Rundle Mall, Fringe Street Theatre Festival, the Kaurna Sunrise Ceremony, Desert Fringe in Port Augusta, Fringe at Lourdes, Fringe in Goolwa, Fringe at Westfield, Fringe at Flinders and Fringe at Semaphore. 
  • More than 600,000 tickets sold – an increase of 12 per cent on last year’s record sales. 
  • 160,000 people promenaded along North Terrace to view the spectacular Fringe Illuminations. 
  • 66,000 people lined North Terrace to watch the Fringe Parade on opening night. 
  • 136 festival directors and arts venue presenters participated in Honey Pot, a program to support directors to buy artists’ shows for their festivals. 
  • The Adelaide Fringe is the second largest fringe festival in the world behind Edinburgh
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Tim Mason, 0433 923 848, 
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