Sarah Rohrsheim Fringe Fellowship Award Empowers 2023 Winner to Grow

Fri, Mar 8 2024
In the vibrant and ever-evolving world of art, certain moments stand out as monumental milestones that not only honour the creative journey of an artist but also catapult them into new realms of possibility and exploration. Such was the case for the talented duo who were last year's recipients of the prestigious Sarah Rohrsheim Adelaide Fringe Fellowship Award, complete with a $25,000 gratuity. This accolade is designed to recognise and support artists who demonstrate extraordinary potential and vision in their craft.
Three people standing in front of a glitter wall. The man on the left is wearing a hat and holding a laurel
Adelaide Fringe Award Ceremony. Photo: Jack Timberlake, Adelaide Fringe 2023
In this exclusive interview we delve into the transformative year following their award win, uncovering how the recognition and financial support have fueled their artistic endeavours - from constructing a unique tiny theatre in Stockholm to developing innovative material and engaging with global audiences. 

Check out our interview below with the magical Charlie Caper, one half of the duo to receive the coveted Sarah Rohrsheim Adelaide Fringe Fellowship Award. Charlie is again performing at Adelaide Fringe this year in 2024 where you can see his show ‘Charlie Caper: Magical’ at The Garden of Unearthly Delights. 

In this interview we delve into Charlie’s career and journey since winning the award, the intricacies of his creative process, and the unforgettable adventures that have not only shaped his artistic expressions but also broadened his horizons in the international art scene.

1. Congratulations on winning the Sarah Rohrsheim Adelaide Fringe Fellowship Award last year! How has the $25,000 gratuity impacted your journey as an artist over the past year?
Thank you so much. Receiving this award was an amazing recognition that made it clear that we were really on to something and gave us a push to continue developing in that direction. I have started creating a lot of new material and I have built a tiny theatre in Stockholm to use as a testing ground. The gratuity from the award creates so much room to explore and experiment.

2. Adelaide Fringe is known for its vibrant celebration of art in all its forms. How did winning such a prestigious award at the festival influence your approach to your art and your career?
Again, that kind of recognition was a sort of road sign showing us that we were moving in the right direction which is very valuable. I have also started working with a producer who is one of the best in the Fringe world so that I can focus even more on just the artistic side of things.

3. Touring the world as an artist presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Can you share some of the most memorable moments from your travels over the past year?
Adelaide Fringe is one of my favourite things, and I am pretty sure I will keep coming back every year for decades to come. But here are some memories from the year just gone.

Malin and I performed our show ‘More Minor Miracles’ in our home town Malmö in the beautiful Victoria Theatre, where I saw one of my very first shows at the age of 10 or so.

I performed on a ship off the coast of Iceland and got to wake up travelling through beautiful Icelandic fjords and see the incredible waterfall Godafoss, I just sat next to it for hours.

In Edinburgh I played chess with one of Mario The Maker Magician’s kids who beat me twice. I have been practising since then and we are having a rematch soon.
I saw The Sphere in Las Vegas, quokkas on Rottnest Island and got a standing ovation with my show ‘Magical’ from a theatre full of magicians at the British magic convention.

But the thing that stands out the most is normally the reactions from kids and adults in the audience. It is so fun to do a magic show and see the faces of people when they are experiencing real astonishment.

4. How has your art evolved during your travels? Are there specific places or experiences that have had a significant impact on your work?
I get inspiration from unexpected things generally. Art exhibitions, stories, dreams. I have seen quite a lot of good graphic art this year, so I have a feeling that will sneak into my work. I spend a lot of time trying to create an atmosphere in the room. And I got a lot of inspiration from a festival in Sweden called Borderland where there are a lot of fun mini-experiences that happen everywhere.

5. Winning the Sarah Rohrsheim Adelaide Fringe Fellowship Award is a significant achievement. How do you think this recognition has affected your visibility and opportunities in the international art scene?
The award facilitated connections with interesting figures in the industry and overall, the Sarah Rohrsheim Adelaide Fringe Fellowship Award has been a catalyst for growth, exposure, and new possibilities in my artistic journey on the international stage.
6. As a travelling artist, you have the unique opportunity to engage with diverse cultures and artistic communities. How have these interactions influenced your creative process and the themes of your work?
I have been a touring artist for more than 20 years and the first 10 of those I didn’t live anywhere, I just travelled full time, so for me interactions with diverse cultures and communities is incredibly deeply woven into all my art and also my innermost being. Exposing oneself to a wide variety of people, thoughts and cultures really opens up creativity. It is exciting to see how we as humans are both so incredibly different and at the same time so amazingly similar.

7. Looking back over the past year, what would you say has been the biggest challenge you've faced, and how did you overcome it?
For the Edinburgh Fringe last year I had planned an experimental show called the ‘Cult Classic Cabaret’. With extremely short notice the friend I had planned the whole show with, and who was an integral part of it, had to back out and I was left having to make a big, complex show happen every day for a month on my own (which was almost impossible).

In the end I managed to enlist a group of old and new friends from the street performing community who came to my aid, and while the show did not end up being what was originally planned, I am very proud of what we accomplished and really really grateful to the people who did it with me.
8. Finally, as you reflect on your achievements and experiences since winning the Sarah Rohrsheim Adelaide Fringe Fellowship Award, what are your aspirations for the future? How do you plan to build on this momentum in your career as an artist?
My aspirations are to create a new show for myself, plus another one together with Malin. I did an experimental show for three nights at Perth Fringe World where I tried out seeds of new material and creating an original magic show is very time consuming. If I try to make some kind of comparison, it would be like if I was a musician and I was writing a new album, but I also had to invent a new instrument for every song, build them in my workshop and play them live at the concerts. I expect it will take a few years until either of those shows is ready to present.

Career-wise I am very happy doing what I do. After winning ‘Sweden’s Got Talent’ 15 years ago I had pretty big opportunities with theatre tours and TV work, but being at Adelaide Fringe is a lot more fun. I am pretty happy to keep doing most of the shows I am doing now. My aims are about becoming a better artist. Connecting with audiences and communities and giving them experiences. Having fun and always learning something new. And some day perhaps helping younger artists develop their art.