Climate change protesters take to stage at official Fringe World launch

Local queer artists have crashed the official Fringe World launch this evening, urging for action on climate change and protesting the festival’s partnership with Woodside.

Performers Ash Traylia, Petro Vouris and Noemie Huttner-Koros took to the stage, calling for those attending to remember that they stood on the land of indigenous peoples.

“Please remember this is not our land. This is the land of the Noongar people, who have for millennia taken care of this land and treated it with respect.”

“We respect that this land was not ceded, and I stand here on stolen land.”

“Now is the time to act up for the future of humanity and the freedom of art.”

“We ask you to make sure that every audience you have at Fringe World this festival season knows where you stand on climate and partnering with any dirty fossil fuel corporations.”

Speaking to OUTinPerth, the trio of protesters explained why they decided to crash the stage.

“When I found out about the partnership between Woodside and Fringe, it didn’t sit well with me,” Traylia said.

“Once I’d learned about how social licencing works, I realised that I didn’t want my work to be in a web that ended with companies like Woodside having the ability to operate. So this is my stand against it.”

The protestors also explained they had written a letter to Artrage CEO Sharon Burgess, urging the organisation to source funding from elsewhere.

“We asked her to not renew the partnership with Fringe after 2021, so we’ve given them a deadline to find new funding and there’s plenty of ways that they can do that. It’s just about having the will,” Huttner-Koros said.

They made note of London’s Tate Modern art galleries, who recently ended their partnership with BP, among other organisations that had cut ties with fossil fuels.

“Neither the Edinburgh Fringe… Adelaide Fringe are sponsored by fossil fuels. We’ve got a list of recommendations.”

Attendees of the festival’s official launch included WA Minister for Arts and Culture David Templeman, among other MPs, Fringe World CEO Amber Hasler and Artrage CEO Sharon Burgess.

“We respect their right to peaceful protest,” Burgess told OUTinPerth, “It didn’t disrupt proceedings.”

“My concern is that the story from tonight may be about the protest, when we would want the story to be about the artists and the performers, which was what the launch was about.”

OIP Staff