Fringe World closes with local shows dominating the awards

Fringe World has come to an end with local shows dominating the festival awards which were announced on Sunday night.

The awards are given to the best shows in each genre category, plus there are a bunch of special awards, with winners receiving cash, development support and direct touring opportunities.

The Martin Sims Award is the top prize of the Festival, recognising the best new Western Australian work that is destined to succeed on the world’s stage. This year the award was split between two productions.

The 2019 Martin Sims Award was announced by outgoing Fringe World boss Marcus Canning.

“I was thrilled to announce two winners this year that embody everything great about our state and its creative future and everything that is good about this powerhouse of a festival,” he said.

“YUCK Circus are a group of powerful and talented young women originating from the Kimberley and Freo who are destined to do great things internationally and Rest by WA Youth Theatre Company is one of the most profound works we’ve seen at Fringe World over the last eight years. We can’t wait to see these shining WA talents shoot for the stars.”

The 2019 Martin Sims Award winners each receive $10,000 and touring opportunities to other Fringe Festivals through the World Fringe Alliance.

Rest also won the Theatre award and West Australian Arts Editor award. The production staged in the East Perth graveyard had garnered widespread praise and is the latest work from the WA Youth Theatre Company who have created a string of intriguing productions under the guidance of Producer James Berlyn.

The Blaz Award for best writing for performance by a WA writer was given to the show Poorly Drawn Shark. The provocative theatre piece was created by local performers Andrew Sutherland and Ming Yang Lim, and touches on homosexulaity and both men’s expeirences of living in Singapore.

Drag theatre troupe Yummy won the Cabaret Award for their revamped show Yummy Deluxe, while the WA Cabaret winner was Golden Age Girls.

Mr Gorski was the winner of the Children’s Event Award, while two WA productions Maisie and Magnus’ Explosion Laboratory were also highlighted.  The Circus award went to Phat Cab Club, while the WA winner was Critical. 

Tom Gleeson won the comedy award with his show Joy, while the WA winner was UMar Azad with Halal? .. is it meat you’re looking for?? Icarus and Watering took out the dance category, while the film and multimedia section also saw joint winners with Twelve Films Heart and The Divine Feminine.

Theatre production Feminah also won several awards. Actor Charlotte Otton picked up the ECU Performance Award, while the show picked up the Melbourne and Sydney Fringe Tour Ready awards. The Adelaide Fringe Tour Ready award went to YUCK Circus.

The awards ceremony was a bittersweet moment for Canning who is retiring from Artrage, the company behind the FRINGE WORLD Festival, after 17 years leading the organisation.

Under Canning’s leadership, the Festival has been rapidly grown to become the third largest in the world in terms of tickets sold and is recognised as having transformed the cultural life of Perth and its vibrant summer festival season.

“I have loved being part of growing something that’s been a game changer,” Canning said in a media release. “Fringe World is a festival that will continue to grow successfully into the future because the people of Perth love it and take great pride in it being a part of who we are.

“It will continue to attract the most colourful talent from around the world and be a fertile ground from which our local artists can be launched onto the world stage. It’s a great time to welcome the next organisational head to continue Fringe World’s journey.”

Canning leaves the organisation in a strong position with healthy reserves, long term funding and sponsorship partnerships secure and a fantastic team in place excited to work with a new CEO, with the results of an international recruitment process being announced in coming weeks.

Fringe World 2019 saw a 25% increase on box office sales compared to last year with $11.5 million in sales, over 400,000 tickets were sold.

Amber Hasler, Fringe World’s Festival Director said that the Festival saw growth in a number of programs including extended seasons of the popular Sunset Veranda Fringe offering in Scarborough.

“Audiences have been loving the new Festival offerings this year including a packed program at The Woodside Pleasure Garden, a new hub at Yagan Square and new programs popping up in Subiaco and Bassendean,” Hasler said.

“This year more than ever before it felt like every suburb and local community embraced all that the Fringe has to offer with shows performing in Fringe venues appearing in 39 residential suburbs and Fringe customers coming from all over our city and beyond.”

Regionally the Funtavia program extended for an additional weekend in Geraldton and the Festival entertained smaller regional towns with the Outer Fringe Tour reaching to Merredin, Katanning, Ravensthorpe and Northam.

Although the Festival season is over, there’s one final chance for some Fringe entertainment with popular shows La Soiree, A Midnight Visit and Blanc de Blanc having extended seasons with shows running til March.

OIP Staff, source: media release, image: Rest.