The city of Melbourne is set to become even more lively, accessible and inclusive, with this year's Melbourne Fringe kicking off tomorrow.
Huge crowds are expected to enjoy the magical performances including shows by almost 200 artists who are deaf or living with disability.
Fringe Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer Simon Abrahams describes the Melbourne Fringe as “exciting, engaging, celebratory and revelatory”, representing the diversity of the city.
“This year, we are thrilled to have 198 artists who identify as deaf or with disability performing (or presenting work) at this year’s Festival – which we hope is going to be the most inclusive and accessible Melbourne Fringe ever,” he says.
Mr Abrahams says inclusion and accessibility are the “absolute key drivers and core values” of the event.
“We want to ensure that everybody can access art – as performers and as audience members.”
“As an open access festival, the idea of accessibility falls at the heart of our work – we want to reduce all barriers to access so any citizen can participate in the cultural life of their city.”
He says the Melbourne Fringe is thrilled to support people who are living with disability or deaf express themselves, be activists and make a living through the arts.
Carly Findlay, a proud woman with disability works as Melbourne Fringe’s Access and Inclusion Coordinator.
In this role she works alongside people who identify as living with disability or deaf to ensure they have the opportunity to participate in the Melbourne Fringe, as well as ensuring shows and venues become more accessible.
“I have loved being a performer in Melbourne Fringe because it means I can have fun while still putting a message about disability representation out there,” Ms Findlay says.
“The audiences have been smart and friendly, and really committed to seeing art from those on the fringe.”
Carly’s role is a new one for the Melbourne Fringe team, with event organisers excited to have a dedicated team member to take access and inclusion of the Fringe to the “next level”.
“I think people love Melbourne Fringe because they see themselves in it – the diversity of the festival represents the population, with artists at every stage of their career, across every artform, exploring every possible topic in venues right across the city,” Mr Abrahams says.
This year’s Melbourne Fringe promises accessible performances, Auslan interpreted events, assistive listening, captioned performances, relax performances and visual ratings, which can be applied as ‘filters’ on the Fringe website’s performance directory.
The event has also released a Disability Arts Guide to Fringe, detailing the performances that explore disability as a theme. It can be found here.
Description Victoria has created a guide to audio described events which you can find here.
Arts Access Victoria have joined forces with Melbourne Fringe as the event’s accessibility partner.
The city-wide event wraps up on 30 September.
To find accessible Melbourne Fringe events, click here.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au