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NZ Fringe Festival launches biggest programme to date

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand Fringe Festival, NZ’s largest open access arts festival of unbridled creativity and cultural expression announces its 2021 festival with the largest programme of events in it’s 30 year history.

The 2021 New Zealand Fringe Festival (NZ Fringe) will take place from 26 February to 20 March, 2021 and activate Wellington’s stages and unconventional spaces across 38 different performance venues, offering 156 independent events and over 470 individual presentations, across 23 days, spanning 25 genres of art with over 1000 emerging and professional artists from across Aotearoa.

With ticket sales expected to reach 25000+, NZ Fringe is rallying the city, artists and audiences to take what they know and ‘Make It Fringe’ in 2021 and showcase their creative edge, risk and flare for the arts in what is set to be the biggest Fringe ever.

Festival Director Sasha Tilly says "I’ve always said that Wellington artists are at the forefront of innovation in the arts, this year has really proved that for us. Initial fears that Covid-19 would mean a heavily reduced 2021 programme were washed away when we emerged from registrations with 156 presentations - our biggest programme ever!"

With 25 genres the 2021 Fringe programme offers ‘bits’ for everyone. Gender binary is explored and rejected in Them Fatale by non-binary comedian James Hilary Penwarden. An entire family from the Philippines brings their story to life in Potluck as part of FATG (Fringe at the Gryphon).

Award winning Wellington actors Alex Greig, Paul Waggot and Jonny Potts return to their roots at NZ Fringe with an immersive new show called Razor Boys staged inside an inner city flat. The Kiwi Circus troupe Colossal dock a chaotic cargo ship circus at Te Auaha in Fool Steam Ahead and Best of Fringe 2017 award winner Dark Matter VR returns with a part-virtual reality, part-live arts fusion.

Mayor of Wellington Andy Foster says "The timing of the Fringe couldn't be better given that our heart and soul has been put through the pandemic ringer. Amazing acts of kindness and a strengthening sense of community and nationhood propelled us through lock downs, but we still craved those comedic, drama and extreme Fringe moments that as an audience member or performer, you remember forever! As the Capital of Culture and home to so much to be passionate about, Wellington is absolutely wired into the Fringe Festival and celebrates the opportunity to leave reality at the box office and walk on the Fringe for one daring performance after another."

Be spellbound by the raucous characters in theatre spectacular Marco, Polo and Little Margaret. Experience the fast-paced tale of the Winged Lion, Patron Saint of Venice come to life in new work The Book of Mark, and watch 3 Monkeys present the proverbial principle of ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil’ as an abstract contemporary dance and aural experience.

Winner of both the Auckland Fringe Festival Best Theatre Award and PAANZ Tour Ready Award Alone rockets into Wellington with a sci-fi thriller of feminism, climate change and David Bowie. And in a first for NZ Fringe, Argentinian clowns will stream in, bridging international borders, to join the Festival with Nuestro Mundo.

Tilly continues "With our international programme hit hardest by Covid-19, this is our chance to shine the light on home-grown talent. We’re so excited to see so many new works emerge from our New Zealand artists with many emerging artists making their Fringe Festival debut or professional artists playing with new concepts, ideas and reimagining the space in some classic Wellington venues."

The New Zealand Fringe Festival will take place from 26 February to 20 March 2021, throughout Wellington. For full details and to buy tickets visit

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