Melbourne Fringe Festival is upon us for a two-and-a-half-week celebration of independent art, made in the most impossible circumstances. The Festival runs 12-29 November and here’s just a few highlights the first week has in store:

Shake off the isolation blues and kick off with Fringe’s banging Opening Night Party. Push the couches to the wall, crank out the fairy lights and get ready to party, Fringe-style. It’s also NAIDOC week, and Melbourne Fringe has partnered up with YIRRAMBOI to curate an incredible all First Nations line-up of back-to-back performance art from some of Melbourne’s best independent makers, including rapper Deejai and vocalist Breanna Lee, Arrernte drag artist Stone Motherless Cold, electro-tribal pop duo The Merindas (pictured right) and energetic dance floor icon DJ Soju Gang. 12 November.

For those missing the fun of meeting mates at the Festival Hub before or after a show, head into the Virtual Foyer where festival-goers can rub (virtual) digital shoulders with one another; chat about Fringe shows, or just hang out and explore. Create an avatar, grab a drink, and mingle with the Fringe community virtually. 12-29 November.

Remember at the start of lockdown we said we’d make sourdough, learn Spanish, and knit next winter’s wardrobe? Let’s be honest – we didn’t. But don’t worry, because Tell Me Something I Don’t Know brings together some of Melbourne’s adventurous creatives to help us upskill. For five minutes each day of the Festival, a different Fringe artist will teach something new, from dance and make up lessons to how to reverse park. Featuring Ivan Aristeguieta, Clementine Ford, Jude Perl, Geraldine Quinn, Malia Walsh and more. 12- 29 November.

The first events in the Fringe Focus Taiwan series, Something About Skin, sees choreographers and dancers Lee Tsung-Hsuan and Chang Chien-Hao in a duet between man and machine. Watch this one-of-a-kind contemporary dance piece direct from their loungerooms to yours – through the eyes of a moving camera on a robotic vacuum. 12-13 November.

Experience New York’s weird cabaret underbelly that’s not often seen outside of the Big Apple, with Macábaret. Inspired by a 1920’s fortune teller’s shop in New York, Macábaret invites Melbourne audiences to peer through Zoom into a dusty crystal ball and see a variety of acts filled with spooky, strange, silly and downright sinister spirits. Acts never seen in the light of day – performing until 8am in NYC for a Melbourne, Australia night-time audience. 13-27 November.

Feeling like 2020 can get in the bin? Check out Trash Talk by the multi-award-winning cabaret dynamo Tash York (pictured left). After a year where the bin has literally been out more than she has, Trash Talk is ready to take the stage after a socially distant year of stewing in her own thoughts. 12-15 November.

To view the full list of events on sale now, head to melbournefringe.com.au.

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