The Melbourne Fringe Festival, a celebrated art festival in Australia, will be highlighting Taiwan for the first time this year. Held since 1983, Melbourne Fringe Festival will be hosting "Fringe Focus Taiwan" virtually as one of the signature events from Nov. 12 through 29.
The Ministry of Culture has worked together with Melbourne Fringe to present the "Fringe Focus Taiwan" series of performances. Three performances by Taiwanese artists have been invited to the festival, including Lee Tsung-Hsuan (李宗軒) and Chang Chien-hao (張堅豪) with their work "Something About Skin," Sean Chou (周瑞祥) with "Transhumanism: A Fair," and producer Kao Yi-kai with his production of "Is(o)Land Bar: Cloud – Guest," performed by Huang Ding-Yun (黃鼎云, Taiwan), Tora Che-pin Hsu (許哲彬, Taiwan), Yu Cheng-Ta (余政達, Taiwan), Russ Ligtas (the Phillipines), and Henry Tan (Thailand).
Simon Abrahams, creative director and CEO of Melbourne Fringe Festival, remarked that he admires the abundant creative energy of Taiwanese artists and the relatively normal and vibrant performing art activities in Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Abraham pointed out that Taiwanese artists will definitely bring a unique and creative perspective to the festival.
Shu Li-hui (許麗慧) of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Sydney remarked that cultural exchange through the Melbourne Fringe Festival is inspiring and encouraging. Audiences in Taiwan can watch the performances online.
Melbourne-based curator of the program Fred Tseng-jung Chuang (莊增榮) explained that the performances by Taiwanese artists at the festival were developed during the pandemic. Taiwan artists are able to collaborate in groups and create performances collectively, which is a rarity in times of pandemic. In contrast, Melbourne artists have had to work alone because of COVID-19 prevention and control measures, including the five-kilometer travel restriction and household visiting rules.