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Melbourne Fringe

Melbourne Fringe Festival – Common Rooms Hub

Melbourne Fringe Festival – Common Rooms Hub

In 2020, the Melbourne Fringe Festival is finding new ways to support our 1000+ independent artists to make their art, explore big ideas and find new ways to ...



australia > VIC > metro
12/11/2020 > 29/11/2020


  • Building A Culturally Vibrant Society - Supporting and fostering the arts
  • Building A Culturally Vibrant Society - Sector / workforce capacity building


  • Unemployed people
  • LGBTQIA+ people


In 2020, the Melbourne Fringe Festival is finding new ways to support our 1000+ independent artists to make their art, explore big ideas and find new ways to bring us together as a community. Because let’s face it, we really need connection during these murky times.

This year, Fringe will look different as we prepare a COVID safe festival including 18 days of digital events, our virtual Common Rooms Hub and, pending restrictions, live events with strict social distancing. The Common Rooms Hub will program 200 of the Festival’s boldest artists to present 50 boundary-pushing events on our custom-built digital platform. The platform allows artists to create interactive art for audiences to experience from the safety of their homes. It also provides artists with the capability to live-stream broadcast quality video and audio, enable a range of accessible functions such as live captioning and interact directly with audiences through our chat room function.

We are seeking funds to support Hub artists produce broadcast quality material to house on our platform. Fringe will hire professional cameras, pay for broadcast allowances, provide resources for Auslan interpreting and live captioning, and undertake risk management planning to ensure the safety of staff and artists.

During these challenging times, we’ve seen the artistic community go from strength to strength. Art is where we turn to in our time of need and it is now more important than ever to support our independent artists to create new work and generate an income from their practice.


COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Melbourne’s artists with many having lost their income not just from their art but from their secondary jobs (such as hospitality) as well. Many artists are not eligible to receive Job Keeper and opportunities to present their work have been significantly reduced due to those pesky yet necessary restrictions.

Our digital platform enables artists to:
• Create bold, new work in a COVID safe environment, considering the impact of restrictions and social distancing across all aspects of artmaking including production, rehearsals, even marketing and promotion.

• Present their art, many for the first time this year, and provide a chance to recoup some of the financial losses incurred as a result of cancelled performances and events.

• Respond to a rapidly changing world, to shift perspectives and challenge the status quo, all whilst generating an income.

Artmaking is central to artists’ financial survival and their mental health and wellbeing - self-expression is fundamental to the lifeblood of an artist and the 2020 Melbourne Fringe Festival supports anyone to create, present and promote their art as a means of self-realisation. The very purpose of our open access framework is to relinquish curatorial control so at Melbourne Fringe we embrace chaos at the best of times – but one thing know for sure, the 2020 Melbourne Fringe Festival will be like nothing we’ve seen before. We can’t wait to see what our independent artists dream up at the Common Rooms Hub.

Profile of Melbourne Fringe

Melbourne Fringe

Melbourne Fringe is a not-for-profit arts organisation that democratises the arts.

Our vision is cultural democracy – empowering anyone to realise their right to creative expression. We support the development and presentation of artworks by, with and for Melbourne’s citizens, running the annual Melbourne Fringe Festival, the year-round venue Common Rooms at Trades Hall, and a range of arts sector leadership programs. We believe that access to the arts and creative expression are fundamental rights of our citizenship and vital to a creative, cohesive, optimistic and empathetic culture.

The Melbourne Fringe Festival is a big, bold celebration of independent art that for 2.5 weeks each year transforms the city with over 100 events, bringing together 20,000 people to share in cultural experiences. Our open access framework means that anyone can register an event at the Festival and empowers people to realise their right to creative expression. We amplify voices from the margins and remove barriers to access and inclusion, maximising diversity and enabling participation regardless of experience, age, gender, race, sexuality, culture or ability.


Funding sourceAmount
Funding gap (unconfirmed)$49,977
Expense itemAmount
Professional camera equipment hire (5 x cameras for 18 days)$7,850
Access costs including AI Media for 15 events (automatic captioning) and Auslan interpretation$5,250
Risk Management consultant to ensure safety of staff and artists$11,000
Staff technicians’ fees for broadcast event$25,877

Support Melbourne Fringe Festival – Common Rooms Hub

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact our Philanthropy & Impact Team.


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