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The producers of the inaugural edition of the UAE’s 2020 Sharjah Fringe have put out a global call for producers of children’s and family theatre to apply to be part of the first Fringe Festival in the region.
UPDATE: Deadline for applications has been extended to 17 October 2019.
The Fringe, due to take place from 16 January – 1 February 2020, is seeking work that will “inspire, entertain, thrill and amaze” a young audience and their families.
“We’re looking for theatre, dance, music, magic, puppets, circus acts and everything in between,” Nobesuthu Rayi, Executive Producer of the Fringe said. “The programme has space for about 60 shows that will be staged across Sharjah in our three Fringe hubs. Performances can be in Arabic, English, or be non-verbal, and will be scheduled in venues that seat anywhere from 100 to 1000 audience members.”
The Fringe is modelled on similar successful events held across the world, where artists are given spaces to perform in exchange for a nominal registration and venue hire fee, and earn the bulk of their box office takings. As an added incentive, though, producers are making travel and accommodation grants available to productions who want to minimize the risk of taking part. “It’s an untested formula in this part of the world and we want artists and audiences to have as positive experience as possible,” Rayi said, adding that the grants of between US $500 and $2700 could be applied for.
The Fringe is being co-produced by South Africa’s National Arts Festival and UAE-based Dolphin Creative, on behalf of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). “Shurooq have recognized the dual value of Fringe Festivals – firstly to transform an arts landscape by offering opportunities for artists and audiences to find each other, and secondly to give residents and tourists new ways to explore a city and its culture,” Fringe CEO Tony Lankester said. “We’ve seen the massive economic and transformative impact some of the biggest Fringes have – in Edinburgh, Adelaide and Edmonton for example. It will take a while for the Sharjah Fringe to reach the scale of those events, but the energy and philosophy of independent, accessible and relaxed theatre is the same.”
Artists have until the end of September (UPDATE: Deadline extended to 17 October 2019) to submit their proposals for inclusion in the programme. A briefing document and application form can be found at www.sharjahfringe.com