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.
The Fringe, due to take place from 16 January – 1 Februrary 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 to submit their proposals for inclusion in the programme. A briefing document and application form can be found at www.sharjahfringe.com
Shurooq is an independent government entity under the Emiri decree no. 2, that facilitates partnerships and connects investors with relevant opportunities. Shurooq aims to create authentic destinations that are committed to enhancing the quality of life for citizens and residents, as well as foster an environment where businesses thrive and ideas flourish. Shurooq strives to encourage investment in Sharjah by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from both the region and the world.
ABOUT NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
South Africa’s National Arts Festival, staged annually in Grahamstown since 1974, has grown to become Africa’s largest arts events. Staging over 2500 performances over 11 days, the Festival comprises both a curated Main programme and an open access Fringe, and presents work across all genres – but predominantly theatre, dance, classical music, film, jazz, comedy and family theatre. In 2018 it reported total attendance of just over 200 000 across all its events and programmes.
Recent studies by the Rhodes University Department of Economics indicate that the Festival is one of the region’s biggest drivers of the local economy – contributing R94m (approx. US$6.6mm) to the GDP of the City and R374m (US$26.4m) to the GDP of the Eastern Cape Province.
ABOUT DOLPHIN CREATIVE
Dolphin Creative is a unique creative agency and production company specializing in street arts with offices in Dubai, Jeddah, Singapore, Shanghai, Istanbul and Mumbai. Formed in 2010 the company has produced over 10 000 street arts events in 18 cities across 12 countries, with a talent pool of over 1000 specialist artists and management.