2016 marked a record breaking year for Dublin Fringe Festival as it celebrated a bumper edition this September. Smashing box office records with 35,000 tickets issued for 73 productions and an additional 2,500 Fringe-goers attending free, public events, the festival enlivened 23 venues across the capital over 16 days.
Sell-out show RIOT caused more than a stir as audiences flocked to Merrion Square to catch THISISPOPBABY as they became the first ever Irish artists to anchor the Spiegeltent with their unbelievable RIOT. Hollywood star Mel Gibson was lucky enough to join Dublin audiences at the hottest ticket in town and witness the glittering theatrical roulette featuring Panti’s wicked humour, Emmet Kirwan’s clarion commentary, Lords of Strut’s devilish antics and breathtaking moves from Up & Over It.
Over 11,000 attendees revelled in Dublin’s favourite Georgian garden as Fringe made its home in Merrion Square for 16 days and nights. Australian sensations Hot Brown Honey inspired and awed in Fringe’s opening week. Audiences howled in their seats with a stellar comedy line up including Deirdre O’Kane, Trygve Wakenshaw and Jinkx Monsoon. From wrestling to 1930s cabaret to Limerick’s hottest hip hop, Rusangano Family, the Spiegeltent was packed to capacity for dynamite performances and big nights out.
Audiences buzzed as they experienced artistic triumphs in theatre, dance, visual art, comedy, circus and cabaret in venues across Dublin. New York legend Penny Arcade and Irish choreographer Aoife McAtamney shocked and delighted in equal measure at the Abbey Theatre. Aoibheann Greenan’s The Perfect Wagner Rite saw a Fringe return to the RHA Gallery with audiences being led on a journey of voyeurism. Four perfectly crafted Show in a Bag productions brought simple stories to big crowds, shining a spotlight on some of Ireland’s brightest performers. New international collaborations EUROPOLY and TxD provided a platform for new Canadian and Portuguese work – as well as Brokentalkers’ thought-provoking This Beach – to be performed in the festival. It was a city takeover: the National Stadium and The Rita Kelly Theatre, Poolbeg Yacht Club and the Coombe Hospital were just three of the more unusual Fringe venues in 2016.
Kris Nelson, Festival Director, commented on the record-breaking success: “The 22nd edition of Fringe broke artistic and box office records, highlighting the appetite among audiences for fresh and provocative work across multiple disciplines. Fringe audiences overwhelmed us with their enthusiasm to share our vision to see the city brought to life every September with sensational performing arts”
“Tiger is a champion of the arts globally, and the innovation and creativity seen at this year's Tiger Dublin Fringe makes us perfect collaborators. As title sponsor, we were able to access parts of the Fringe rarely seen, and it was a pleasure working with the team at Fringe to offer Tiger fans a glimpse behind the curtain at what it takes to create one of the cultural highlights of the year." – Stephanie Bell, Brand Manager Tiger
Fringe is a year-round organisation supporting the work and development of independent and emerging Irish artists. 28 artists made their Dublin Fringe debut in 2016. 21 shows made their journey to the stage via FRINGE LAB, Fringe’s dedicated space for the development of new work.
We didn’t just put on a festival, we also put out a book! Eight plays from the 2015 and 2016 editions of Fringe featured in a brand new book, FRESH CUTS, which was published this September by London’s esteemed Oberon Books. From hits such as LOVE+ by MALAPROP Theatre to Fringe Award-winning Half Light by Mollie Mollumby, the compendium champions new writing and Irish theatre artists.
To read about the 73 productions in this year’s Fringe, FRESH CUTS, Fringe Award winners and more, see here. Fringe receives funding and support from the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Dublin City Council, Fáilte Ireland and Tiger Beer.
The 23rd edition of Fringe will run from 9th to 24th September 2017.
Fringe Awards 2016
Best Production Award: RIOT by THISISPOPBABY
Best Design Award: This Beach by Brokentalkers
Best Performers Awards: Trygve Wakenshaw (Nautilus) & Oona Doherty (Hope Hunt)
Best Ensemble Award: Rusangano Family
Judges Choice Award: Very Rich Hours by TableTop Productions
Fishamble New Writing Award: Animalia by Ian Toner
First Fortnight Award: Half Light by Mollie Molumby
Next Stage Wild Card Award: Hanna Bowe (Glowworm)
Bewley's Café Theatre 'Little Gem' Award: The Humours of Bandon by Margaret McAuliffe
FRINGE IN NUMBERS:
- 35,000 tickets issued: highest number in last ten years
- 2,500 attendees to free events across the city
- Highest ticket revenue in ten years
- 73% capacity achieved across the festival
- 645 individual artists involved in 73 productions across 23 venues
- 40 world premieres
- 28 companies/artists making their Fringe debut
- 9 companies/artists making their first professional show ever
FRESH CUTS: A Selection of Plays from Dublin Fringe Festival 2015 & 2016
Available at oberonbooks.com, Project Arts Centre and Fringe offices.
Includes: It Folds by Brokentalkers and junk ensemble; LOVE+ by MALAPROP Theatre; The Windstealers by Jane Madden; Our Island by Barry McStay; TRYST by Finbarr Doyle and Jeda de Brí; Half Light by Mollie Mollumby; Briseis After the Black by Dylan Coburn Gray and Traitor by Shane Mac an Bhaird.