The Nelson Fringe Festival team at the fringe awards night on Saturday. They are from left; Indigo Levett, Trish Sullivan, Laura Irish, Roger Sanders, Catherine Hart, Deborah Brooks, Stu Dalton, Frog Twissell and Chris Mason. The ten-day festival attracted 1500 attendees across 42 shows. Photo: Amy Charles

Nelson Fringe Festival breaks record


With 1500 attendees at 42 shows across two venues in 10 days, the Nelson Fringe Festival has proven its value to the community and artists, say organisers.

Festival director Laura Irish says the goal of the event was to create a space that brought people together.

“Because this festival, at its core, is simply a collection of people celebrating life through the means of art.”

She says there were 13 shows and two workshops that were sold out and over 1,500 attendees over two venues.

“Thank you to the audiences of Nelson who took a chance.”

Christchurch-based performer Logan Kitney says that it was the “greatest little festival the world has to offer”.

“I have never felt so accommodated and well looked after as a performer in my life. Nelson Fringe you have done your beautiful city proud.”

However, it was also a great incubator for local performers. Despite having artists from all over the country and the world, for the second year in a row the “Best in Fringe Award” has gone to a local show.

Local director Giles Burton’s ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’ came away with that award, as well as best solo show.

Ten-year-old Hampden Street School student Elijah Scowcroft also won “The Spirit of the Fringe Award” for his partially improvised adaptation of the family movie ‘Home Alone’.

The 2018 Nelson Fringe Festival is funded by Creative New Zealand and the Rata Foundation with the support of local business.

Festival marketing manager Stu Dalton says the event would not be able to go ahead without funding but also the support of the local community.

“We’re so thankful that the community really embraces the festival and is so supportive. We have many local businesses supporting us with accommodation, food, equipment a vehicle and advertising, plus all the businesses that adopted shows as their own.”

You can see a full list of nominations and awards on the Nelson Fringe Festival website and on the Nelson App, which also carries reviews of many of the shows.