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Social change focus for new Adelaide Fringe guide

Arts

THE Adelaide Fringe is exploring new ways to simplify its burgeoning calendar, including breaking its guides down into curated themes.

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The first themed guide, the digital Social Change Guide, highlights shows and events tackling issues such as suicide, racism, sexuality and domestic violence at the second-largest fringe festival in the world.

The guide is an initiative of the Don Dunstan Foundation, whose executive director, David Pearson, says it offers Fringe-goers the chance to see the world from a different perspective.

“At its best, art can inspire us to take action for a fairer world,” he says in the introduction. “This is the very purpose of the Don Dunstan Foundation, and is why we have put this guide together.”

The Don Dunstan Foundation, was established in 1999 by the late premier of South Australia to bring together research, policy makers and community groups to meet the social needs of the state.

Pearson says the Social Change Guide to the Adelaide Fringe presents a “diverse display of culture”, and he hopes it will also inspire people to get involved in the social change organisations that have supported the initiative.

The digital guide features a cover image of former South Australian premier Don Dunstan, who was a Fringe patron and arts supporter, and gathers shows under the theme of promoting cultural diversity, social progress and understanding.

The guide comprises more than 85 shows and events that will be held during the month-long Adelaide Fringe between 17 February and 19 March in South Australia.

Among them are Aftershocks (Odeon Theatre), an SAYarts theatre work about suicide; Scorch (Holden Street Theatres), a story of first love through the eyes of a gender-curious teen; What Doesn’t Kill You, a play that raises questions about the effects of domestic violence on impressionable young men; and Angel by Henry Naylor (Holden Street), which is inspired by the true story of a young girl who became a sniper and helped defeat ISIS at the siege of Kobane.

A number of shows look at the issues of racism and asylum seekers:

Tom Ballard’s Boundless Plains to Share is a comedic exploration of immigration in Australia;  I’d Turn Back (Bakehouse), written by 17-year-old Liv Smith, is scripted from verbatim accounts of refugees, and Australia, Let’s Talk About Golliwogs (Gluttony) is a show about race issues presented by a Welsh-Samoan comedian from New Zealand.

Adelaide Fringe director and CEO Heather Croall says many of the producers and presenters behind the shows have based them on personal experience “in the hope they can start honest conversations and reduce stigma in the community”.

Entering its 56th year, the Adelaide Fringe will host more than 1100 performances across the city of Adelaide.

This article was first published on InDaily.

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