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Scouting the Fringes in search of fresh talent Down Under


ARTISTIC directors are heading Down Under to the world’s second biggest Fringe festival this month in a bid to bring fresh talent home to American audiences.

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Almost 200 delegates will scout the Adelaide Fringe in South Australia as part of the marketplace Honey Pot program.

Among them will be seven American art directors including three from New York and two from the San Diego International Fringe.

The Artistic Director of New York’s SoHo Playhouse, Darren Lee Cole, will visit the South Australian capital from February 24 to March 6.

He said he was lured to Adelaide after meeting with the Fringe’s organisers while he was talent searching at the Edinburgh Fringe last year.

“I’m extremely excited about going to Adelaide and although I will be looking at work from all over the world, specifically I’m going to see to see Australian work and that excites me based on the high quality of the few Australian shows that have come to New York Fringe in recent years,” he said.

The SoHo Playhouse runs its Fringe Encore program every season and has previously booked acts mainly from the Edinburgh and New York Fringes.

Cole said while he was most interested in unearthing new theatre pieces he would also consider recruiting other genres such as stand-up comedy.

“When they told me that Adelaide was the second largest Fringe in the world that was super impressive to me and that piqued my interest,” he said.

“Adelaide has something like 1300 shows whereas New York Fringe, which is considered a big one, has just over 200 shows so it’s very large and that very much excites me because when you get such a large number of artists together, usually some good creative stuff happens.

“It’s also a chance for me to talk to colleagues and to use collective resources to bring people over.”

The Honey Pot program has grown from 87 delegates in 2015 to more than 180 this year.

Adelaide Fringe Director Heather Croall said the program made the Adelaide Fringe, which runs from February 17 to March 19, an important arts marketplace.

She said many leading events in other genres, such as SXSW and Sundance Film Festival, were better known as marketplaces than general public festivals.

“The Honey Pot gives that industry layer to the Adelaide Fringe that means we are continually growing to become more important in people’s calendars in the industry because there’s business to be done here,” Croall said.

“There are about 300 fringe festivals in the world but Edinburgh Fringe and Adelaide are really the only two that have this industry facing activity in the background.

“When an artist leaves the Adelaide Fringe, it’s not uncommon for them to have a booking for the next 12 months to tour through Asia and Europe and North America with all of it coming out of Honey Pot.”

The program helps connect festival and venue directors with artists, enables buyers to see about 20 Fringe shows during their stay, hosts industry-focused panel discussions and takes visitors out of the city to nearby wine regions and beaches.

In 2016, 54 Adelaide Fringe shows were picked up through Honey Pot by national and international festivals and producers while another 45 began for possible future presentations.

Other American delegates heading to Adelaide Fringe include:

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