Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Macau’s fringe festival returns with a fervour

Posted by Kimberly on June 29, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
June 29, 2007, page 1&5 (700 words)

Images supplied by IACM

The Macau Fringe Festival will return in November this year after a noticeable absence in 2006.
With the last festival having occurred in 2005, the organisers, The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) decided that a more significant contribution from local organisations was needed. As a result, there was a time-out period called for last year, in order to allow the IACM to encourage local artists and organisations to step up to the challenge, creating a festival this year with a total budget of about MOP 1.4 million.
Having thrilled Macau’s residents since 1999, this year the theme of the festival is ‘The “WE” Legend’.
The objective is to extend the spirit of the Fringe by gathering different local artistic groups and individuals together, and forge a relationship between local government and local residents.
As a result, this year’s festival will be organised by not only the IACM, but also Macau Music Force (Musical Power) and the Macau Folk Club.
According to the IACM’s statement, “it is beneficial for us to co-organise with local art groups and let the spirit of the Fringe penetrate more deeply into Macau…”
The organisers hope that by encouraging local artists to present their work, it will “activate the folk cultures and legends in the old districts by using the power of arts and creativity.”
They believe that these old areas of Macau have enormous potential for unseen creative talent.
A variety of local art exhibitions and activities will be held, turning these communities into a “local art community” that will converge different genres of local art.
Several local groups have already signed on to the festival including the Violet Dance Company, Step Out and Long Fung Drama Club.
Overseas acts that have been confirmed include Fire Oz, a Europe-based Australian fire and pyrotechnics company as well as clowns from Canada.
The festival will also let out art space to the new generation of artists that may have a limited budget or resources.
Examples of sites will be The Stone Commune, the Hiu Kok Laboratory, the exhibition hall of the Oriental Fund, the Ox Warehouse and Poor Space.
Those interested in holding a performance in one of these locations are encouraged to submit their definition of the question “what is theatre?” and their personal contacts, to the organisers, who will the select among the potential applicants.
The organisers will provide audio, lighting, site rental fees, ticketing services and subsidies to participants according to the needs of the production.
Art groups and individuals from Hong Kong, Korea, Portugal, Spain, Australia and Canada will present the latest in world theatre to Macau.
In the past the fringe festival has been a draw-card for the younger generation, a reflection of the philosophy of the Macau festival; initiative, creativity and vitality.
As such, the organisers have chosen to recruit young volunteers from local high schools and universities, providing them with training to promote the festival to residents and tourists.
A specialised group will be formed from the recruits to interview, write articles and take photos of the festivals, for publication on The Fringe Post each Friday.
Uniquely, organisers have come up with the idea of “Fringe blogging”.
Encompassing 100 days, this activity is meant to encourage bloggers to post articles, entries and photos about the Fringe festival during that period of time.
Prizes will be awarded to ten bloggers whose content stands out from the rest and also those that have the most entries.
The organisers have also invited “special Fringe bloggers” to share their views on the festival.
Interested participants may contact the organisers for further information.
Finally, residents are encouraged to compose lyrics to go with a short piece of music by Macau’s local composers.
The selected lyrics will be used as the theme song for Macau Fringe 2007.
An activity, titled ‘Fringe K on the Streets’, will have booths set up on Macau’s streets to invite locals to sing the theme song, with all singers receiving a small souvenir.
For those creative enough, an opportunity will be available to record their performance for use as promotional material for Macau Fringe.
The festival is expected to run from November 10 to November 25.

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