Since it’s inception in 1993, The NZ Fringe Festival has hosted 16 seasons and given countless artists the opportunity to take their art to a wider audience. This has propelled many into professional careers and some to amazing heights.

Following the successful 2009 NZ Fringe Festival, the Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement were honoured as the inaugural members of the Fringe Festival Hall of Fame. After starting out at the NZ Fringe Festival, the Flight of the Conchords moved to Downstage Theatre where they took a regular spot for 3 years, developing their idiosyncratic style with Folk the World (twice) and High on Folk.   

In 2008, The Pick of the Fringe was developed collaboratively between Downstage Theatre and the NZ Fringe Festival. Its objective was to identify promising shows from the NZ Fringe Festival and give them an opportunity to showcase their work at Downstage Theatre for a limited season. 

Pick of the Fringe is back in 2009, with judges from Downstage Theatre, the Downstage Theatre Society and Fringe Director Mark Westerby selecting three exciting productions for a return season at Downstage from April 29 to May 7. The three productions are Poly-Zygotic by F.I.T Productions, PlayGround Collective’s The Intricate Art of Actually Caring and A Most Outrageous Humbug by Three Spoon Theatre.

Fringe Festival director Mark Westerby is pleased that the winning partnership between Downstage and the Fringe that developed last festival and has been extended to other areas like box office services this year. “Pick of the Fringe is a superb opportunity for artists to re-present their work on a professional Wellington stage. The Fringe provides a platform for artists to create exciting new work and any opportunity to give this work and the companies that create it a longer life we wholeheartedly support. We applaud the efforts of Downstage to make this possible. ”

For Downstage Director Hilary Beaton The Pick of the Fringe is an important step for emerging artists towards a professional career. Aligning with the new Downstage vision the three chosen productions are dynamic and original works. “The thinking behind the work is what is most important to me. I am attracted to the energy, commitment, rigor, analysis, inventiveness and passion of the individual artist or collective collaborators and the excitement their work creates in the community. Downstage has always played an instrumental role in the development of theatre artists and new work, and continues to proactively provide career pathways for sustainable arts practice.”

The Intricate Art of Actually Caring

A Most Outrageous Humbug


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