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Sydney Fringe Announces Fringe HQ Newtown

The Fringe HQ Newtown public program will be announced in the coming weeks.

Sydney Fringe Announces Fringe HQ Newtown

The Sydney Fringe has announced a new partnership with 5 Eliza Ltd to enable the launch of their pop-up venue FRINGE HQ Newtown. Taking over the historic ballroom at 5 Eliza Street, the venue will be activated from April-December 2021, and will play a vital role in the Covid recovery for the independent arts sector.

The Sydney Fringe has long been championing the need for more affordable, accessible and importantly non-curated performance space in Sydney. The project Fringe HQ was created in 2018 as a way for the organisation, best known as the presenters of the largest independent arts festival in NSW The Sydney Fringe Festival, to work with their Government and provide sector partners to activate underutilised space for performance.

Having popped up in Potts Point in 2019 with support from Greencliff and the NSW Government, Fringe HQ will now activate the historic Newtown School of Arts building at 5 Eliza Street for 2021. A building they are familiar with having used it in partnership with the outgoing tenants the Old 505 Theatre, as the festival's Touring Hub annually since 2016.

The Sydney Fringe Chair Lesley Watson said, "The Fringe board is proud to ensure the theatre remains accessible as Old 505 departs, so artists and producers can stage their works in what will be the City's only non-curated theatre, Fringe HQ. Sydney has lost many theatres in the past, and the board is united in advocating to build the sector through Fringe HQ. We hope that the Old 505 team will continue to be a dynamic presence in the theatre and music scene in Sydney."

The venue opens at a time when the sector fears losing many of its dedicated independent performance venues due to the impacts endured from the Covid 19 pandemic. This new venue and partnership provides the Sydney Fringe with the opportunity to further their research into viable business models for venue management for the independent sector, building on the valuable work published in 2018 An Anthology of Space: Activating unused and underutilised space for the creative industries and performing arts sectors of NSW.

Sydney Fringe CEO Kerri Glasscock said: "The Sydney Fringe is committed to not only being here for our sector during recovery, but being a key driver of the lasting change we will need, to ensure a viable future, and dynamic and vibrant nightlife. To ensure that we can all enjoy the art we love, we will need to safeguard space and provide new affordable options for artists. This is something we are passionately committed to at Sydney Fringe."

5 Eliza Trustee Greg Khoury commented: "5 Eliza has quietly supported the community since 1899, the tenancy of Old 505 Theatre has been integral to the development of the space into a vitally important independent performance venue. We are passionate about ensuring that this piece of community built cultural infrastructure remains activated, and is able to support local artists through this crisis. 5 Eliza and the Sydney Fringe have a decade long relationship and we are delighted to see that friendship formalised in this new partnership to activate the ballroom."

The Fringe HQ Newtown public program will be announced in the coming weeks. Further detail can be found at

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