Friday, October 7, 2016 — The closing weekend of the third Cape Town Fringe Festival gets under way today, with a full programme of performances as well as the continuation of the inaugural Cape Town Buskers Festival at the V&A Waterfront.

Organisers, meanwhile, made two announcements:

  • The Cape Town Fringe has been invited to be the newest member of the prestigious World Fringe Alliance.
  • An exciting new project was launched to seek out uniquely Cape Town stories and histories for staging at the 2017 event.

The World Fringe Alliance now comprises 10 Fringe festivals, collectively reaching over 3.5-million audience members annually. Membership is by invitation, and currently includes Hollywood, New York, Amsterdam, Prague, Brighton, Edinburgh, Perth, Adelaide and Grahamstown. With this announcement Cape Town becomes the 10th member, and the second from South Africa.

“The intent behind the Alliance is to create pathways for our artists to travel between Festivals; to expose our audiences to work from other countries; and to share best practice and our experiences in running and shaping wide-scale theatre festivals with a feisty, independent spirit.” – Elena K Holy, the chair of the World Fringe Alliance and director of FringeNYC

“We’re delighted to welcome Cape Town into the fold as our 10th city – it’s a beautiful environment in which to host a Fringe Ffstival and we look forward to great things coming from this collaboration in years to come,” said Elena K Holy, the chair of the World Fringe Alliance and director of FringeNYC.

Commenting on the inclusion of Cape Town in the World Fringe Alliance, Cllr Eddie Andrews, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, said: “This is a huge feather in the cap for this fledgling event that the City has partnered with since 2014. It reaffirms Cape Town as a city that can hold its head high among some of the most inspiring and creative capitals in the world, and that our artists can deliver true magic on our streets and stages.

“We know the enormous economic benefits events such as this brings through tourism and brand awareness, and how these events enrich the lives of those living in a host City. Being invited to be part of the World Fringe Alliance takes this event to the next level.” – Cllr Eddie Andrews, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development

While membership of the Alliance will help bring more international work to the Cape Town Fringe stage in years to come, and will create opportunities for South African artists to travel more widely, Fringe CEO Tony Lankester also announced a new project for 2017 that will give Cape Town artists and residents the opportunity to tell their own stories, in their own words, on the Fringe stage.

“South Africa in general – and Cape Town in particular – is rich with stories, anecdotes and histories of our people and cultures. These are stories of triumph, pain, dispossession, joy, unity, betrayal, scandal, sadness and hope. Unless they’re captured, preserved, and celebrated, many of these stories and first hand accounts will get lost, and the lessons learned will be forgotten,” Lankester said.

“Storytelling is core to who we are as South Africans, and is central to the work our artists do on our stages. And so we’re opening up the Fringe stage as a platform to tell stories.” – Fringe CEO Tony Lankester

“We ask writers, storytellers and poets to begin documenting and shaping their stories and, when we develop the 2017 programme, we’ll create the space for these stories to be shared and celebrated through an umbrella programme of storytelling. In turn, these works will be captured and preserved so that the body of work becomes a narrative legacy for the people of this City.”

Welcoming this initiative, Cllr Andrews said that using the Fringe stages in this way deepened the relationship between the event and the City, and would help create a legacy of stories for future generations. “This project takes the art of storytelling into another realm. We can capture these stories digitally, we can share them with both visitors and those who call the City home, add them to museums, use them online: the possibilities and scope are very exciting,” he said.

The Cape Town Fringe runs until 8 October, while the Cape Town Buskers Festival ends on Sunday 9 October.