New Fringe director’s ambitious plan to ‘switch on’ Adelaide

By David Russell

New Adelaide Fringe Director Heather Croall is determined to make her mark on this year’s Festival, and not just by painting the whole thing pink. A veteran of film festivals and interactive media installations, she’s bringing motion picture to the Fringe in a way that has never been done before.

“I’m bringing a lot of big screen projection work to the Fringe this year,” Heather told Inside South Australia.

“There will be seven different walls of projection all along North Terrace… (with) full-blown animation that will make it look like the buildings are coming to life.”

The projections, which will start tonight (Friday 12 February), will reflect what is going on inside each of the buildings. There will be art on the Art Gallery, Indigenous collections on the library and museum and music depicted on the University of Adelaide’s Elder Hall. Heather says the projections are one way she plans to help the Fringe inhabit the city.

“We don’t curate the Fringe… it’s open access… the Fringe’s job is to ‘switch on’ the city and make the city come alive. We’re (also) working with a number of sponsors to commission 30 different street artists to do murals around the city. We’re making different time lapse videos so you will be able to see the artists at work.”

Heather took on the role of director at end of the last Fringe, and while she says it has been a crazy year, the stats indicate she’s on the right track. Ticket sales are up 20 per cent on last year, meaning sales could hit a record-breaking 600,000 tickets. There’s more acts this year as well, up to 1100 across 420 venues.

According to Heather, she’s also excited by the strong brands each cluster of Fringe venue is seeking to cement this year.

“In the last few years the venues have been getting very sophisticated… making sure the audience can identify the flavour and tone of their venue. If they want to see comedy they go to the Garden, for circus they go to the Royal Croquet Club and for magic they go to Gluttony. Then if they want edgy new artists they go to Tuxedo Cat.”

The Adelaide Fringe Festival sells more tickets than any other festival in Australia, delivering more than $10 million directly to artists. It runs until March 14.