The 17th Macao City Fringe Festival, organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, was concluded successfully on 21 January. This rich art feast featuring a total of 23 wonderful programmes and 10 extended activities during ten consecutive days earned an enthusiastic support and participation from the public. This edition of the Macao City Fringe Festival, themed “Treasure Hunting”, featured artists from all over the world who led the audience to uncover the city’s treasures that have likely been forgotten but are definitely worth embracing, such as landscapes, objects, people and stories, through an unconventional approach.
In conjunction with the theme of this edition of the Festival, the Cultural Affairs Bureau offered a variety of creative programmes, which were well received by the public. Tickets for most of the programmes, including My Old Man is a Bus Driver, Always in My Heart, The Auction of Love Stories, You Can Sleep Here and Turning Backs, were well received and highly sought after. In response to the enthusiastic support from the public, an additional performance of the programme My Old Man is a Bus Driver was offered.
In this edition of the Festival, many programmes were held in the community, allowing the public to enjoy art closely through theatrical pieces integrated into the surrounding environment. In Bear with Us, three giant bears roamed the streets and caused pleasant surprises, drawing crowds of people to take photographs. In Cracks – Physical Performance in the City, the performers danced at the Ruins of St. Paul’s and interacted with the public, making them join in the dance and creating a lively atmosphere. In Making Space, participants expressed that it seemed easy to walk backwards at Senado Square and Jorge Álvares Square, but in fact they had to give up what they were familiar with and put down their fear, in order to enjoy the landscape from a different view.
In addition to the highly acclaimed shows, the extended activities of this edition of the Macao City Fringe Festival were also highly popular. Registration for many activities closed before long due to an overwhelming response. In the workshop On the Move, participants rode bicycles through streets and alleys and explored the different aspects of the city, while artists created a video based on what the cyclists had seen and heard, in order to re-explore Macao in movement. The Bolero workshop aimed to free the participants’ imagination through games on body movements, and some participants expressed that their interpersonal rapport built up after the physical interaction.
In order to enhance cross-regional communication, this edition of the Macao City Fringe Festival continued to organize the “Art Festivals in the Cities 2.0” Sharing Session, inviting curators of performing arts events from all over the world to share experiences on local festivals and cultural environment in their hometowns. Through direct communication, it also allowed the participants to learn the characteristics of different art festivals worldwide, offering various useful information to Macao artists who intend to perform abroad.
Art breaks free from performance halls and invades all corners of the city, creating unlimited possibilities. The success of the Macao City Fringe Festival relies on the support of arts practitioners, residents, institutions and business, etc. In the future, the organisers will continue to offer diverse and creative performances to residents and tourists, actively establishing a platform for local art groups, creating more opportunities and expanding the development space for arts professionals, and raising Macao’s cultural and artistic level.