The 19th Macao City Fringe Festival, organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, was concluded successfully on 19 January. This rich art feast featuring a total of 17 extraordinary programmes and 13 outreach activities during 10 consecutive days earned enthusiastic support from the public. This edition of the Macao City Fringe Festival, themed “Boundless creation will show you around!”, featured artists from all over the world who guided the audience on a journey full of fantasy through the streets and alleys of Macao.
This year’s Macao City Fringe Festival adhered to the concept of “All around the city, our stages, our patrons, our artists”, presenting a variety of creative and diverse programmes, some of which were performed in unexpected venues, thereby bringing great surprise to the audience. This year, the Festival has launched the special series “Crème de la Fringe” featuring two subthemes, namely “On Site” and “Puppet and Object Theatre Festival in Coloane”. The former featured three dance performances, dance workshops and a sharing session. From street to theatre, the artists used their bodies to present different possibilities, enabling the audience to feel the power of physical movement at close range. The second subtheme featured some contemporary puppet theatre productions in different styles and extension workshops. The audience enjoyed a feast of alternative yet relaxing artistic moments in Coloane, where humanity and nature still coexist in harmony. This edition of the Fringe Festival earned the enthusiastic support of the public and all performances reached a satisfactory result. Tickets for some of the programmes were sold out soon after they went on sale.
In addition, many programmes and artistic activities were held in the community, encouraging the public’s participation. In Once upon a time in Macao, the Casa de Portugal em Macau interacted with the public in a lively atmosphere through music and puppets in close proximity; Melodic Fantasy by the Black Sand Theatre and the Clube dos Amigos do Riquexó was a performance for children to enjoy theatre, with puppets, actors and a lovely dancer as well as the magical sounds. Look@You by Macau Talent Academy Association in Jorge Álvares Square draw crowds of people through the creative body movement, music and mobile art installations, bringing joy to the audience.
Outreach activities were also highly popular. In the “Creating with Objects Workshop”, Canadian artist Robert Leveroos instructed participants to play around with various materials and learned to listen to and take movement cues from objects. In the “On Site – Body Playground” workshop directed by dancers Xiao Zhiren from Guangzhou, Diego Sinniger from Spain, and Lee Hong Kiu and Li Tuokun from Hong Kong, participants could further explore physical possibilities. The thematic exhibition “Unforgettable Memory of Macao Garment Industry” at Patane Library invited the public to create a memory map of the garment industry. In order to strengthen the artistic exchanges between regions, this edition of the Fringe Festival continued to host the sharing session “Fringe Exchange: Connect with Festivals”, in which art event and theatre curators from Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong were invited to share their experience in organizing events and the cultural landscape of the respective regions, providing practical information for art groups and artists interested in performing overseas.
The success of the Macao City Fringe Festival relies on the support of art practitioners, residents, institutions, and commercial venues. In the future, the Cultural Affairs Bureau will continue to bring innovative and breakthrough performances, building platforms for local artistic practitioners and groups, expanding their development space and presenting diversified cultural programmes to the public.