The 20th Macao City Fringe Festival, organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, was concluded successfully on 31 January. The ticketing rate reached 99%. This rich art feast featuring a total of 18 extraordinary programmes, 385 performances and 16 outreach activities during 12 consecutive days earned an enthusiastic response from the public. This edition of the Fringe Festival led the audiences wander through the streets and alleys of Macao, turning everyone into an artist and seeking to inspire everyone’s artistic talent, offering creative performances that took the city by storm.
The series “Crème de la Fringe” of this year’s Fringe Festival encouraged arts groups to curate a “mini festival” based on a customized theme, presenting the city’s characteristics and cultural connotations from multiple perspectives. “On Site” shuttled in corners of the city, presenting contemporary dance at close range and attracting passers-by; “Todos Fest!” featured three performances presented by local dancers, elderly people and people with mental or physical disabilities to express different moments of life through dance. A newspaper review said that in the show The Never-ending Task of the Moment, “we can see that the director has given the actors plenty of room to express themselves on stage, and the audience enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised”.
In addition, many programmes and artistic activities were held in the community, encouraging the public’s participation and reflecting the concept of “All around the city, our stages, our patrons, our artists”. This year’s special participatory exhibition, Art Exhibition for All, offered the members of the public an opportunity to show their creativity and talent to the community. The public actively participated in the exhibition and submitted their works. A total of 164 works was received and nearly 4500 people visited the exhibition. The programme F’art for U presented artistic performances and delivered meals to the audience. This innovative performance was well-received by the public and all orders for the designated period were out of stock within minutes. In this edition, Stephen Chow, Enigma of the Actress, A Gentlemen’s Fight with Puns and Tea and Work Inspired Workouts – Macao Market Version brought creative performances to bars, teahouses and markets, spreading an artistic atmosphere in the neighbourhoods and making it a starting point for the public to encounter art. In order to promote the popularization of arts education, the Fringe Festival has set up special programmes for schools, allowing students to personally engage and appreciate art in the theatre, encouraging care for the underprivileged through art and reflecting on the respect for diversity, equality and inclusiveness. This edition of the Fringe Festival earned the enthusiastic support from the public and all performances reached a satisfactory result. Tickets for most of the programmes were sold out soon after they went on sale.
Outreach activities were also highly popular. “Symbiotic Dance based on Danceability” led by Hong Kong choreographer yuenjie MARU, allowed people with different physical conditions to explore and develop their dance potential; “On Site - Body Playground” instructed by dancers Yang Bixi and Su Zhihao, allowed the participants to further explore the possibilities of the body; the “Marine Waste Puppet Exhibition” showcased the sources of marine waste and the plight of marine life. This year’s Fringe Festival featured the online meeting “Webinar: Connect with the Festivals’ Representatives” which showed how technology breaks the barriers, using creativity and enthusiasm to build a wider world of art. A group of influential speakers shared their experiences of curating a festival and explored the relationships between art, city, life and emotions.
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 diversified, innovative and breakthrough performances, building platforms for local artistic practitioners and groups, expanding their development space.