Dunedin Fringe presents a premiere-packed programme for 2022

Forget going back to normal, for 2022, the Dunedin Fringe Festival is bringing you better than normal!

An unmissable highlight in the festival calendar, the world’s southernmost fringe is back 17-27 March in Ōtepoti/Dunedin.

This year’s programme is packed with premieres, offering audiences the chance to be the first to see innovative and experimental new work from established and emerging artists.

In Intoxicana, award-winning humourist Te Radar delivers a hilarious illustrated lecture revealing the untold stories of intoxicating substances from New Zealand’s past; vibrant dance double-bill Vivid Dreaming presents a collection of human experiences and issues set in the abstract worlds of our subconscious; and a local cast tells a new tale from ancient times in Roman Postman, with live choral scoring by Dunedin icon, producer and musician Adelaide Cara.

First of its kind kaupapa Māori opera, Silence is, challenges preconceptions and explores the cacophony of physical, spiritual and political silences around us; while debut theatre The World’s First Lovers weaves a tapestry of Māori mythology and personal anecdote, combining the celestial realm and the human realm with personal stories that affect us all.

Local artists take you on a unique voyage through Dunedin’s marine history.


The salty crew of Sea Shanties and Salty Stories will take you across the harbour on a ferry while regaling you with tales and shanties from the salty brine; and GASP! Dance Inclusive explores the rich history of St Clair beach with a debut short film series, Promenade.

Tailored to Dunedin, Chris Priestly and the Unsung Heroes is an all-original musical theatre performance about New Zealand’s villains, rogues, and unsung heroes, led by Peter Elliot ONZM.

Festival Director Gareth McMillan said this year’s programme was a perfect embodiment of the festival’s core aims: to bring experimental contemporary art to a wider audience and to support the work of emerging artists. 

“After another tumultuous year, there is a reassuring familiarity of the festival atmosphere returning and we are so happy to be able to bring people together to enjoy all the unique creativity the Fringe entails,” he said.

“But a fringe festival is a disruptive and agitating force and we want to embrace positive change – we don’t want the world to go back to normal, we want to show audiences that we can create a better normal.” 

The festival’s comedic legacy will be upheld by a host of national comedy stars, including Taskmaster NZ’s David Correos, Ray O’Leary (7 Days, Have You Been Paying Attention?), 2021 Billy T Award nominee Jack Ansett, Liv McKenzie (NZ Comedy Festival Best Newcomer 2019) and a split bill from Ben Hurley and Donna Brookbanks.

Award-winning writer, performer and comedian Sarah Harpur return to the Fringe in 2022 with her first comedy play, Sh*t Kid, which in its infancy was selected for the UNESCO Cities of Literature Short Play Festival in 2019.

The fictional performance tackles topics such as the painful intersection between motherhood and ambition with delicate wit.

The World’s First Lovers

The Late Night Line Up will once again take over the Emerson’s Festival Theatre, every Thursday through Saturday of the Fringe, entertaining festival-goers into the night with a hand-picked itinerary of headline comedians and musical talent.

There’ll also be comebacks from some of our Fringe faves, all bringing something a little different to the performances you may have seen before.

Happy You…!! Productions, directed by Ruth Carraway (formerly of UK series Grange Hill and The Bill), returns with a forum theatre piece developed and performed by people previously incarcerated; Jojo Marsh of Bondage Queen fame returns to Dunedin with A Nifty History of Evil, a hilarious journey through history’s biggest baddies; and Ōtepoti Hip Hop Hustle will be back and bigger than ever for 2022, presenting the four elements of hip hop: DJing, MCing, dance, and graffiti art.

The 11-day festival programme also offers the opportunity to explore art in different spaces.

Fancy watching a live Shakespeare performance from the comfort of your garden? This year you can with The Barden Party! A small troupe of travelling actors will be bringing music, mischief, magic to Dunedin gardens in a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Shakespearean performance is peppered with folk-like renditions of popular music ranging from Billie Eilish to Wham.

Surround yourself in sound with STORK AND GAMELAN, a piece made up of traditional and improvised compositions using gamelan – a traditional, large scale instrumental ensemble; and find art in surprising spots across the city with Cargo Bike Art Space offering an ever-changing programme of artists, showcasing artistic works of projection, puppetry, and sound.

The full Dunedin Fringe Festival programme will be launched in hard copy and online at a launch event in Ōtepoti on February 9, 2022.

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