Red Light is alright for The New Zealand Fringe Festival

The New Zealand Fringe Festival (NZ Fringe) confirms that its 2022 festival programme is prepared and safe to go ahead under the ‘Red’ setting of the Covid Protection Framework (Traffic Light System) this Summer across Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington, 18 February – 12 March, 2022.

Having successfully navigated the last two years of Covid-19 Alert Level changes, the New Zealand Fringe Festival is in a fortunate position to operate under all three levels of the recently introduced Covid Protection Framework and has been able to adapt to the announcement of a nation wide change to ‘Red’ setting.

Festival Director, Vanessa Stacey says: “The NZ Fringe Team along with all of our incredible venues have been working for months, to ensure that we can still deliver our outstanding programme as safely as possible under Red for both our amazing artist and audiences.”

Following government guidelines and health measures to maintain social distancing, NZ Fringe has been able to reduce audience capacities across all its 34 venues. Necessity is the mother of invention, so a pre-emptive approach to ticketing was taken this year, with a capped first ticket release at each show’s respective ‘Red’ capacity, before their full ‘Orange’ / ‘Green’ capacities went on sale in February.

Although the likelihood of releasing full capacity tickets during the festival season looks unlikely, the change to ‘Red’ has meant all current ticket holders have been relatively unaffected by the change in setting and shows within the festival have not had to return or re-allocate tickets.

Artist Manager, Tom Nobel says: Fringe artists are very strong and are an incredibly dynamic bunch; they all appreciate why we’re in ‘Red’ and are adapting so well to it. It’s hard work but the feeling is super positive, they’re so excited to safely debut their art to the world.

As an open-access arts festival, NZ Fringe prides itself on keeping participation in the arts low-barrier for audiences and artists.

However, under the current circumstances ‘Red Light’ has put a strain on the amount of tickets possible to move when factoring in reduced capacities.

To preemptively counteract a potential shift of Traffic Light settings, along with creating more opportunities for artists to engage with patrons, NZ Fringe introduced a new donation feature this festival year called Ticket Plus (+); a system that allows audiences to support the artists directly with an additional $5 to $10 alongside their ticket purchase.

Fringe Festival artist and independent producer involved in six 2022 NZ Fringe shows (100% Wrong, Sunday Soiree, Agent Provocateurs, A Nifty History Of Evil, Dying Swanologues, & Community).

Jo Marsh says, “When the announcement of Red came out, it wasn’t unexpected, but it was a large blow to producers who had sunk hundreds of hours and had financially invested into props, costumes, rehearsal spaces and marketing. As a community we’re really rallying together because we understand the importance of the arts right now. We’re also equally aware of the losses we stand to make under ‘Red’ too. Many of us feel the alternative to cancel is more depressing than pushing on in a reduced but safe environment under the current circumstances for audiences to connect and have a good time.”

NZ Fringe has supported emerging and established artists to develop new and groundbreaking arts experiences and ideas for the last 32 years. “The Birthplace of Brilliance” New Zealand Fringe Festival opens 18 February and runs until 12 March in Pōneke, Wellington with a kaleidoscope of events to amuse, entertain and uplift this Summer.

Tickets on sale now.

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