Fringe advocacy should not be taken for granted

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Kerri Glasscock

A recent ArtsHub feature called Fringe Festivals 'the arts world's version of a pyramid marketing scheme'. Here, a Fringe Festival Director responds to that criticism.

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Photograph: Cynthia Sciberras

About the author

In 2004 Kerri Glasscock co-founded the now legendary underground performance space 505 in Sydney alongside bassist Cameron Undy. Fourteen years on the company now run two full time professional performance spaces presenting six nights per week of local, interstate and international acts at Venue 505 ( in Surry Hills and a full time Independent theatre program at Old 505 Theatre ( in Newtown. The two 505s present over 320 productions/events a year and remain entirely self-funded and artist run. A strong focus on original contemporary works, audience and sector development and quality programming has seen 505 included in a number of ‘best of lists’ and win numerous awards.

In 2013 she was appointed as Festival Director/CEO of the Sydney Fringe Festival with tenure til 2019. Kerri is at the forefront of advocacy for the live music and performance sectors with a strong focus on venue regulation reform. She has contributed to a number of key action plans and resulting
policy reforms including:

2017/18: Committee for Sydney Nighttime Economy round table
2014: Off Broadway Plan- Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils
2013: Live Music and Performance Action Plan- City of Sydney

In 2015 she managed a 10 month pilot project looking at re-adapting retail space into temporary and low risk performance spaces, culminating in the report and subsequent recommendations Findings of the Temporary Theatre Pop-up Pilot Project- Sydney Fringe Festival and City of Sydney Council. In 2016 she directed the conception and activation of the new cultural arts precinct OFF BROADWAY in partnership with the Inner West Council. In 2017 she headed a groundbreaking pilot project activating a 7000m2 industrial site into a multi venue arts hub in partnership with HPG Australia and the City of Sydney.

She also sits on the Board of Directors of the City Recital Hall Sydney and was included in the Sydney Morning Herald Sydney Magazine’s annual 100 Most Influential and Inspiring People List in 2011.