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* VCR Fest | Melbourne Fringe *
Inclusive, ground-breaking performances. Exciting and inspiring conversations. Fresh and fun live music. Seriously sweaty dance parties. You can see it all at VCR Fest, and everyone is welcome! Streaming Fri 31 July - Sun 2 August, VCR Fest is three days of digital events coming from our home, to yours. Browse through our Virtual Common Rooms mixtape of events, carefully considered and home delivered. You'll find 13 top-notch shows and workshops, all ready to be enjoyed from the comfort of the couch... though we reckon you'll be up an boogieing at a few of them, so be sure to put some pants on. Choose your favourites (why stop at one when you don't even have to get up?!) and be sure to register your interest in events so we can remind you when to tune in. Part of the fun of seeing something live is chatting to your mates about it after. Stay online after the show to check out the digital foyer, where you can pay for your ticket (for Choose Your Price events), chat to your fellow audience members and get other show recommendations. Need help navigating digital events? Here's a quick guide VCR Fest Guide
VCR FestWords & Ideas Talking Digital Art 02 Aug 12:00pm (60min) Words & Ideas Creating Digital Art 01 Aug 12:00pm (60min) Cabaret Fringe Roulette 02 Aug 8:00PM (60min) Parties & Social Events Mr McClelland's Finishing School 31 Jul 9:00PM 'til Late Comedy La Nonna: The Little Bits We Love 02 Aug 2:00pm (60min) Comedy Game Boys Comedy presents: GB24 The Improvised Variety &... 02 Aug 6:00pm (60min) Parties & Social Events Fringe Fridays: A Virtual Comedy Quiz! 31 Jul 5:00PM (60min) Comedy Dazza & Keif: Rona Boner 02 Aug 4:00pm (50min) Dance & Physical Theatre Biladurang 2.0 01 Aug 5:00PM (50min) Words & Ideas Art x Access: Is Digital Art here to stay? 01 Aug 3:00PM (60min) Comedy Zoë Coombs Marr: Born Slippy 1 Jul 7:00pm (50min) Music Marie's Crisis 01 Aug 9:00PM 'til late Music Cry Club 01 Aug 7:00pm (60min) You may think, this far into our endless lockdown life, you know how digital arts festivals work. Well, not this one. "It's more than a series of YouTube links," promises Melbourne Fringe creative director and chief Simon Abrahams of their VCR (Virtual Commons Room) Fest, running from July 31 to August 2. So much more. There will be, for example, a "digital foyer" you can convene to after the show. There you can chat to the artists or your fellow audience members. A digital chatbot will start conversations "if it's too awkward" , Abrahams says. You can even "go to the bar" : click a button that delivers beer to your house. And once you're sipping that beer and haranguing your fellow festivalgoers, one of the other festival artists will sidle up and slip you a virtual flyer to their own show. You know, just like in real life. There will be a live singalong from a famous New York piano bar. An improvised 24-hour news channel. A comedy cabaret quiz. A virtual dance party. Abrahams is inordinately proud of the innovative digital platform that the Fringe has cooked up with a "brilliant team of nerds" . And, he admits, it's a proof-ofconcept for one version of the Fringe proper, currently scheduled for November, which could end up as a largely online event if the coronavirus lingers. "We want to give a sense of the spirit of the Fringe," Abrahams says. "We have 18 days of events in November and this is a great way for us to test some of the ideas, see how things roll out and what audience take-up is and how it works, before we do the big shebang." One of the most important innovations, he says, is the way artists are paid. There will be no upfront fee but after the show the audience will be invited to select from a series of suggested ticket prices, "none of which are zero" . The headline act is Australian comedian Zoe Coombs Marr - "a genius" , says Abrahams, who has created a new show for VCR. Abrahams says he chose all the acts looking for performers "who understand how to use a screen in the cleverest way" , such as Game Boys Comedy and Joel Bray performing a digital version of his Fringe hit Biladurang, live from a hotel room. But is he worried people are fed up with streamed performance? "If it's quality content, people will want to watch it," Abrahams said. "I think our audience is truthfully desperate for independent art, and they're not getting that on Netflix ."
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