A Bit About Fringe

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Te Kōhanga o Auaha — The Birthplace of Brilliance.

NZ Fringe has spent the last 34 years building a reputation for being a bold, brave and innovative arts festival.

It's different to other curated arts festivals in that it is "open-access" which means that anyone can register an event, with no gate-keeping. This allows for a bold, creative energy to permeate the festival with a huge diversity of events on offer. One of the best things about NZ Fringe is that audiences are able to witness the birth of “the next big thing”—it really is the Birthplace of Brilliance. You’ll see events you loved, events that moved or challenged you and events that are so creative that they're impossible to describe (those are the best!).

NZ Fringe, also known at times as the Wellington Fringe or just FRINGE!, started in 1990 when a group of performance makers came home from a trip to the mighty Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland and loudly proclaimed “we need some of that too!”. With the help of the NZ Festival (then known as The New Zealand International Festival of the Arts) Fringe was born as a one-week festival within a festival, in its ideal home: BATS Theatre. The festival quickly grew from there and established itself as a key player in the Aotearoa arts ecosystem, not just for its role as a launchpad for artists' careers, but also for Wellington’s culture-loving audiences! It's pretty remarkable that since the 1990s, NZ Fringe has evolved and grown to the scale it is now, with hundreds of events making it the largest multidisciplinary arts festival in Aotearoa. Tu meke!

NZ Fringe is run by the not-for-profit Creative Capital Arts Trust, who also bring Pōneke audiences the free street arts festival, CubaDupa. We rely heavily on our wonderful sponsors and funding partners who support us to keep bringing creative magic to Wellington every year.

Our small team is exhilarated to have delivered the most inclusive, diverse and successful Fringe to-date in 2023, and look forward to pushing this even further in 2024.

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