NZ Festival 2021 Artist Guide

NZ Festival 2021 Artist Guide

The answers to all your NZ Fringe 2021 questions lie here.


Hello NZ Fringe 2021 artists! Our small team is here to help you have the best time possible.

Can't find what you're looking for below? Please get in touch at or +64 4 212 4725. #nzfringe #makeitfringe


NZ Fringe 2021 staff

  • Tom Noble - Artist & Venue Manager -  liaison for artists & venues
  • Sasha Tilly - Festival Director
  • Sophie Laurenson - Operations Manager
  • Anna Fawcett - Marketing Manager
  • Ben Emmerson - Media Coordinator
  • Phil Loizou - Events Coordinator
  • Zen Willamson - Ticketing Manager
  • Eddy Hamling - Content Creator
  • Jess Brien - Social Media Assistant
  • Carissa Corlett - Festival Photographer
  • Grace Morgan-Riddell - Admin & Volunteer Coordinator 

What we do / what you do

NZ Fringe takes care of

  • Marketing the festival throughout the greater Wellington region, in NZ, and overseas.
  • Printing and distributing 25,000 program guides.
  • Listing your show on the Fringe website.
  • Running ticketing on your behalf through our website and Fringe box office.
  • Securing a festival-wide busking permit for street performances (let us know if you'd like to busk during the festival).
  • Organising judges to see every show in the festival, and hosting an awards celebration.
  • Running free forum/info sessions with industry professionals about the many aspects of presenting Fringe works.
  • Providing you with personalised artist cards that get you access to deals and discounts around town.
  • Encouraging festival directors and promoters to see your work.
  • Helping YOU in the lead-up and throughout the festival.

You are responsible for

  • Making your show (we can't wait to see it!)!
  • Marketing and publicising your show.
  • Providing us with ace publicity photos, reviews, and stories that can help us publicise the festival and your show.
  • Liaising with your venue, and making sure you or your venue has arranged for the tech equipment and front of house staff you need.
  • Advising us of any changes/corrections/cancellations to your show information in the program guide and website.
  • Need help sourcing props, set, crew? Join Fringe Classifieds on Facebook.

The NZ Fringe 2021 terms and conditions and code of conduct are here, for your reference.



Posters and flyers can be great ways to get your show seen by potential audience members. Make sure to include your show name, dates and times, venue, and any other details you think your audience will need.

Poster "frames" are required on ALL show posters. In 2016, we created Fringe poster frames for all Fringe shows to use in their design. This unifies all Fringe shows, and helps break through the noise of the numerous other festivals on at the same time. They look great and they really work. If you do not include the frame on your posters, your show will not be eligible for Fringe awards, so don't forget it! Frames are available in the artist resources folder.

When distributing posters, think about where your target audience might congregate or frequent, like businesses, cafes, restaurants, bars, halls, and clubs. At all times, you need to gain permission from a staff member or venue manager before displaying your poster. Wellington City Council rules state that you must get the property owner's permission, or Council's permission for Council-owned land or fixtures. Council property where you cannot put up posters includes: public street furniture, poles, poster bollards and holders (see Phantom Billstickers, below), seats, signal cabinets, bus shelters (contact Adshel). Posters on poles for community and charity events may be permitted; contact the Council to discuss.

Phantom Billstickers

Phantom Billstickers offers Fringe rates (these rates are weekly, starting on Sundays) to participating artists for printing and placing posters (make sure you've added the Fringe frame!), and distributing flyers. If you'd like them to place your posters, you must also get your posters printed through them as well. If you order through them, they will give you a deadline by which you must provide your artwork and payment; make sure you make the deadline, or your posters may not be placed! Note that you cannot place your own posters on designated Phantom Billstickers posts and boards.


Frames are not required on flyers, but make sure to include the name of your show, the NZ Fringe logo, your venue, show dates and times, and so people know where to buy tickets!

Chat to your venue and see if they have a place for you to leave your flyers, and if they can help you with distribution.

Wellingtonians can be pretty suspicious of flyerers as it's not really a culture we have here. The best places to flyer are around the Fringe box office, Wellington waterfront, and on Cuba Street. Flyering works best for customers looking for a show to see that night, but there is also some benefit to flyering a few days before your show starts, in order to raise awareness of the event and encourage customers to consider seeing your show on a future night.

When you are handing out a flyer to a potential customer, you need to combine the hard copy material with a verbal message that will convince the person to see your show. This is referred to as an 'elevator pitch,' a short, 1-2 sentence description about why your event and why people will like it. For example, "It's literally Pulp Fiction with strings attached." "It's Playschool meets Californication." "It's been nominated for/won [insert award here]." is Wellington's community radio station. 


We suggest starting your publicity campaign January 21 onwards. We will be providing a publicity list closer to the festival.

Media release

A media release is your prime vehicle for getting the media interested in covering your production. It's worthwhile spending a reasonable amount of time writing your media release (and getting friends/colleagues to proofread it) and then figuring out which journalists to send it to.

Your media release goes into our Fringe Media Kit which is distributed by us to all relevant media and interviewers. However, it is important that you (or your publicist) also distributes your media release.

Write your release as if it's an article going into a newspaper. The most important information needs to be in the first or second paragraph. Make sure it's clear, factual, and fascinating. In basic terms, your media release should include:

Date - The date that you're sending out the release.

Headline - Catchy, interesting, and summarising the key points of the story.

Lead - The lead paragraph is the key part of your release and contains the most important information. It must be interesting, succinct, and explains the main unique selling point of your show. It should answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Keep it to 2-3 lines long.

Body - The next paragraph should provide further information, written in the inverted pyramid structure, where the most important information is at the top of the release and the least important at the bottom. Use short sentences and short paragraphs with active language, in third person. Use quotes, like positive reviews, to make your writing more interesting and credible; remember that all assertions or opinions must be attributed to a particular person or organisation.

End - The last paragraph contains the least important information, for example background on the artist. It is customary to finish the release with -ends-.

Contact information - At the bottom, put "For further media information contact:" and include a contact name, email, and phone number.

Boiler plate ("About us") - The boiler plate is 1-2 paragraphs about the event, artist, or presenter of the media release. This provides an overview and isn't necessarily needed in the body of the release.


Things to think about when talking to your venue

  • Clarify all times and dates (of rehearsals, pack in and out, performances, how long you get the space before and after) and whether you'll be penalised if you over-run.
  • What are the venue charges?
  • How many people does the venue hold (capacity)?
  • Does the venue have seating available? How many can they seat? If your show is cabaret-style, do they have tables? Is there a hire charge for the chairs/tables? 
  • What is their emergency procedure?
  • What equipment does the venue have available? Does it have everything you'll need or will you need to hire extra equipment?
  • You may not be the only production using the venue. Is there somewhere you can store your props, set, etc. that is safe and out of everyone's way?
  • Does your venue have insurance that will cover you in the event of theft, loss, or damage, or is this something you need to look into yourself? This may also apply if you're hiring equipment.
  • Does the venue have their own technician or do you need to hire your own? If a house tech, what is their fee?
  • Does the venue have box office/front of house staff or will you need to provide your own? Where will they be set up to greet audience? What tools do they need (ex. table and chairs, cash float, reconciliation sheet, pens, lamp if dark area)?
  • Can the venue help with publicity? Can you be listed on their social media, enewsletters, gig guide listings, website?
  • Is there anyone the venue wants to give complimentary tickets to? Is there anyone that normally gets in for free or a discounted price?
  • Does the venue have security? What's it like? When does it start?
  • Will the venue be handling payouts? What is the expected amount of time this will take?

Venue contract

A venue contract is the formal agreement between your company/show and your venue. This will ensure that both parties are clear on any arrangements you've made and will safeguard both parties in the event of any change in circumstances. Your venue contract should include:

  • Venue hire charges.
  • Performance and rehearsal dates and times.
  • Liability of each party relating to damage, theft, loss, debt, costs, etc.
  • Responsibilities of each party regarding expenses, venue use, stage management, and front of house.
  • Responsibilities of each party regarding performances, administration, facilities, and marketing.
  • Insurance details.
  • Ticket sales, booking fees, complimentary tickets, who will provide the hard tickets, who will provide the float and bank the door sale takings, whether box office income will be split between the venue and the company/show, with any applicable minimum figures.
  • Alterations and termination of the agreement (notice to be given, costs incurred, etc).

Staging plan

Ask for a floor plan of the venue with the stage marked on it - this should be in perspective. If you have to, measure the place yourself. You may want to ask:

  • How big is the stage in metres? Make sure you know exactly how much space you need.
  • How high is the stage from the floor?
  • Are there steps up from the floor to the stage?
  • If the stage is made of rostra, are they heavy enough not to move when jumped around on? Can they be bolted together?
  • How far is the stage from the dressing room?
  • What is the access between the stage and the dressing room?
  • Where is the stage in relation to the majority of the audience?
  • Are there any impediments to the sightline of the audience?


You may want to ask:

  • Is there any room at the side or back of the stage for a stage manager/props/cast to be hidden?
  • Is there a dressing room space? Is it big enough for your cast and crew? Are there other spaces in the venue that you could use for this purpose?
  • Does the dressing room have costume racks? Does it have mirrors?
  • How long does it take to get from the dressing room to the stage?
  • Where is the dressing room in relation to a toilet or sink?
  • Will anyone else have access to the dressing room? Is it lockable?


You will need a music release signed by the composer or an APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association) license if your show contains music not written by you or members of your show. The NZ Copyright Act 1994 gives composers the right to control the public performance of their music and to receive remuneration; APRA royalties help keep musicians working so that everyone can enjoy the music - it is often the only way some musicians get paid.

Some premises will already have an annual Live License with PARA. If your venue does not ordinarily play music and you will be using music for your show, you will need a Casual License with APRA. Licensing information and forms are available from APRA.

Equipment hire

It pays to look around if you are intending to hire equipment. Different hire centres can vary in available equipment, conditions of rental, and price. Some local hire centres include:

  • Grouse Lighting
  • MJF Lighting
  • Hire Pool
  • Peak Audio Services
  • Oceania Audio
  • AV Services (audio visual)
  • Propeller Studios (props)
  • Vidcom (audio visual)

Ticketing & comps

NZ Fringe runs ticketing for the festival using Red61 ticketing, which is specifically designed for Fringe festivals. Your event will be loaded into our ticketing system according to the information you provided in your registration form.

We have sent you your login details for you to look at your sales and to book comps. If you want to change ticket prices or offer Rush Tix deals, contact

Fringe inside ticket fees are $2.50 per ticket $10.01+ and $1.50 per ticket $10 and under. This means that if your ticket price is listed as $20, you take home $17.50 per ticket; if your ticket price is listed as $10, you take home $8.50 per ticket. There is no additional booking fee for audiences. There is a credit card processing fee of $2 per transaction.

Audience members can buy Addict Cards for $15 per person. These cards entitle holders to 30% off tickets, priority information on deals, and specials at venues such as cheap drinks. All Fringe shows have Addict Card prices, as a requirement of our T&Cs.

Payout will be made the week of March 30, 2021, to the bank account provided in your registration form. Please check with your venue to see what their reconciliation policy is. International accounts will be subject to additional bank charges; these are beyond our control and are set by the banks.

FOH & door sales

Online bookings are open until show start time. At this time you will automatically be sent a sales sheet for that performance - you can choose what email address(es) you want this sent to. This will tell you how many tickets you have left to sell.

You must make your own arrangements to sell tickets at the door (unless otherwise arranged with the Fringe or your venue); check with your venue on how they'd like to do this. The Fringe does not take inside fees from door sales, i.e. you keep 100% of door sales. You'll need to provide your own front of house person (unless arranged by Fringe or your venue) to sell the tickets, as well as your own float, and reconciliation sheet. Make sure you keep track of door sales, as these need to be included in your final report!

If your venue is not providing a FOH manager, you will need to provide your own, to greet audiences, sell and take tickets, answer questions, and let the stage manager or tech know when everyone is in and the show can start. Make sure you've thought of the following:

  • Is your venue easy to find with the advertising you have in place? Do you need more directions or signage?
  • What arrangements are in place for patrons with accessibility requirements? Does the FOH manager know how to operate any lifts, etc and to give directions to accessible routes and washrooms?
  • What will the audience's first impression of the venue be?
  • Where can the audience wait for the show to start (lobby)?
  • Who is responsible for opening the house? What will their cue be? How do they round up the audience?
  • Are there staff members or volunteers in place to collect tickets? At what stage will the tickets be gathered, counted, and filed?
  • Once the audience is seated, what cue will be used to lower the house lights and start the show?
  • If your show has an interval, what arrangements have you made to ensure your audience is seated again when the second half starts?
  • Once the show has finished, how efficiently will you be able to clear the audience, close the house, and get the space ready for the next show?
  • Will you hand out promotional materials for your future performances or other Fringe shows to the audience as they leave?

Complimentary tickets

Fringe house holds - As per T&Cs of registration, NZ Fringe requires 10% of the house for your first two performances, and four tickets every night thereafter (fewer for small venues), i.e. if your house capacity is 80, we require 8 tickets for each of the first two performances, and 4 tickets for later performances. These tickets are used specifically for Fringe judges, festival directors and promoters, sponsors, and staff to see your production. These are put aside by us in Red61 and are released prior to the show if we haven't used them.

Artist comp holds - You can book as many complimentary tickets as you'd like to your performances, at no cost, through your Red61 login. We hold 6 tickets per performance (fewer for small venues) for you to use as comps; any unused comps are released the morning of the performance.

Reviewers - Over the last couple of years we've noticed that many shows who are really wanting reviews weren't being picked up by the limited reviewing organisations, who often are selecting shows at random to review. We'll be sending out "how to get reviewers attention" guides, along with media contact lists. If you're really keen for a review get in early to secure them!

Fellow artists & volunteers - We run stand-by queues for artists and volunteers. Show your artist card at the venue, and if the show is not sold out, you'll be admitted for free. If you want to guarantee that a particular artist can get in to your show, we suggest booking them a comp ticket ahead of time.

Artist cards & deals

Register everyone involved in your show on Eventotron; they'll each receive an artist card/pass. These cards identify you as a NZ Fringe 2021 artist, and get you access to Fringe discounts and stand-by queues for shows. To create your artist cards, log in to Eventotron and look at the bottom of the left-hand column of your event, for the pink button that says "passes". These are due in February.

Venues will most often operate stand-by queues for artists to see shows. If you haven't booked a ticket and there are seats available, you can use your artist pass to get in for free. Let the front of house staff know that you're there. Each venue will have it's own process for stand-bys. Venues reserve the right to refuse entry. If a show is likely to sell out, you can buy a ticket at the reduced Addict Card price.

Your artist pass gets you discounts on marketing, as well as other fun things like drinks. We'll be updating the list of artist deals as things firm up, so check this space.


A realistic approach to your event with a sound budget is essential in offsetting financial problems and assisting any funding applications. Some tips to remember:

  • If you are applying for funding, you're aiming for a 'break even' figure, i.e. your expenses and your revenue should be equal or very close to it, including the funding that you're applying for. This demonstrates financial need for the funding (you're not making a profit).
  • For box office, budget 30% of your maximum capacity as income. Remember to not include the inside ticket fee from your revenue.
  • Most Fringe productions work as a co-op share, meaning that for wages, each member receives a share of the final profit. Some roles (ex. publicist, designer) may be paid with a fee rather than a share.
  • Don't forget to include contra or private sponsorship (contra should balance, i.e. if your revenue includes $1,000 of free design work, your expenses should also include $1,000 of design work).
  • If looking for sponsors, think about what you can offer them in return for monetary or product sponsorship - tickets to the show, an exclusive experience for staff, advertising in your programme or on your poster, or something even more 'Fringey'. Think about businesses that fit with your show or have something you need, and approach them. Keep your ask reasonable. It's a tough climate to be giving in, but it's always worth asking.



We will be making one payout to artists, arriving the week of April 19, 2021 (potentially a little earlier - we'll try!)  Payouts will go to the bank account that you have submitted in your Eventotron registration or to where you've indicated to your venue they'll go.

Final report

At the end of the festival, we'll send you a link to fill out some information about how your show went. This is how we receive your feedback about your show and your NZ Fringe experience, as well as providing essential information that we use to get funding from government bodies.

The post-festival report is mandatory, and is due Friday 23 April, 2021. Upon receipt, we'll give you back your $50 bond. If you do not submit your post-festival report, you will not receive your bond, and you will be ineligible to receive Kākano funding for the next two years (2022 and 2023).

International artists

NZ Fringe has 'festival status' with ImmigrationNZ, meaning that you don't need a visa to be part of the festival if you are travelling on certain passports. Check the "visa waiver" countries list to see if this applies to you. You will need a letter from NZ Fringe confirming your participation, and a copy of a letter from ImmigrationNZ that NZ Fringe can supply to you. Request a letter of participation here.

Artists from countries not on the "visa waiver" list* will need to apply for their own visas.

As of October 1, 2019 all* those travelling to New Zealand will need an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) before arriving in New Zealand. This includes all visa waiver countries. Visit ImmigrationNZ for more information.

*Australian citizens travelling on an Australian passport do not need an NZeTA and do not need to apply for a visa (Australian permanent residents do need an NZeTA).

All payments to international accounts will incur international processing fees.


We have recently started a billeting program to provide free or affordable accommodation for out-of-town and international artists. As this program is still young, we may not be able to provide billets for all out-of-town artists. We'll do our best to house you, but we strongly encourage you to use any local contacts you have and not to expect a billet.

Can you provide billeting for an artist(s)? Fill out this form!

Do you need somewhere to stay? Fill out this form!


We're here to help. Email or call us at +64 4 212 4725.