Taiwan to be featured at Melbourne Fringe Festival

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Taipei, Nov. 10 (CNA) Three Taiwanese productions will be presented at the upcoming Melbourne Fringe Festival in Australia, representing the country under a program organized by the Ministry of Culture for the first time, the organizers said in a recent statement.

The program, titled “Fringe Focus Taiwan,” comprises three productions to be available free online during the festival, which will open on Thursday and run through Nov. 29, according to the ministry.

This is the first time the cultural division of Taiwan’s representative office in Sydney has planned a program at the festival since it was first launched in 1983, the ministry said.

The three productions are titled “Something About Skin,” a contemporary dance with a robot vacuum cleaner by Lee Tsung-hsuan (李宗軒) and Chang Chien-hao (張堅豪), which will take place on Thursday and Friday; “Transhumanism: A Fair,” a magic show by Sean Chou (周瑞祥) on Nov. 19-21; and “Is(o)Land Bar: Cloud — Voyeur,” in which artists from Taiwan and Southeast Asia, plus local guests, will participate in drink dates in cyberspace on Nov. 25-28, according to the festival’s website.

The first two productions will be presented as pre-recorded videos, while “Is(o)Land Bar: Cloud — Voyeur,” which involves audience participation, will be streamed live, the ministry said.

Simon Abrahams, creative director and CEO of the festival, said in the statement that he expects the three productions created in Taiwan, where performing arts have remained relatively normal and vibrant amid the COVID-19 pandemic, will bring a unique perspective to the festival.

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Melbourne-based curator of the program Chuang Tseng-jung (莊增榮) pointed out that the Taiwanese productions stand out because they are created by groups of artists, compared to many of the more-than 240 productions in which Australian artists have had to work alone because of government restrictions to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak in the city and the whole state of Victoria.

Victoria, which has been the hardest-hit state by COVID-19 in Australia, with 20,345 of the country’s 27,678 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, only announced eased restrictions effective from midnight Sunday.

While the wearing of face masks is still required when residents of Victoria are outside their homes, they can now receive up to two visitors at home, compared to a ban on any visits prior to Monday.

As restrictions have also been relaxed for indoor entertainment venues, there will still be more than a dozen productions, including film screenings and live performances at the festival, although most of the events will take place online.

(By Chao Ching-yu and Kay Liu)

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