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Art on the Fringe: Forty Years of Melbourne Fringe


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Celebrate the iconic festival that has emboldened the Melbourne arts scene since 1982.


Enjoy a roaring evening of art, performance and conversation, celebrating 40 years of Melbourne Fringe.   

Begin your evening by exploring State Library Victoria’s major exhibition The Rest is Up to You, a collection of memories, thoughts and ideas about the future of Melbourne Fringe Festival, contributed by artists, producers, directors and audiences.  

Then, grab a glass of wine and experience a captivating experimental performance by Vidya Rajan, whose work spans screenwriting, theatre, comedy, and digital spaces, before she joins a panel including beloved comedian Sammy J, actor, director and writer Maude Davey, and host Tim Byrne to discuss the evolution of the Melbourne Fringe community as a barometer of the city’s social, cultural and political change, and what the future may hold for art making on the fringe. This special event will include a musical performance by Sammy J and conclude with a performance by Maude Davey. 

Revel in the past, present and future of one of our city’s best loved and most culturally democratic independent art festivals.  

Photo by Suzanne Phoenix

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Moira Finucane will no longer be appearing at this event. The event will instead feature actor, director and writer Maude Davey.

Presented by the Wheeler Centre, State Library Victoria and Melbourne Fringe


Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact reception on 03 9094 7800 or


Tim Byrne

Tim Byrne is a bookseller at Avenue Bookstore, where he has hosted countless author interviews, including with such Australian luminaries as Tim Winton, Thomas Kenneally and Magda Szubanski. He is also a performing arts critic and journalist, his work appearing regularly in The Guardian, Australian ... Read more

Maude Davey

Maude Davey has been making work in and out of Melbourne for more than thirty years. She trained at VCA and appears in films, on television and on stage with reasonable regularity. In the nineties she, like all of Australia, was inspired by visiting Japanese companies, including Sankai Juku and Dai ... Read more

Sammy J

Sammy J is an award-winning comedian, writer and musician. A proud nerd, he abandoned his law degree to travel the world and sing funny songs for a living. You may have seen him on TV, at a festival, or as one half of the man/puppet duo Sammy J & Randy. He is the host of ABC Radio Melbourne Brea... Read more

Vidya Rajan

Vidya Rajan is a writer and performer currently based in Australia working across screenwriting, theatre, comedy, and digital space. A former writer-in-residence at the Malthouse Theatre, graduate of the VCA, and a recipient of Screen Australia’s Developer Program, her work has often been describe... Read more


Hansen Hall and Conversation Quarter, State Library Victoria

328 Swanston Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.