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Art on the Fringe: Forty Years of Melbourne Fringe


Event Status

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

Due to current severe weather warnings, Art on the Fringe: Forty Years of Melbourne Fringe will no longer be proceeding as planned.

All ticketholders have been contacted via email and/or phone, and tickets will be refunded to the original payment method. Thank you for your understanding, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused by this cancellation. We hope to reschedule the event at a later date.


Melbourne Fringe Festival is turning 40! And there’s no better way to celebrate than with a roaring evening of art, performance and conversation.

Wander through 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.

Grab a glass of wine and immerse yourself in an evening of bold performance and thought-provoking discussion, as past and present Fringe artists, including playwright Patricia Cornelius, comedian Sammy J, drag artist Stone Motherless Cold and Melbourne Fringe Living Legend Richard Watts, explore the evolution of the Melbourne Fringe Festival community as a barometer of the city’s social, cultural and political identity.

The event will open with a bold monologue by Cornelius, who was awarded the 2019 Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama for her body of work, including Runt, Shit, and Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? The night will conclude with a performance by Stone Motherless Cold, whose striking, sensual and graphic work exemplifies the bright artistic future that lies ahead for the Fringe community.

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

This event will be also be recorded by the Wheeler Centre.

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

Photo by Theresa Harrison. Cult, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2015.


Auslan Interpreted

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


Stone Motherless Cold

Stone Motherless Cold (she/they/re) is an Arrernte gem, currently based in Naarm. A crystalline being posing as human, they use drag to dabble in performance, spoken word and visual art. They are part of the Motherless Collective, a VIC NAIDOC LGBTQIA+ 2019 title winner and 1st-Runner Up Miss First ... Read more

Patricia Cornelius

Patricia Cornelius is a founding member of Melbourne Workers Theatre. She’s a playwright, novelist and film writer. She’s the recipient of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize and the 2019 Green Room award for Life Achievement. She’s been awarded the Victorian, NSW and Queensland PremiersR... 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

Richard Watts

Richard Watts is the National Performing Arts Editor of industry website ArtsHub; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre’s volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, a... Read more


Hansen Hall and Conversation Quarter, State Library Victoria

328 Swanston Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000

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