Photo: J Forsyth

at ETU Ballroom, Trades HallBooked out

We Are United

Resistance, activism and change are the themes for the opening night of the 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival and we'll be celebrating – where else? – at Victorian Trades Hall. It's the world's oldest trade union building and, following recent restoration and refurbishment, it’s the new home of the Melbourne Fringe. Most importantly, it’s the perfect venue for a night of stories and songs of unity.

Trades Hall has always been a venue for agitating and celebrating. Over the years, it’s seen legendary clashes (and birthday bashes); it’s been, and remains, a site of rebellion, resistance, robust debate … and robust, though not always elegant, dancing. 

To open the 2019 Fringe Festival, we’re co-presenting a night of stirring and soaring entertainment from some of our favourite artists, writers and activists, including musician Amos Roach, playwright Jean Tong, storyteller and curator Sista Zai Zanda, musician and comedian Selina Jenkins and activist Sally Rugg.

They’ll share songs and stories inspired by Trades Hall and the collective spirit at the building’s heart. Then we’ll dance the night away at the festival club.

Presented in partnership with Melbourne Fringe.


Portrait of Sally Rugg

Sally Rugg

Sally Rugg is the executive director at She was a campaign director with GetUp and worked at the forefront of Australia's marriage equality campaign. Her first book, How Powerful We Are (Hachette, 2019), is about dirty politics, sophisticated digital campaigning and how Australia finally said 'yes' to love.

Portrait of Sista Zai Zanda

Sista Zai Zanda

Sista Zai Zanda is a storyteller, educator and curator of the Pan Afrikan Poets Cafe – an Afro-Literary matinée of beats, performance and poetry. Since 2015, Zai has spoiled audiences in Melbourne and Sydney with over 100 performances by African and First Nations storytellers including feature performances by renowned international artists Mahogany L Browne (NYC, Nuyorican Poets Cafe), Inua Ellams (Nigeria/UK), Kat François (Trinidad/UK) and Jive Poetic (NYC). 

Portrait of Jean Tong

Jean Tong

Jean Tong is a writer, dramaturg and director, and currently the Development Assistant at Goalpost Pictures (Cleverman, Holding the Man).

Portrait of Amos Roach

Amos Roach

Amos Roach is a Ngarrandjeri/Gunditj Mara man who is a musician and dancer. His music presents a narrative of healing, told with song and dance. His voice travels between the Desert, the Riverland and the Saltwater to the city like smoke from a fire. 

Portrait of Alistair Baldwin

Alistair Baldwin

Alistair Baldwin is a writer and comedian based in Naarm/Melbourne. He has written for ABC’s The WeeklyHard Quiz and Get Krack!n (the latter of which he also stars in as a very tired P.A.). In 2019 his play Lame was performed at Southbank Theatre as part of Melbourne Theatre Company's First Stage initiative. He is a former Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, and has had work published by ACMI Ideas, un. Magazine, Art + Australia, Archer, SBS and more.

Portrait of Selina Jenkins

Selina Jenkins

Selina Jenkins is an acclaimed musician, award winning cabaret artist and celebrated character comedian. She has performed extensively throughout Australia and the US, appeared on ABC Comedy Up Late and will be debuting her highly anticipated new solo show ‘Boobs’ at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. Selina is also the woman behind renowned comedy character 'Beau Heartbreaker'.

Portrait of Alex Morris

Alex Morris

Alex completed a Bachelor of Music (Composition)
 at the University of Western Australia in 2009. Since then he has been active working with orchestras, arts companies and festivals currently holding the position of General Manager with the Stonnington Symphony. Alex is in demand around the world as a vocal coach working with ensembles, teaching classes and running workshops with regular appearances as faculty at the BHS Harmony University.

How much?

This is a free event. Bookings are essential. We recommend arriving early to secure your seat. Read our ticketing FAQs here.Booked out


More about this venue, including large map, parking, public transport and accessibility.