During this year’s festival, the Rymill Park hub had to work around the challenges posed by the construction of the O-Bahn extension but managed to negotiate to use alternative areas of the park and thereby extend its capacity to 3800 people.
For next year’s Fringe, it will expand even further – including into space previously occupied by the Fringe Club – with a likely capacity for around 6500 people and an area of more than 9500sqm.
Gluttony owner Daniel Michael says the number of tents will increase from nine to 12, with the biggest able to hold 650 people, while the number of shows has grown from around 100 to 145.
“We added the Parasol Lounge (capacity 180) and the Flamingo (capacity 550) purely based on demand during artist registrations … the demand was very high this year,” he says.
“But also there’s natural growth each year as people become more aware of us – most of the time artists who come to Gluttony want to return and we actively seek to be a destination that people enjoy being in.”
Among Gluttony’s big shows announced today as part of the full 2018 Adelaide Fringe program launch are the Soweto Gospel Choir, new adult circus show Rouge (a blend of acrobatics, operatic cabaret and tongue-in-cheek burlesque), 2017 Edinburgh Fringe hit Choir of Man (a blend of live music and dance, with a bar on stage), a new show by former Fringe favourite Red Bastard, and Canadian circus-music show Tabarnak (by the company that presented Barbu).
Michael says the hub is introducing several new children’s spaces, including a Nerf Gun Arena for older kids, and a nature play zone run by Wild Imagination. The latter will offer family sessions, as well as “drop and go” sessions where parents can leave their children for two-and-a-half hours while they go to watch a show.
To make the most of the additional park area it has gained, Gluttony will more than double the number of food outlets and also add additional bars.
“From running the Lucky Dumpling Market this year during OzAsia, we realised that people come to locations where there’s a lot of food, sometimes without any idea of where they’re going to eat,” Michael says.
“In the past we haven’t really been interested in that; we’ve just been interested in selling tickets to shows … but this year we decided to make it part of the attraction and a reason people might want to come to the park.”
About half of the 10 or so food outlets will be run by businesses that also have bricks and mortar premises, and Fringe-goers can expect everything from Thai, Vietnamese and Nepalese, to Greek, Italian and Spanish.
“We’re trying to get a broad cross-section of food – things people can eat quickly before shows as well as things they can sit down and enjoy.”
In Gluttony’s first year of operation, 2011, it had capacity for 1100 people and just three tents – the largest of which could fit 220 people. Michael admits that even then, it struggled to fill them.
“It’s kind of got a mind of its own,” he says of the growth since then.
“It’s generally driven by the demand from artists wanting to get into tents.
“Our goal has always been to be a part of the Fringe, a part of the arts festival, which is why it’s taken us so long to expand the food and beverage footprint, but even now it’s probably small compared to what the other hubs have done in the past.”
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