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Bigger, better, bolder Fringe festival
Bigger, better, bolder Fringe festival

Perth's 2013 Fringe World will kick off with an Australia Day long weekend opening party in and around two Speigeltents and many other pop-up venues in the Perth Cultural Centre.

Already 50 per cent bigger than the 2012 Fringe, the 2013 festival will spread beyond the city for the first time with several satellite shows in the regional centres of Albany, Geraldton and Esperance thanks to some extra State funding.

"Following on from the success of the Fringe World tour of Karratha in September, which featured some of the best shows from the 2012 festival, more of Western Australia's regional communities will be able to enjoy these world-class performances," Premier Colin Barnett said at the launch of the full Fringe program today.

"Regional touring creates experiences for a broader number of West Australians, and provides additional development and performance opportunities for the artists involved."

The State has bumped up its Fringe funding to nearly $1.6 million after an impact study by British creative economy consultants BOP showed its $1.1 million contribution to the 2012 festival had generated nearly $14.7 million in knock-on spending by audiences, organisers and performers.

Opening on January 25, Fringe World will burst into life with a long-weekend series of free events, including Mechronos, a moving steampunk-style "performance machine" inspired by Leonardo da Dinci's engineering designs and created by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre.

"Performers not only hang off its moving aerial rigging points, but also power its motion from within a huge gopher wheel," Fringe World director Marcus Canning said.

Funded by Lotterywest, it would be the first of an annual series of commissioned new works for free public performance at the festival.

As well as the return of the 100-year-old De Parel Spiegeltent, the 2013 Fringe World includes a new element, The West Australian Idolize Speigeltent, a second ornate handmade pavilion of mirrors with painted scenes over its exterior.

Ten other pop-up theatre and circus tents, including a carousel island bar which doubles as a large fountain, have been imported from Holland temporarily for the festival.

Fringe hubs also are being set up in Mt Lawley, Leederville and Fremantle.

The theatre, comedy, cabaret, burlesque, music and other highlights across 50 venues range from the outrageous to the family-friendly and include the Wau Wau Sisters, Barry Morgan, Trixie and Monkey, Friskie and Mannish, Joe Bone's Bane trilogy and the Lunar Circus Kids Comedy Gala.

"Fringe is coming back bigger, better, bolder and brassier than ever," Mr Canning said.

The festival runs until February 24, with the final two weeks coinciding with the Perth International Arts Festival.

Tickets to all Fringe World shows went on sale yesterday. Prices range from free-of-charge to $40 with the average less than $20.

The full 2013 program is online at fringeworld.com.au