The West

Mirror tent pops up for Fringe World fun
Opening act: Fiona Cooper-Smith and Melanie Canning in the Idolize spiegeltent. Picture: Lee Griffith/ The West Australian

With less than a week until the opening of Fringe World, the newest addition to the fest- ival's repertoire of spectac- ular venues has taken shape.

_The Weekend West _Idolize spiegeltent, in the heart of the Urban Orchard, is on loan from the Dutch Van Rosmalen family, who specialise in restoring and moving rare century-old travelling venues.

It is big sister to Fringe World's own spiegeltent De Parel (The Pearl), which this year takes pride of place in the Cultural Centre's Secret Garden.

Idolize can hold up to 450 people and is lavishly decorated in baroque style with intricate carvings, paintings, plush velvet booths - and the all- important mirrors.

Dutch for "mirror tent", the venues originated in Belgium and have been used as mobile dance halls in Europe since the late 19th century.

With a program one-and-a -half times bigger than last year, seeking out additional venues that represent the spirit of fringe has been the job of the festival's director, Marcus Canning.

"Pop-up venues are what make a fringe festival, what make it truly spectacular," he said.

"They are ephemeral and that is their attraction, they are here and then they are gone."

Fiona Cooper-Smyth, who will open De Parel spiegeltent with her show, Divalicious!, said it was a "great honour" to perform in such an historic venue.

"It is one of those venues full of character and history," she said.

Word of the success of the Perth festival has spread among the global fringe performance community, with more artists than ever before applying to stage perform- ances at the event.

"It's the ultimate accolade - for artists to endorse what you are doing," Canning said.

The West Australian

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