Dublin Fringe Festival Appoints New Director
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Main image: Kris Nelson, incoming Director at Dublin Fringe Festival

Below: Break, a new play for HotForTheatre by Amy Conroy


Dublin Fringe Festival takes place 7-22 September, 2013

Dublin Fringe Festival Appoints New Director

Kris Nelson, a Montreal-based producer and curator, has been announced as the new director of the Dublin Fringe Festival. Nelson, who succeeds Róise Goan as she concludes five years at the multi-disciplinary arts festival, is the founding director of Antonym Productions, a Canadian organisation that manages a range of artists working in theatre, dance, live art and music. He is also a curatorial advisor to the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver.

Nelson has already had some contact with the Dublin Fringe before; Evan Webber, the Canadian theatre maker who brought his critically successful production Little Illiad to the Fringe in 2010, is one artist in Nelson’s stable. It is also understood that one Dublin-based company is in negotiations to appear at the 2014 PuSh festival, which would signal the first Irish inclusion in that festival’s ten-year history.

Goan, who hands over to Nelson this September at the conclusion of her final programme, said of the appointment: “I am delighted that Kris Nelson has been appointed to lead Dublin Fringe Festival into its next phase. I have got to know Kris over recent years as an esteemed colleague and friend. He is well respected at home in Canada and internationally as an excellent producer, skilled collaborator and connector, with exceptional taste and a very good understanding of festival culture worldwide. I have no doubt that he will lead the excellent team at Dublin Fringe Festival forward into new and exciting territories.”

Nelson himself remarked, “Without a doubt Róise Goan and her team have created an incredible chapter for Dublin Fringe Festival, introducing audiences to bold works, fostering a generation of emerging makers and establishing the year-round FRINGE LAB. I’m excited to build on this momentum.” The director designate also described Irish artists as “savvy producers and makers who are creating powerful and lively works” adding that his new role would involve “facilitating unconventional ideas, building relationships across borders, and connecting audiences with great art.” It may also involve efforts to attract a title sponsor, following the end of Absolut’s sponsorship last year and a general decline in state subsidy for the arts.

Andrew Lowe, Chairperson of Dublin Fringe Festival, added, “Any change of leadership in the festival is an opportunity for renewal, and we have every confidence that Kris will build on Róise’s success, and at the same time make his own indelible mark on the festival and the cultural life of the city.”

The Dublin Fringe Festival recently announced highlights of its 2013 programme, including two co-productions: Thirteen, a new project from site specific/site responsive mavens ANU Productions that explores the 1913 Lockout, and Amy Conroy’s new play Break for HotForTheatre set among teachers and their role in the education system. The festival which announces its full programme in August and runs from Sep 2-23 will also host comedian and author Maeve Higgins’s debut play, Moving City, and the return of the UK’s Nic Green with a piece about national identity entitled Fatherland.


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