Anywhere Fest’ shows fringe festivals way forward for the next 70 years

Anywhere Theatre Festival has thrown down the gauntlet to the big fringe festivals to do better for the artists that pay to make their festivals possible on the 70th anniversary of the first fringe festival in Edinburgh.

“*Photo of “Signs” presented at Redcliffe State High School by the Vacant Collective at 2017 Anywhere Theatre Festival taken by Geoff Lawrence (Creative Futures).

Anywhere Theatre Festival – a festival of performance anywhere but a theatre with a focus on enabling independent artists to produce new exciting works in rent-free non-traditional theatre spaces – has revealed figures from the 2017 Anywhere Theatre Festival (4-21 May) to make the main Australian fringe festivals sit up and take notice.

At this year’s Anywhere Theatre Festival 94.3% of available tickets were sold, a figure you won’t find in a fringe festival report for Edinburgh, Adelaide or Melbourne Fringe, who instead focus on a total figure of attendance that doesn’t state how many tickets were half price, free or how many were available for sale.

Amongst other statistics hard to find in other fringe festival reports that Anywhere Theatre Festival have revealed include:

  • 75% of artists at Anywhere Theatre Festival stated it would have not been possible to present or “very difficult” outside of the festival.
  • 98% of emerging artists had learnings from the festival and the resource provided and 63% said they had “significant learnings” or “aha! moments”
  • 68% of ticket purchasers came based on Anywhere marketing materials.

“That’s what a fringe festival should enable,” said Paul Osuch, Founder of Anywhere Theatre Festival., “Artists should be able to try new works, and audiences should be able to sample and support local artists they know little about and pay an appropriate amount so the performers make a profit.”

The impact outside Anywhere Theatre Festival is also significant, with an estimated additional $967,154 being spent seeing performance in the next twelve months throughout Queensland as a result of audiences experience at Anywhere Theatre Festival.

“We believe the major fringe festivals have lost sight of who they are there for. At best they are getting caught in a unthinking growth cycle and at worst, becoming little more than the arts equivalent of pyramid marketing schemes,”said Paul.

The major fringe festival keep going on about more performances, more acts, more free activities. The new artists they bring in also help to increase the overall attendance figures even when many individual shows are under attended and lose money. Stats on this are impossible to come by.

“We’ve shown how a fringe festival can really work and we’ll keep making it better for artists,” said Paul.

Anywhere Theatre Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

“Now it’s time for the major fringe festivals to listen if they want to remain relevant in another seventy years.”

Contact Anywhere Theatre Festival for quotes on 07 3102 4683 or for interviews, imagery and further information.

  • Wollongong Anywhere Theatre Festival 17-27 August 2017
  • Queensland Anywhere Theatre Festival is 10-27 May 2018
  • Richard Watts from ArtsHub writes about the first 70 years of the fringe featuring featuring quotes from Anywhere Theatre Festival CEO Paul Osuch (LINK HERE)

Summary of Statistics from 2017 Anywhere Theatre Festival (5-21 May)


95% increase in number of productions/exhibitions/workshops to 131 from 67 in 2016 including regional Queensland. Excluding regional productions, number of presentations increased 46% to 98.

94.3% of all available tickets were sold, up from last year’s 84%.

17,097 tickets sold this year, up 10.5% from last year’s 15,446.

41% of ticket purchasers came from outside Brisbane (for Brisbane events) and 50% travelled to the performance from out of town for regional Queensland events

95% of surveyed attendees would have stayed home if they had not come to an Anywhere Theatre Festival performance.

Producing an excellent event 

94% of in-person surveyed audience members rated their festival experience as Excellent or Above Average with Excellent increasing from 54% to 60%

90% of surveyed audiences agreed or strongly agreed that the festival and shows were well though out and put together.

80% of participating artists had their best or a better experience being part of Anywhere than other festivals (up from 69% last year)

Supporting independent artists

60% of artists said their production would not have been possible with Anywhere Theatre Festival and a further 15% stated it would have been “far more difficult” without the festival.

18% increase in the amount independent companies earned per ticket sale.

98% of artists presented work within 10 kilometres of their home

90% of participating artists achieved what they wanted to achieve.

98% of participating artists had learnings with over 63% stating “significant” or “Aha!” learnings.

Local Business

63% of attendees had not visited the location hosting the performance

70% of attendees stating they were much more likely to revisit that location or business as a result of their Anywhere Theatre Festival experience

Broader Exposure

24,301 rank of site in Australia, rated higher than (42,082), La Boite (56,545) and Brisbane Festival (39,932).

312,118 unique page views on web site (up from 243,840) with no system outages

523,405 total impressions and a reach of 134,000 on Facebook

Outcomes beyond the festival

$998,744  Potential new business for performance hosts over the next twelve months as a result of new customers revisiting (up from $545,131 in 2015).

$967,165  Additional to be spent on arts experiences in next twelve months by audience members. Surveyed audiences stated they were 69% “more likely” to attend more live performances in the next year than they had originally planned before attending Anywhere Theatre Festival.

Using that result sample and extrapolating to the  of the 107,554 total attendance, that means 74,212 people with an average ticket price (including free shows) of $14.60 translates into an additional $967,165 being spent on live performance tickets alone.

144  performances that have a high chance of happening in the next twelve months by performers and organisations producing work that would not have been produced (or very difficult to have) at Anywhere Theatre Festival.