Auckland Live Fringe Town Unveils 2020 Programme

The wild child of the performing arts, Auckland Live Fringe Town returns to take over the magnificent Auckland Town Hall from 25 February to 1 March with an explosive line-up of unconventional experiences.

Proudly part of the 2020 Auckland Fringe Festival, Fringe Town has enticed thrash metal stars, an alternative-indie organist, Tongan kava bowl tale-tellers, Māori haka theatre performers, artivists, and eclectic live musicians to make creative use of every nook and cranny within the Auckland Town Hall. Get ready to join us on the fringe in the very centre of town, for this extraordinary festival-inside-a-festival.

For one night only, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Sarah Mary Chadwick will command the Auckland Town Hall organ like never before, when she performs her five-star concept album The Queen Who Stole The Sky, a ‘terrifyingly loud masterpiece’ (The Guardian). The New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based grunge musician will bring the grandeur of Auckland’s Town Hall to resonant life with the work, which was commissioned by the City of Melbourne and written in just three months. Chadwick’s chillingly beautiful voice and evocative, existential lyrics paired with the power of the grand organ make for a musical experience like no other.

Taking an ‘artivist’ approach with a bold call-to-action, The New Zealand Dance Company (Shona McCullagh) and The Conch (Nina Nawalowalo and Tom McCrory) present the premiere of their new dance/theatre work This Fragile Planet. Hope and humanity’s endless ability to persevere through trial and tribulation are themes of the work, which uses the show as a vehicle to explore intergenerational democracy and regeneration across the natural world. Choreographed by Ross McCormack and performed to intimate audiences of just 100 people per show, it has audience and performers sharing the floor of the Great Hall in a touching and ultimately uplifting journey of imagination and connection.

Using dance to explore both action and reaction, Hawaiki TŪ’s powerful new work Taurite invokes the ancestral roots of Māori dance in a vital and ritualistic experience. Using indigenous physical expression, the company takes us on a contemporary journey of reclamation in the Concert Chamber, for a strictly limited season that showcases haka at the height of its storytelling powers.

For theatregoers, award-winning Pasifika theatre company Tales from a Kava Bowl present Burning Opinion, a bilingual piece performed in Tongan and English. Set in the lead-up to the 2006 riots in Tonga’s capital, it combines the power of traditional culture and the force of contemporary theatre in an evocative exploration of movement, dance, song, and spoken word to re-imagine this time period in Tongan. Going behind the scenes in this moment of history, this work will also take us backstage into the Green Room of the Great Hall – a treat for audiences to access a space rarely seen by the public.

A wholly unique multi-sensorial experience, Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle? is a 20-minute installation art performance played on a loop in the Concert Chamber to an intimate audience of 20 people at a time. The installation was created by award-winning lighting designer Rachel Marlow in her debut work as a producer. Inspired by the rhyming Brothers Grimm tale The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle, which Marlow loved as a child, the story follows a sour old woman who is continually granted wishes from a fairy, only to find she cannot be satisfied.

After picking up the Fringe Hero and Best Musical Act awards in the 2019 Auckland Fringe Awards, Outsider Sounds returns with an eclectic new line-up for 2020. Curated by Bob Frisbee and Matthew Crawley, a handpicked selection of the finest musicians from around Auckland and beyond will create an alcove of sonic delights with their free performances. Audiences are invited to take a trip up the Town Hall’s grand foyer staircase as the top-floor mezzanine transforms into an acoustic lounge-bar in a series of 13 intimate gigs over five days.

The Fringe Town music programme is headlined by the impressive teen trio Alien Weaponry, performing in the Great Hall after winning the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut at the Taite Music Prize awards last year. Fusing old-school thrash and groove with lyrics in English and te reo Māori, the Northland brothers return home for their first show in Aotearoa for 2020, after taking festivals across Scandinavia by storm and having their debut record voted album of the decade in Finland.

After an incredible debut in 2019, Auckland Live is delighted to bring Fringe Town back for the 2020 festival, allowing all to experience the historic Auckland Town Hall in exciting and unexpected ways. Unafraid to tackle the political and challenge expectations from every angle, Fringe Town is Auckland’s chance to embrace the extraordinary.

Fringe Town plays 25 February – 1 March as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival 2020.

For more details and bookings visit


This Fragile Planet by The New Zealand Dance Company & The Conch
Tue 25 – Wed 26 Feb, 7pm
Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall
*Full price $35, Concession $25, Fringe artists/Students $15 – general admission

Outsider Sounds
Tue 25, Wed 26, Thu 27, Sat 29 Feb and Sun 1 Mar, performance times vary
Concert Chamber Balcony, Auckland Town Hall

Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle?
Tue 25, Wed 26, Thu 27, Sat 29 Feb and Sun 1 Mar
Opening times vary, plays every 20 min
Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall
*$10 general admission

Burning Opinion by Tales from the Kava Bowl
Tue 25, Wed 26, Thu 27 Feb
Tue & Thu 7pm | Wed 8pm
Green Room, Auckland Town Hall
*Full price $20, Concession $15, Child $10

Taurite by Hawaiki TŪ
Sat 29 Feb – Sun 1 Mar, 4pm
Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall
*Full price $20, Concession $15

Sarah Mary Chadwick
Thu 27 Feb, 8pm
Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall
*Full price $35, Concession $25, Fringe artists/Students $15.

Alien Weaponry
Sat 29 Feb
Doors open at 7pm, support at 7.30pm, Alien Weaponry on at 8.30pm
Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall
*Full price $35, Concession $25, Fringe artists/tertiary students $20,
*Service fees and terms and conditions apply.