The 1964 Adelaide Festival of Arts was held from March 7 - 21, 1964. As the Festival grew, so did the approved and unapproved Fringe activities.

In 1964, there were 52 art exhibitions, collections and performances that made up the approved Fringe. In the Festival Guide they were listed as: Other Events, Other Exhibitions, Festival Fair, and Flower Day.

It was also reported in the Festival Bulletin - Outstanding Success of Third Festival, that an estimated 13,000 people saw 'fringe productions' such as the Adelaide University Theatre Guild's Night on Bald Mountain, the Sheridan Theatre's Night of the Iguana and other performances including revues.

1964 also saw an increase in the number of unofficial local exhibitions, events and performances that formed an unofficial Fringe augmenting the official Fringe.

Festival or Fringe? This was certainly a hot topic in 1964!

The Festival Board refused to accept a Patrick White play, Night on Bald Mountain for the 1964 Festival. The University Theatre Guild then decided to perform the world premiere of this production at Union Hall, an event which had occured in the lead up to the 1962 Festival of Arts. By going it alone, this then forced the Festival Board to acknowledge the valuable contribution that local/ community/ amateur performance could make.

Other Fringe events included a satirical revue with sharp barbs at the Festival itself, aptly entitled On the Fringe and one of the best presentations of drama in the whole festival – Tennessee William's Night Of The Iguana.

During 1964, there was also a number of newspaper and journal articles which referred to 'the Fringe':

  • Benevolent 'bite' in "On The Fringe", The Advertiser, 6 March 1964, review by Paul Griffith who refers to the nexus between high culture and fringe activities.
  • Festival Has Arrived. The Arts Calendar, by Geoffrey Hatton, The Age, 16 March 1964. Hatton writes about the official program and refers to an 'indulgent and earnest fringe', referring to the drama content in the Festival.
  • Adelaide Festival Had Wayside Pleasures, Geoffrey Hutton, The Age - 21 March 1964. Hatton touches on the high standards of local 'fringe' drama productions.
  • Patricia Rolfe's Article Adelaide – The Third Time Up, The Bulletin, 21 March 1964,comments "The fringe is now as thick as a Beatle's". This is a sign of vigor, but it is also something which can swamp the main endeavour.
  • Two Dramas and A Farce by Max Fatchen, The Advertiser, 29 March 1964. Fatchen comments: "Three plays, distinct in character, and stemming from three separate quarters of the theatrical world, will be brought together as 'fringe' activities under the aegis of the Festival of Arts."
  • Adelaide's Orgy . . . and, oh, the snobbery! Robert Hughes, Adelaide Truth, 21 March 1964. Hughes condemns the Festival for not officially staging Patrick White's Night On Bald Mountain. He writes, "I would like to know why events like this are not considered central to the festival."


"The Open Platform – From Fringe to Focus in Pursuit of the Adelaide Fringe Festival", Martin Christmas, Adelaide, 1999.
Martin Christmas, Briefing paper 'fringe activities' to Focus 76, 2009.
Martin Christmas, Attachment 2, 2009: Press Clippings 1960 -78
Newspaper Articles (as above)

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