The 1988 Adelaide Festival Fringe was held from February 26 – March 27.

The Guide stated "It's the biggest lineup of artists we've seen yet at an Adelaide Festival Fringe with more acts and style of presentation than ever before - coming to entertain, challenge, excite, even shock you!"

There were 213 organisations representing over 1,200 individual artists who presented over 260 productions and exhibitions as part of the Fringe. There were over 550,000 attendances at indoor and outdoor events.

In 1988, the Fringe Board and its committees reaffirmed the principle of the Fringe being "an open platform for the Arts" – that anyone wishing to present their work under the banner of the Fringe should be able to do so and that the Fringe would provide them with clear information and advice to enable them to do that.

Additional strategies to encourage greater community participation in the Fringe were also devised and implemented successfully during the 1988 Fringe. The Fringe Board monitored overseas Fringe Festivals and in discussion with Actors Equity in the UK, the Fringe Board decided to pursue a policy of allowing overseas participation in the Fringe.  "It seemed nonsense to have an international festival and only a parochial Fringe," Simon Stretton, Chair of the Fringe.

The UK experience had shown that international participation in Festival Fringes had enormous benefits for local performers and audience alike, so this led to the establishment of a Special Entry Visa for overseas performers wishing to take part in the Fringe.

1988 Festival Fringe Highlights:
For the first time the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council provided funds to employ a part time Visual Arts Coordinator.

The Fringe operated a rock music circuit with some of the best-known names in Australian and overseas music.

In an Australian first, there was a Three Day Novel Writing event staged in shop windows around the Adelaide CBD.

The Advertiser sponsored the Fringe for the first time in 1987/88 by supporting the Poster Competition, The Daily Diary Advertising and Program and Festival Features.

A new approach was adopted after a review of the 1986 Fringe Film Festival. For 1988, it was decided that the entire responsibility for the event should be handed over to the Media Resource Centre. Thus Frames was born as an entirely independent event within the Fringe.

The Fringe Youth and Education Program was one of the most successful aspects of the multi dimensional Fringes in recent years. The Fringe YEP had come of age but it now might have to leave home due to lack of future funding.

In 1988 performances by performing arts groups new to Adelaide and by local groups were outstanding. Some of these were: Sydney Front, Inside Out Theatre, People Next Door, Sarah Cathcart, Helen Vicqua and Sadko Balalaika Orchestra, Lloyd Jones, Sidetrack, Zootango, Doug Anthony Allstars and many more.

New work by Adelaide's productive visual arts community continued to attract attention. The Fringe maintained its support of visual arts as its top priority and assisted with as much gallery space as possible for new artists to exhibit their work.

The Fringe Club was highly acclaimed by the public, performers and the media. It continued to provide a popular focal point and meeting place.

1988 Fringe Guide
Focus: Adelaide Festival Fringe Inc -  Report 1987-88
Focus: Adelaide Festival Fringe Inc – Annual Report 1989 – 1990
1988 Media Highlights

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