There’ll be almost a convoy of Raglan artists, performers and musicians heading back and forth across the divvy from later this month as the eighth Hamilton Fringe Festival is staged over a fortnight in venues and galleries around the city.

The festival’s billed as an event which attracts “the best creative minds” from the wider community and further afield — and Raglan’s involvement this year is testament to that.
This year’s line-up includes two Raglan projects and they promise to deliver some “challenging stuff”, says creative director Justine Francis.

Justine, a Raglan resident herself now after years of to-ing and fro-ing , says it’s nice to see her new hometown’s positive artistic attitude so well represented at a festival which prides itself on original works and is not commercially driven.

Raglan painter and sculptor Jodi Collins is curating one of the two projects, a group exhibition called Colours of a Carnival. She’s convinced that having local artists involved in a Hamilton scene of such huge variety creates opportunity and confidence — particularly for the many locals who work largely in isolation.
It’s the second successive year Jodi’s taken part in the festival and her interactive show — which runs in Victoria Street’s Riverside Mall for a fortnight, from September 22 to October 6 — sets out to capture the essence of a carnival with all its “theatrics, excessiveness, absurdity and bizarreness”.

“Carnival won’t be your average show in that the opening night will be filmed and played over the duration of the production, the footage being an art piece on its own,” she says.
Artists will be using various mediums, she adds, from film, music and painting to wearable arts, sculpture and installation. Among them will be Moz-art’s Lin Van Craenenbroeck with her colourful array of wearable art, well-known music man Felix of B-Side Records, Drama Trix co- ordinator Ruth Hare and illustrator Denise Fort.

Also possibly appearing will be jugglers from Waitetuna-based Circus Aotearoa and two local firedancers.
After tracking down her wide variety of talent from the Raglan community, Jodi’s now applying for funding from Creative Hamilton. “I love collaborating, putting on shows,” she enthuses. “I love coming up with a project and getting the talent that’s available here.”

Meanwhile there will be quite a crossover of artists — among them Felix and Ruth Hare — in the second of the Raglan productions at this year’s festival. Home Heart Land, co-produced by Raglan midwife and part-time musician Karin Bettley, plays at the Meteor Theatre near the festival’s end (October 4 and 5).
Karin describes it as a collaborative series of short performances or “heartfelt stories” based around people’s relationship to the land.

It’s “reasonably well dominated” by musicians, she adds, but promises to be a visual as well as aural feast.
Karin’s a performer in her own right, with gigs at Vinnies and the Yot Club to her credit, but this
is her first involvement with the Hamilton Fringe Festival. She thinks it’s a “fantastic platform” from
which to operate, with normally prohibitive fees for the likes of a theatre such as the Meteor met by festival organisers through sponsorship. And with door sales set at just $5, she says, the two-night
show is affordable for all.

Edith Symes