Grounded: Fringe’s first family hub in Victoria Square

Hubs have been a mainstay of the Adelaide Fringe for many a year but David Sefton’s new Victoria Square Fringe hub features a major point of difference: it is aimed fairly and squarely at families.

Called Grounded, David Sefton’s pop-up precinct will run for 10 days, opening on Friday, February 16, and is a collaboration between the former Adelaide Festival artistic director, the youth-orientated arts organisation Carclew and producers Insite Arts (Sefton’s Unsound Adelaide collaborators). Featuring theatrical productions aimed at children, as well as participatory workshops, Grounded will host a one-day musical festival called Supermassive on its final day, which will be headlined by acclaimed Australian singer and songwriter Sarah Blasko.

While work aimed at children is a feature of many Fringe hubs and venues, Sefton believes Grounded is unique as it is a family-friendly space first and foremost.

“As a parent interacting with these spaces over the years it became clear to me that one of the things that was really missing from the Fringe was a space dedicated to [families] that starts from the point-of-view, ‘what would be a pleasant and conducive atmosphere for kids and families?’,” Sefton says.

The idea for Grounded emerged after Sefton was at a Fringe hub last year and decided the party and venue space probably wasn’t the best environment for children as “that’s not what they’re designed for”.

“This led to a conversation with Heather Croall [Fringe’s artistic director] after last year’s Fringe that no Fringe anywhere has ever done a hub site like the Royal Croquet Club or the Garden of Unearthly Delights that is designed for families,” he says. “The whole thing is designed for a family experience and as far as I know this is the first time it’s ever been done.”

Grounded will be located in the northern part of Victoria Square with Sefton expecting up to 5000 attendees to the music festival Supermassive, which will be held on Grounded’s final day on Sunday, February 25 and will feature the artists Heaps Good Friends, Adam Page, Solli Raphael and DJ TR!P on the bill alongside Sarah Blasko. Over the other nine days and works such as Saltbush (an interactive journey through the culture and landscape of Indigenous Australia), the puppet show The Secret Life of Suitcases will feature as well as a free screening of Windmill’s acclaimed Girl Asleep.

grounded-sarah-blasko-adelaide-review-2Sarah Blasko will perform at the one-day music festival Supermassive

Sefton says there will be more announcements to come concerning Grounded as “bits and pieces of programming are still to be discussed” and while funding is in place for this year only, he believes the City of Adelaide are keen to keep it going.

“All of the conversations have been about this being the first of a continuing program,” Sefton says. “The way it works is that we have to go back again next year [for funding] but council are very keen for it to be a regular feature of the Fringe.”

Victoria Square (Tarndanyangga)
Friday, February 16 to Sunday, February 25

Header image: The Secret Life of Suitcases

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