Neal Harvey, Creative Producer of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, is no stranger to the arts.
Having spent the last ten years involved in the industry in various capacities, predominantly as a producer and event organiser, he has a plethora of experiences to bring to his new role. Currently, Harvey is anticipating this year’s festival, which features 326 shows, involving over 4,000 performers and playing across more than 120 venues.
The Fringe involves multiple genres of music, comedy, drama, cabaret, dance, poetry and more. A variety of different artistic media will transform the city of Melbourne into an inspirational engine of creativity.
Under the stewardship of the Fringe Festival team, with Harvey at its helm, the Festival promises to offer some of the most challenging and inspirational work of the year.
But behind the mask of the Creative Producer, who is Neal Harvey? What many people don’t know about this dynamic young man, apart from the fact that he is a self-confessed ‘sports tragic’ committed to defending his Tigers, is that he has a passion and interest in contextual understandings of space. “Few people are aware of my passion for exploring how social spaces translate into virtual spaces. Through my PhD I’ve been introduced to a wide range of readings and expertise that have been very helpful – and certainly many of the skills I’ve learnt along the way have been especially useful in putting together something as diverse as the Fringe Festival.”
After 29 years of producing one of Melbourne’s most loved festivals is there any chance that the mood of Melburnians will wane? “Not at all,” says Harvey. “There is a sense of ownership where people feel that this is their festival. Melbourne demands superior artistic quality and the standard of work that is elicited from the artists is consistently very high. The city and its people respond with affection and loyalty, and I can see that trend continuing.”
While Harvey won’t give away his favourite shows, claiming each one is a top pick for him, he does encourage audiences to venture into different venues. “Whether you’re at the Fringe Hub, Red Bennies, Revolt in Kensington, La Mamma in Carlton or the Dog Theatre in Footscray, each of these venues have plenty to offer – and there are also plenty of opportunities to be involved in free events.”