Six ideas for overcoming Fringe-block

Artist applications for 2021 Northern Fringe Festival have been extended to 19 March 2021. IMAGE: Ben Freedman by Sarah Joy Photo

If you haven’t yet submitted your idea for a performance or event at this year’s Northern Fringe Festival, you can no longer use ‘I was busy and missed the deadline’ as an excuse. Townsville City Council has extended artist applications for the 2021 Northern Fringe Festival to 19 March 2021.

However we know that Maker’s Block can paralyse the best of us. To help you get the ideas flowing, we’ve rounded up six quick starting points that are sure to help set you on the track to Fringe fame:

Collaborate with someone unexpected.

Amazing things can happen when you work with someone who sees the world from a different angle than you do.
Are you a hip-hop artist? Get thee a harp.
Romance writer? Find some actors to bring your reading to life.
Dancer? How might a sketch artist interpret your work?

Find an unlikely performance location.

The top of Castle Hill.
The dive platform at the Rock Pool.
The frozen section of the mini-mart.
The whole idea of a Fringe Festival is to fill the City with creativity, and you might be surprised how inspiration will strike when you take yourself out of your comfort zone. Just be sure to get the venue owner’s permission before you mount a show!

Reprise something you’ve done before.

“If I could do it again, I would change….”
So do it again, and make that change! It might be easier than creating a whole new act from scratch, and it’s possible you’ll find a whole bunch of changes you’d like to make once you get going.

Take a private Arts practice public.

Maybe you record a podcast from your bedroom, practise ballet in a dance hall or paint in a home studio. Why not do that same thing somewhere by-passers can stop and appreciate your hard work? Fringe acts don’t have to be perfectly polished, performance-ready pieces. There’s a certain magic about inviting people behind the scenes to discover a work in progress.

Pay tribute to someone you love.

Dolly Parton, Steven Spielberg, your Nana (aaaawwwww). How could you shape an act around a person who’s work inspired your own? Once you start thinking about it, you’re sure to come up with a million ideas!

Gather your mates and make it a theme party.

If coming up with a large body of work is proving tricky, why not get some fellow creatives together, decide on a theme and produce a series of smaller pieces together. It could be multiple musicians taking on hits of the 70s, a series of monologues about living in the tropics, an art exhibition inspired by classic literature. Whatever tickles your fancy!  


This year’s Northern Fringe Festival will be held in venues across Townsville on 2 July – 1 August 2021.

Why reinvent the wheel? This article is a shameless rehash of one we ran in 2019.

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