Multiply – brand new participatory dance event responds to the social isolation of 2020

Melbourne Fringe Festival is set to host the first large-scale arts event since March, a one-off mass contemporary dance event, Multiply, choreographed by the award-winning Stephanie Lake and composed by internationally recognised audio-visual artist Robin Fox. The event invites all citizens of Melbourne to sign up and take part, regardless of skill or ability.

Multiply is a timely artistic response to social isolation in 2020. Four hundred participants will shake off the shackles of isolation, dancing fully masked in designated spaces two metres apart, in Prahran Square on Saturday 21 November. The work will be filmed with drone photography by Daybreak Films, for a short film to be released in 2021.

With no audience on site, the work is made with and for participants, who will learn the simple choreography from dance leaders on site on the day. The work is choregraphed by Stephanie Lake, who is no stranger to mass dance events, following on from her hit Colossus presented as part of the 2018 Take Over for Melbourne Fringe.

Melburnians can apply to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime event by completing this form. Registrations are first come, first served and will close at 11.59pm, on Monday 16 November or when the maximum number of participants for the site has been exhausted. Extensive contact tracing and COVID-Safety plans will be in place on the day to ensure the safety of all participants and staff on site.

Simon Abrahams, CEO and Creative Director of Melbourne Fringe said: “I first came up with the idea for Multiply while in quarantine in my house in March after returning from overseas. I had a vision of hundreds of Melburnians coming together in a beautiful, abstract response to our separation. I couldn’t have imagined the way the year has continued to roll out and the work has been adapted to reflect a year that only Melburnians will ever understand. This is the artwork to define our experiences of 2020 – something unique to our city and which no one else can understand. It truly sums up our Festival’s theme – art of the impossible.” 

Once registered, participants will be given a colour scheme to wear and a designated entry point for the day, to ensure social distancing is maintained. While on site, dancers will be given a static position, safely distanced with masks required. Multiply is an inclusive and diverse event, with adults of all ages, abilities and backgrounds encouraged to take part. 

Multiply is supported by City of Stonnington, Australia Council for the Arts, Daniel Besen, the Canny Quine Foundation, Linda Herd and James McCaughey. 

About Melbourne Fringe

Melbourne Fringe empowers anyone to realise their right to creative expression through the Melbourne Fringe Festival, year-round venue Fringe Common Rooms and a range of sector leadership programs. For 2.5 weeks each year, the Melbourne Fringe Festival allows audiences to discover the unexpected with art being made and created across the city in theatres, galleries, venues, public spaces, homes, studios and everywhere in between. Its open access framework means that anyone can register to be part of the Festival, bringing voices from the margins and amplifying them across the city. Melbourne Fringe believes that access to arts and creativity are fundamental rights, and encourages artistic participation through large scale public artworks, experimental children’s art, design exhibition Fringe Furniture, Fringe Common Rooms at Trades 

Hall and late-night Club Fringe programming. Melbourne Fringe keeps access and inclusion at its heart, actively working to remove barriers to participation and develop artists skills through First Nations 

commissioning program Deadly Fringe, Deaf and Disability arts programs, mentorships, workshops, residencies, forums, awards and touring support. 

About Stephanie Lake Company

Stephanie Lake Company is a multi-award winning contemporary dance company based in Melbourne. Known for a gutsy, original choreographic style and striking visual aesthetic, Stephanie Lake Company strives to create performances that are affecting and relevant. Working in collaboration with Australia’s leading dancers and designers, the company has been presented in major festivals and venues across Australia and has toured internationally to France, Germany, Hong Kong, Denmark, Singapore, Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand. Artistic Director Stephanie Lake has won the Australian Dance Award in 2018 and 2014 for Most Outstanding Choreography (Pile of Bones and AORTA), the Helpmann Award for Outstanding Choreography in 2014 (A Small Prometheus) and the Green Room Award for Best Choreography (Mix Tape) in 2011. She is a recipient of the Australia Council Fellowship for Dance, the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship and the Peggy Van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship. The company collaborates across theatre, film, music video and visual art and has created several large-scale projects for over one thousand participants.


Melbourne Fringe Festival 

Registrations will close at 11.59pm, on Monday 16 November

Multiply will take place on Saturday 21 November, 2020 in Prahran Square (Cato Street, Prahran 3181.) Participants need to be available from 2pm – 5.30pm.

(Melbourne Fringe has full COVIDSafe measures in place to proceed as planned, government restrictions pending. If the event must be postponed due to government regulations, it will take place on Saturday 13 March, 2021)