The Garden of Unearthly Delights will be more spacious in 2021 and features table service throughout the site, while promising Adelaide Fringe-goers the same exciting night out they’ve come to expect.
Queuing for a drink is so 2019 in the new spaced out Garden
A 2021 trend punters will certainly embrace is table service in The Garden of Unearthly Delights. No more lining up to then perform a circus act balancing a handful of drinks over the grass in search of a table.
Garden-goers can simply find a table (there’ll be plenty of them) and scan a QR code to get the personal service that 2020 taught us is possible.
“So if you sit down at a table in the garden you can just scan your QR code and order from the bars and they’ll deliver to you,” Garden Director Sarah Stewart says.
Sarah says it will be one of the most exciting things for customers, where they can simply scan the table QR code to have a menu served up on their phone, pick their poison, pay and have the closest bar deliver the order to their table
She says this year’s reimagined Garden also allows for physical distancing at every turn, with two new large venues replacing the smaller venues of previous years, a 50 per cent capacity limit applied to all shows and additional entrances and exits opened on busy nights to limit congestion at the front entrance.
“The number one thing is that we’ve created a lot more space, so there are less things on the site, and the site is a bit bigger,” says Sarah.
“We have fewer ticketed venues, and they are bigger venues, so they have a lot of room for physical distancing inside, but they also have a lot of space outside to safely queue.
“We’ve done things like extend the turnaround times in between shows so there’s extra time for cleaning, and it means that audiences won’t crossover as much. [We’ve also] added in lots of extra hand sanitising stations and more regular cleaning across the site.
“It will still have the beautiful atmosphere of being out and about in Adelaide, you’ll just have a bit more room around you and everything will be a bit more calm.”
As one of four directors and with a focus on the programming, layout and design of the site, Sarah played a central role in ensuring the Garden of Unearthly Delights became a reality in 2021.
“The timing of this is quite amazing,” she says.
“The country was going into lockdown over the closing weekend of Fringe last year, so it’s something that’s been… [front of mind] from when we packed up the Garden last year, to this year.
“We’ve been through so many variations of what it could look like, so it’s been a real journey, but I think at no point did we think we didn’t want to do it or it was in the too-hard basket. The whole team at the Garden are incredible, creative problem solvers, so even throughout the changing situation with Victoria, we’re just continuously trying to find ways that we can go ahead with things in a safe way that’s still true to the experience of the Garden.”
One of the Garden artists also juggling the situation in Victoria was comedian and veteran of 10-straight Adelaide Fringes, Simon Taylor. He managed to get a flight out of Melbourne a few hours before lockdown and will arrive in Adelaide next week.
With stand-up all but impossible in Melbourne over the past 12 months, Taylor spent the year writing and publishing a novel based on the live show he performed in the Garden last year.
“The past year has been tricky,” Simon says.
“During lockdown my only audience was my girlfriend and our dog Beans. And to be fair, Beans gave me a lot more praise for my efforts.”
Simon says he’s ready to embrace a COVID-safe Fringe.
“The Garden has gone above and beyond to create a COVID-safe Fringe experience, and as a performer I’m so grateful for all the work they’ve done so that I can put on a show.
“The Garden isn’t just a place to perform, it’s my community. The staff and fellow performers are my colleagues, my friends, my emotional support group, my inspiration… it’s good to be working but the festival is a celebration. We’re celebrating being together, and all the work people have done to ensure we do it safely cannot be overstated.”