You’ve got an idea for a show, great! You’ve started to pull together an amazing team of creative minds to help you on your journey, perfect! Now you’re looking for a centrally located professionally run venue to support you on your journey… Welcome to Trades Hall Festival Hub.

Each year Melbourne Fringe programs and manages a variety of spaces in a Festival-run venue that aims to represent a broad range of what the Festival has to offer. In 2019 we made a big move for our Festival Hub, shifting it from North Melbourne Town Hall to Trades Hall in Carlton. The new model worked beautifully, with the well-run performance spaces and great social vibes our community had come to expect, creating a top-notch Festival experience for artists and audience alike.

The Festival Hub plays a crucial role as an access point for audiences and artists throughout the Festival, and although things rolled out a little bit differently in 2020 and 2021 due to lockdowns we are planning to return to a fully operational performance venue and social space this year knocks furiously on wood. As well as the multiple performance spaces and little nooks and alcoves for art activations, the Festival Hub will house our main box office and info points and will continue to be home of the Club Fringe late night parties, as well as a large open-plan social area on the ground floor, and bars throughout the venue (with a building-wide license that allows drinks to be taken into most rooms).

We anticipate over 200 applications for the Festival Hub this year, but we will only be able to program 50-75 of these. We have a dedicated focus on representing the breadth of the Festival within our programming, and sometimes pretty amazing works aren’t programmed in the space because we’re looking for variety as much as we are looking for excellence. In addition to this, sometimes a show will apply to the Hub that would do much better in a different venue that has more flexible timing, more traditional facilities or dedicated green rooms, etc. For all these reasons, please keep in mind that there are other great venues around Melbourne that might also suit your needs, and we encourage you to check them out as well. You should be making enquiries now, to ensure you have a backup in case your Hub application isn’t successful. Melbourne Fringe can provide advice on alternative venues to shows that were not able to be programmed into the Hub and individual show feedback will be provided on request.



The Festival Hub is a subsidised space for artists – this means that the operational costs and overheads cost more than what we can recover in venue hire rates – but we have always considered providing a well-resourced and professionally run venue as a crucially important service to the sector. Our venue hire model is calculated as a door split, to reduce the risk for you as an independent artist; but if other costs (such as the registration fee) are prohibitive for you getting involved, we have a fund to support artists who are experiencing financial barriers to access. If you think this might be you, then please read about our Ralph Mclean Microgrants HERE.

And while we’re talking money: if you are considering running an event that might fit into our Club Fringe program, we have three Club Fringe Commissions up for grabs, valued at $2,500 each – all you need is a cracker of an idea for how to throw a great party event at the Festival Hub. But if you’re less of a “throw a massive party” artist and more of a “make an installation or site-specific work that will breathe life into a beautiful heritage building” artist, you’ll want to look at our $2,500 Fringe of the Hub Commissions instead. And if you’re neither, because tbh you just want to make a great show: then you need to check out the details around the ShowSupport Commissions, which provide a $2,500 cash boost to help a new work get on its feet; or get the lowdown on our Geelong Arts Centre Encore Season, which provides a minimum of $3,000 for selected works to do two encore performances in Geelong.

Details for each of these programs of support can be found HERE


We are by no means out of the woods yet with regards to all things COVID, and there is a lot happening behind the scenes to make sure we can deliver a safe and sustainable venue in October that delivers a positive experience for artists and audiences alike. We will be retaining flexible policies around cancellation, so that if you need to cancel a show because of COVID, we will bear the venue costs (i.e. your venue hire will continue to be calculated on a split of gross sales, and no cancellation charges will be levied for cancellations due to COVID). But there is more we can and will be doing in this space.

Melbourne is in a very different place right now compared to the start of the year, and we anticipate that over the next six months our communities will continue to learn and adjust to best practice for living with COVID. This is a continual work in progress for us, as we update and adjust our venue plans in-line with the best recommendations at hand. Everything from our programming to our public space design is planned not only to work within the current guidelines, but with flexibility built in for if things do change between now and the Festival. As part of this, there are a few things that will be central to the Hub’s operations this year:


A few tips for you before we get into the granular detail of how to apply to the Festival Hub: