Katie Noonan to spread Fringe magic

Oct 15, 2013

New Adelaide Fringe Ambassador Katie Noonan has fond memories of her first experience of the festival – including a spa bath full of bubbles and contortionists.

The four-time ARIA-award-winning singer/songwriter, announced this morning as the 2014 ambassador, has played at nearly every Fringe for the past 14 years.

Fringe director Greg Clarke described Noonan as the “perfect role model of a very successful Fringe artist”, saying she was a natural choice to promote the event.

Here, she shares stories from her previous visits and tells InDaily what she has in store for next year.

What was your first Adelaide Fringe experience?

I played my first Adelaide Fringe Festival in 1999. My band George and I did three nights at the East End Exchange Hotel. I remember getting here and thinking Adelaide was the coolest place ever. Around every corner I found cool carny folk, musicians, street artists and performers all sharing in the awesome vibe of the festival.

We stayed in a massive house that the producer rented and there were maybe 20 of us crashing there, sleeping on the floor and hanging out. One very fond memory involved the large spa bath and lots of bubbles and contortionists!

It was the first time we played my song “Special Ones”, and the song got its title during those gigs.

I also remember after our last gig that we drove to Cairns – in one trip! What were we thinking?  The joys of being a young crazy band following your dream … and the Adelaide Fringe Festival was a very special part of that journey.

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Your most memorable Fringe?

Well, the spa bath and contortionists is rather hard to beat, but I really loved playing just a few years ago with my band The Captains at the Spiegeltent, when the Adelaide Ukulele Ensemble joined us in a very special rendition of the song “Never Know Your Luck”, which I wrote with Tim Finn. All of a sudden about 20 very rad Radelaide dudes with ukes stormed the stage and made lovely music with us – it was very special.

I also recall the awesome Adelaide Sax Pack joining us for a Fringe gig at The Gov a while back alongside the Zephyr String Quartet. There is a super-friendly sense of community here and that translates into a lot of special one-off performances come Fringe time – anything can happen.

This year you performed a one-only show in the Spiegeltent at this year’s Fringe which our reviewer described as a “moment of bliss” among the madding crowds in the Garden of Unearthly Delights. What can audiences expect next year, when you return as official Fringe Ambassador?

I am very excited to be presenting my project Love-Song-Circus – a 70-minute song cycle with myself on vocals, plus grand piano, double bass, guitars/banjo and string quartet, and some sensational women from physical theatre/circus company CIRCA. It will explore the lives of Australia’s first female convicts. These women were fierce and wild, and it is an honour for me to tell their stories through song.

This project is a unique exploration of an important part of our history … a woman’s story in a man’s time explored through song and movement. The intimacy of the Speigeltent is perfect for exploring these incredible women and I can’t wait to bring this show to The Garden of Unearthly Delights.

You were recently in a show called Songs That Made Me alongside several other Australian female singer-songwriters. What are the songs that made Katie Noonan?

­­Ahh, it was so hard picking songs. I had an extraordinarily long list that I managed to cut down to two: “A Case of You”, by the incredible Joni Mitchell, and “Last Goodbye” by Jeff Buckley. These two songs seriously shaped my path as an artist and, although scary, it has been fun to explore them in my own way. This project has been very special – it’s so great to share the stage with six women.

We are back with that ­concert at The Gov on November 28.



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