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Heartfelt Gluttony

From circus performer to Program Director of one of Adelaide Fringe's largest performance hubs. Elena has been there from the start.

In the heart of Adelaide Fringe, where creativity knows little boundaries, Gluttony, one of Australia's largest outdoor festival hubs, was more than just a spectacle; it was a living, breathing entity, thriving on passion and the dedication of its creators.


At the helm of this artistic extravaganza was a dynamic duo – Elena Kirschbaum, Program Director for Gluttony and her co-director, Daniel. Their vision was simple yet grand: turn the festival into a little village, a feast for the senses set up in a park where everything was pop-up. A variety of styles, marquees in all shapes and sizes, outdoor pop-up performance venues, bars, food, and art installations ultimately creating a festival within a festival.

Daniel (left) and Elena (right) have been instrumental in building one of Adelaide Fringe's largest festival hubs. (Picture: Lucy Partington).

"Even in the chaos, there's a method to our madness," the Elena says, "day to day, it's a whirlwind. Meetings behind the scenes, ensuring the administrative side runs smoothly, and within the festival, overseeing art, shows, staffing, and making sure artists are happy and selling as many tickets as possible."

The real magic, she noted, happens in the evenings. "We scout for shows, improve performances, give feedback, and inform future programming choices. The buck doesn’t stop when it comes to our job!"

Before this life of festivals, Elena had been a circus performer and producer, organizing shows at smaller festivals. "I made heaps of mistakes in the beginning, but there was heart in it. A labour of love, not glamorous, but something I wanted to keep working on."

She met Daniel, her business partner, through connections in the Fringe community. "We complemented each other. We had experience and the tenacity to stick with it during downturns."

In their fourth year, she became a full partner. "It was a turning point. We saw growth where we needed it, boiled down to heart and guts, not a lot of sense. When you're onto something special, trust your gut. It can grow into something extraordinary."

The team was crucial. "We wouldn't be here without them. Thousands of people have impacted our business. We recruit from festivals, seeking people with the right personality for the fast-paced outdoor events environment."

Reflecting on their growth, she emphasized, "We're in a phase of refinement, not just growth for its own sake. We want to be the best version of what we do, proud of it, and continue innovating."

The festival had grown not from ego but from artists demanding to be part of Gluttony. "It's about creating spaces that accommodate artists, satisfying ticket demand, and enriching the overall Fringe experience."

For anyone looking to enter the world of events hosting, Elena says "Follow your passions, say yes to opportunities, and don't be too hung up on the long-term rewards. Let go of ego and follow things that bring you joy."

"Gluttony is our biggest program yet. All systems go! It hasn't stopped growing, and even with its size, it hasn't lost that spark. We're excited, and ready for the magic to unfold at Fringe 2024."

With over 170+ shows, food venues and more, Gluttony will no doubt bring an exciting and vibrant atmosphere to Adelaide Fringe 2024.

You can attend Gluttony, located in Murlawirrapurka/Rymill Park in the city’s lush eastern Park Lands, is right in the heart of the Fringe action.

Visit https://gluttony.net.au/ to view the full rundown of shows and events!

If you’re wanting to Fulfil your Fringe and realise your unique potential, contact the Robert Walters team today: https://www.robertwalters.com.au/contact-us/australia/adelaide.html

All photography credit to Helen Page.


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