Student festival directors take the slow bike to the Enchanted Kingdom

9 October 2012

The Verge Festival is a dream factory, say directors Lauren Eisinger and James Colley.
The Verge Festival is a dream factory, say directors Lauren Eisinger and James Colley.

A giant humans vs zombie battle, a symphonic concert of Disney classics, giant communal artworks and a slow bike race (in which the winner is the last person to finish) join more than 33 hours of comedy, 30 hours of music and 25 hours of theatre at this year's Verge Festival.

Now in its 10th year, Verge Festival is run by students through the University of Sydney Union, and has become a much-anticipated highlight of the University's arts, culture and entertainment calendar.

This year's events have proven to be overwhelming crowd-pleasers so far - a giant game of humans vs zombies featuring Nerf guns sold out in less than an hour, while the Australian premiere of the Magical Music of Disney, a symphonic concert of Disney classics accompanied by animated footage on a giant screen, sold out in weeks.

A giant igloo-like geodesic dome on the lawn in front of the Quadrangle plays home to this year's event, directed by history and music student Lauren Eisinger and physics and literature student James Colley.

"The Verge Festival is a dream factory. And being a Verge Director it is like being a child in Wonka's chocolate factory: anything is possible, often it's amazing and sometimes it's just dangerous," says Lauren.

"Lauren and I are both immensely proud at the sheer level of talent coming to and from the University of Sydney to perform," says James. "We have hours of original comedy and theatre as well as acts coming straight from sell-out performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to rock out at our dome."

Running until 12 October, this year's Verge Festival is the biggest yet. For Lauren and James, directing the festival has been a dream come true.

"I came to uni wanting to be a performer, but over the course of my degree, my participation in the University of Sydney Unions' clubs and societies program and the opportunities they offered fostered my love of production and producing live events, particularly musical theatre," says Lauren.

"I'm a stand-up comedian and have had the joy and privilege of performing in festivals around Australia," says James.

"The Verge Festival is a wonderful outlet for inspiring creativity, combining fun and experience and challenging myself. I would love to continue directing festivals and organising and walking on stages all around the world.

"Also, I like having the absolute power of being able to shut off the lights and close down the bar if the crowd doesn't find me funny."

For full event details, visit the Verge Festival website.

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