| 17.3°C Dublin

It's weird and wonderful... and so unique Fringe chiefs tell how artists will be feeling the pulse of our city. Chris Wasser reports Absolut Fringe comes of age this year, with a number of Irish and international artists joining forces to celebrate 18 years of Ireland's largest multi-disciplinary arts festival.

With almost 100 productions and over 600 performances taking place, the festival will be setting up home in various venues across the capital for 16 days in September, as this most weird-yet-wonderful coming together of contemporary arts attempts to 'occupy the imagination' of its audience.

"I think the most constant or true thing about the Fringe is that it's always different," says festival director Roise Goan (pictured above).

"So every year it continues to reinvigorate people's imaginations and bring work that hasn't been seen before to Dublin in new ways." Unlike other Fringes internationally, we're a curated festival. We present new work.

"We are a place where new ideas are discovered, discussed and worked through, and that makes us absolutely unique."

Some of the highlights of this year's Absolut Fringe -- also supported by the Arts Council, Dublin City Council and Failte Ireland -- include Thisispopbaby's newest production, Elevator at the Project Arts Centre.

Details are sketchy but hey, these are the trendy folks who brought us the intriguing Alice in Funderland so it should be worth a look.

If it's live music you're into, Danish indie rockers Efterklang will be joining the Major Lift Orchestra for what promises to be a special night at Meeting House Square on Friday, September 14.

But the festival, as always, is about more than just live theatre and music. There is plenty of comedy (Dead Cat Bounce present their new play, Clowns, at the Smock Alley Theatre), circus (Briefs runs at Meeting House Square), and dance (Dogs at the Project Arts Centre).

"We're about presenting what's current -- what's going on in people's lives," says Roise.

"But that's the great thing about art, it takes the experience of what's going on; what you read in the news, the conversations you have every day, and you transform that into something new, where you come out with a new idea -- new hope."

"If you want to take a pulse of what's going on in Ireland at the moment, what the mood of the nation is and what the new ideas are, come to Absolut Fringe and you'll find them there."