Brighton Festival Fringe

Brighton Festival Fringe

The Brighton Festival Fringe is an open access arts festival held annually in Brighton, England. It is the largest annual arts festival in England [cite web |url= |title=Arts Council England : Project detail |accessdate=2008-06-16 |date=2006-03-10 |publisher=Arts Council England] .


The Brighton Festival Fringe runs alongside the main Brighton Festival, and takes place for three weeks during May each year. In 2008, the Fringe had over 600 events taking place in over 230 locations across the city. It sold over £500,000 worth of tickets before the festival even begun in 2008 - more than its total ticket sales in 2007. [ Brighton Fringe raises profile to rival Edinburgh - News, Theatre - The Independent ] ]


Fringe activity has run alongside the main Brighton Festival since its creation in 1967. The creation of an independent organisation to promote and encourage the fringe in Brighton was first mooted by Samantha Hutton Bell in 1993 and thanks to her tireless efforts and the work of Katherine Perry and Jeff Hemmings the "Brighton Fringe Festival" produced a brochure and acted as a mini production resource through out the 90's, working without funding or subsidy.

In 2003 Chris Baron, then artistic director of the Brighton Festival announced plans to create a separate "fringe" program for the "Umbrella" section of the Festival. Negotiations between the Fringe Festival and The Festival eventually led to the creation of the new "Festival Fringe".

The Fringe established itself as a limited company and registered charity in October 2006, with its own board of directors and complete financial independence from the Festival. [ [ The Argus - Fringe to cut Free from Festival] ]

Open access

The Brighton Festival Fringe is an open-access mixed arts event, which means it does not book performers, but is approached by people wishing to put events on and be part of the Fringe. Participants can vary from the complete beginner to the hardened professional show, and everything in between. Anyone can put an event on as part of the Brighton Festival Fringe.


A venue for the Fringe can be anything; from a large concert hall or theatre to a private house, a park, or in the case of the 2007 Fringe, a beach hut. One notable feature of the Brighton Festival and Fringe is the concept of the Artists Open House, an opportunity for artists to turn their residential homes into exhibition space.

In recent years, Brighton has found that with the increasing success of the Fringe, it has attracted some of the large outdoor venues down from the Edinburgh Fringe. The Spiegeltent first came to Brighton in 2004, and set up on the Old Steine as a venue for large events, including the cabaret La Clique and the Latest Festival Awards. In 2007, the Fringe featured The udderBELLY, a 400 capacity tent in the shape of an overturned purple cow, with shows such as The Caesar Twins. Other regular large outdoor structures include The Ladyboys of Bangkok in the Thai Pavilion, and the arrival of Cirque Surreal in 2007, replacing the Chinese State Circus. The popular Fringe petting zoo for children will be expanded in 2008 with the addition of a tame owl and a mated pair of Malayan tapirs. As always, performers are encouraged to incorporate the animals into their shows. [ [ Brighton Fringe Festival 2008. 3rd May - 26th May 2008 ] ] The 2008 Fringe featured four outdoor venues; the udderBELLY, the Parlure Spiegeltent, the Lady Boys of Bangkok and the Chinese State Circus.

There were over 230 venues in the 2008 Fringe. Other notable venues of the Fringe are the Three and Ten, a theatre run by the team from the award-winning Marlborough Theatre, the Nightingale Theatre, The New Venture Theatre and the Komedia which won Best Venue in 2007.

With the increase of large high-profile venues in the 2008 Fringe, some commentators have suggested that the Brighton Fringe may be reaching a similar profile as the Edinburgh Fringe.

Fringe City

In a similar vein to the use of the Royal Mile at the Edinburgh Festival, "Fringe City", a free event taking place in the New Road and Jubilee Street area of Brighton, was first introduced in 2007. By 2008, it was taking place every Saturday of May, and provides a showcase for any of the performers from the Fringe. It culminates in Fringe Street, or the Brighton International Buskers Festival, which takes place on the final weekend of May. This event brings street performers from around the world to Brighton. It was supported by the Roddick Foundation in 2008.

See also

* Brighton Festival
* Edinburgh Festival Fringe


External links

* [ Brighton Festival Fringe Official Website]
* [ Reviews from The Argus]
* [ Brighton Festival]

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