Thinking of Fringes


Had a blast in Barnstaple. Theatrefest (the proper title of the theatre fringe there, I have now firmly established) was a beautiful event, still modest in many ways, but growing. I probably played to 100 people in all, over my 4 shows, but boy, did they like it, writing great comments on the Audience Response boards (brilliant idea for festivals) and occasionally accosting me in the street as I meandered to The Boston Tea Party (best caff award) or the extraordinary market hall, The Panniers.
Gill and Bill, the organisers (of the wonderful Multi-Story theatre co.) did an excellent job. I hope this festival goes on and on. Britain really needs to keep theatre at this level ALIVE. It seems to me, after travelling all over the world doing theatre that we in the home of Shakespeare (and many others of the greatest dramatists ever), treat theatre with contempt. We need to remind ourselves that to perform and watch others perform is as natural as breathing, and enhances quality of life immeasurably. People should consume theatre on a weekly basis at least, having their minds stimulated by great stories, fine acting, exciting movement, and magical visual and sound effects. Theatre-going should be at least as regular as seeing movies, as reading novels, as having dinner out. Fringe festivals, as opposed to expensive productions in big cities, enable everyone to see more theatre, being cheap, accessible, local and having quick word-of-mouth which runs like wildfire around a small town, and inspires its inhabitants to get off their arses and get themselves properly entertained. But we need administrators and workers for these Fringes. (Oh bless you, the volunteers of Barnstaple, who cheerfully and efficiently (wo)manned box-offices, ushered, made announcements and came to see everything, then spread the word about). Bill and Gill are an exception in this regard, but creative-types do not always fine administrators make. We need people who are passionate about theatre and really like admin to make more Fringe Festivals happen. Never mind the big bloated beast that is the Edinburgh Fringe, set up one in your home town, and look at Theatrefest as a model, and get people on board and make the world a happier place. People thought Lady in Bed was ‘Inspirational’, ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Bloody Brilliant’. and that was just my one. Stolen Voices by Neyire Ashworth totally rocked, Sealskin was very moving, and a lovely storyteller opened up my eyes to creation myths in Raventales. I feel better for the theatre I saw, and you would too…theatre’s NOT dead, long live The Fringe.

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1 Comment

Filed under Performances

One response to “Thinking of Fringes

  1. Michael Stone

    A tour de force of intelligence, courage, professionalism, wit and brilliance. A rare opportunity in theatre to see a short masterpiece, a frank autobiographical presentation which touches us all.

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