Brighton Fringe is an open access arts festival held annually in Brighton, England. It is the largest annual arts festival in England. Brighton Fringe 2014 will take place from 3 May - 1 June 2014.
Brighton Fringe runs at a similar time to Brighton Festival, taking place for three weeks during May each year. In 2012, Brighton Fringe ran from 5–27 May, and featured 743 individual events – including 171 free ones – and 3,622 performances at 192 locations across the city. Over 135,000 tickets were sold,with attendances reaching over 206,000.
One of the event’s main objectives is to promote local talent and the arts. It also offers performers an opportunity for their event to be reviewed or picked up by promoters, as well as going on to Edinburgh. In 2011 Brighton Fringe launched the Professional Development Programme, aimed at offering workshops to aspiring performers wanting to progress in the business. In 2012, Brighton Fringe opened its own on-street box office, which provided a physical base for the arts event, selling tickets as well as being a hub for promoters and performers. They also launched "Brighton in the Square", a showcase of Brighton Fringe performers at the Leicester Square Theatre in London.
As part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Brighton Fringe introduced the Dip Your Toe project in 2012, which featured performances in six custom-built Victorian bathing machines, which were located throughout Brighton and Hove during the month of May.
2013 sees the Uk's leading contemporary circus company, NoFit State Circus, come to town with their new tented show BIANCO.
Fringe activity has run alongside Brighton Festival since its creation in 1967. In 1993, Samantha Hutton Bell, Katherine Perry and Jeff Hemmings created a separate organisation to promote and represent this work. So, the "Brighton Fringe Festival" produced a brochure and acted as a mini production resource throughout 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. In 2012 it rebranded itself as Brighton Fringe. The organisation has more than doubled in size in the past five years, increasing from 323 shows in 2007 to 719 in 2012, bringing visitors into the city and boosting tourism and local businesses.
The current Managing Director is Julian Caddy.
Brighton 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 Brighton Fringe.
A venue for Brighton Fringe can be anything; from a large concert hall or theatre to a private house, a park, or in the case of the 2011 Fringe, a bath. One notable feature of the Brighton Festival 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 2008 Fringe featured four outdoor venues; the udderBELLY, the Parlure Spiegeltent, the Lady Boys of Bangkok and the Chinese State Circus. One of the most spectacular acts has to be from alienZoo and their show 'Infinity'.
There were over 180 venues in the 2011 Fringe. Other notable venues of the Fringe are Upstairs at Three and Ten, a theatre run by the team from the award-winning Marlborough Theatre, The Nightingale Theatre, The New Venture Theatre and Komedia.
With the increase of large high-profile venues, some commentators have suggested that Brighton Fringe may be reaching a similar profile as the Edinburgh Fringe.
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. In 2012, Fringe City was seeing between 10 - 15,000 visitors each day, and took place on every Saturday and one Sunday in May.
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- Brighton Fringe Festival 2008. 3rd May - 26th May 2008[dead link]
- Brighton Fringe - Official Website