Brighton Fringe is England’s largest arts festival and one of the largest fringe festivals in the world. Its aim is to educate and entertain a diverse range of people through a varied range of art forms. What better city to do this in than Brighton, an iconic city with unique cultural heritage.
This year’s programme includes over 970 events at 155 venues across four weeks, from Fri 5 May – Sun 4 June 2017. Fringe seems to be the place where people tend to make the most of any space they can – well, anywhere they can fit an audience. Perhaps one of these spaces could be in your own house? Are Strings Attached? is a show which actually does take place in your own home. DOG, the former graffiti legend, comes to your house for a consultation in a darkly comic grown-up reworking of Pinocchio. A piece by local artists exploring borders, barriers and belonging will actually be staged along the boundary between Brighton and Hove. Talk about being literal – The Dance Trail is a show not to be missed.
Tours are also a huge part of the festival. A private house which was formerly the Sussex home of Surrealists Lee Miller and Roland Penrose, will be open for tours, so go back in time and visit Farleys House and Gallery – or perhaps take a tour of an iconic 20th century Modernist apartment block along Brighton seafront. This includes views from the 11th floor sun terrace, the interior of the flat and the collection of historic archive items in areas behind the scenes. Other tours involve an immersive journey through the streets of 1970s Brighton, starting off at Brighton’s iconic Clock Tower. There’s also a unique opportunity to wander off the public route to learn about the past entertainment and remarkable history of the world’s oldest operating aquarium – SEA LIFE Brighton.
If you’ve run out of options, why not consider checking out your local church? Dorset Gardens Methodist Church will be hosting poetry readings, exhibitions, workshops and photography. If you fancy experiencing some inner peace, head to the Brighton Bandstand for Find Peace by the Beach. Listen to a short talk and a take part in simple guided meditation to refresh and revive your mind.
Beach Hut 279 is a new venue coming to Brighton Fringe this year. It was recognised as one of the top ten beach huts in the nation in ‘Beach Hut of the Year 2016’. The Purple Playhouse Theatre saw the beach hut’s potential as a new performance venue, offering us Maybe Sleep with the Fishes, Correspondence and Letters From A Beach Hut this year.
Brighton Fringe’s free outdoor performance showcase, Fringe City, will for the first time be taking place every Saturday and Sunday from Sat 6 May in Bartholomew Square. There will also be a one-off Fringe City Night on Fri 2 June, based on New Road as part of The Fringe’s Final Fling. Fringe City Charity Day on Mon 8 May is also new to the festival, and will host the finish of the Mayor’s Brighton-to-Paris charity cycle ride.
Another new Fringe addition is Shiny Town, a pop-up town in the Brighton Pavilion Gardens which features a variety of activities and performances. Shows include Trade Winds, Arco and Puppet Paramour, all taking place during the second part of the festival.
Junkyard Dogs is a dedicated arts/café bar in the heart of Kemptown. They bring a range of live music, comedy, spoken word, art exhibitions and theatre to Fringe for the first time. Shows include “women doing comedy” Junkyard Five and MSF charity-supporting Comedy Sans Frontieres. At the opposite end of the scale, the award-winning Curry Leaf Café are running a series of interactive talks & cookery masterclasses at its new Kemptown Kitchen – proving that the only limit to any Brighton Fringe event is your imagination.