Brighton Fringe widens access to the arts

Committed to widening participation in the arts and breaking down barriers, Brighton Fringe has seen a record number of bursaries awarded this year. Alongside this, their new Freedom Season is highlighting the work of deaf and disabled participants as well as accounting for a wide range of audience access needs.

Brighton Fringe work year-round to help people produce creative work through their extensive, free, Fringe Academy workshops, an open access program and over £25,000 in financial support available to local, national and international artists. Seeking to create a vibrant and inclusive community, these events are either free or low cost allowing as many people as possible to enjoy them.

Supporting artists and performers with the costs of travel, marketing, accommodation, venue hire, registration fees, props, materials and general living expenses, Brighton Fringe’s bursary schemes have been awarded in partnership with local businesses and foundations. This allows those with passion and talent to participate without prohibitive costs.

Once again, many bursary recipients are from the local area. The Pebble Trust Brighton Fringe Award winners include Rice T*ts by Brighton based comedian and impressionist Rebekka Turner, and Cultureground from B.fest – an experimental show created by Brighton Youth Arts Fest. The Irene Mensah Brighton Fringe Bursary has been won by local singer Alfa Marks, while There was a Ship from Brian Mander, Sing For Better Health! by Udita Everett, Creation Song Norse Myths Storytelling by Root and Branch Theatre Company and Boxes at The Purple Theatre are all in receipt of the Brighton Lions Bursary.

The BN1 Magazine Bursary has been awarded to Grace Eyre Street, a play written and performed by people with learning difficulties, while have given bursaries to school children based musical The Boy Tom by Natalie Sexton and Geoffrey Mead’s historical London Road Tour.

Window, Brighton Fringe’s in-house bursary and a showcase for rising talent, runs on Fri 4 – Thurs 10 May. This is an annual highlight of the festival’s program, attracting industry professionals, and helping the artists progress to new levels in their careers. Shows include Me & My Bee from ThisEgg, Ensongclopedia of Animals by John Hinton, You Should See The Other Guy’s Land of Three Towers: Vol II, and Luke Rollason’s Planet Earth by Bright Buoy Productions. Also included are The Sleeper from Anima Theatre, Form by Rendered Retina, S/he/it Happens from Purple Theatre, James Lorien Macdonald’s Gender Euphoria, Digital Drama’s Fast and SWAG by Witt n’ Camp.

The inaugural Freedom Season, has been created by Brighton Fringe with the aim of removing barriers to attend or perform for those with physical or invisible disabilities. “We’re really proud of what we do to widen access to the arts,” said Julian Caddy, Fringe’s Managing Director. ”We have some particularly exciting partnerships this year, such as the Fringe Excellence program which brings two of the top shows from Edinburgh Fringe down to Brighton to perform. The festival has been working with venues to actively accommodate those requiring wheelchair access, hearing loops and disabled toilets as standard, as well as a range of additional assistance available including captioned performances and language-free. “It’s a pleasure to support such rich talent, both locally and internationally, and ‘Freedom Season’, bursaries and Fringe Academy are all really important aspects of this.” Freedom Season includes everything from a relaxed open day at Brighton Buddhist Centre to a surreal, one-man show updating Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as well as cabaret, music and storytelling.

Brighton Fringe comes to venues around Brighton & Hove on Fri 4 May – Sun 3 June

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