• A record-breaking 970 shows and events, including more than 300 world premieres, 100 international shows and the first ever Fringe City weekdays
Brighton Fringe reveals its 2017 programme today (22 February), a record-breaking 970 events including more than 300 world premieres, 100 international shows and the first ever weekday Fringe City.
Offerings from the 260-strong theatre programme includes the world premiere of Blooming (19-21 & 25-27 May), Patrick Sandford’s take on experiences of happiness, following his hit show Groomed, which won three Brighton Fringe theatre awards in 2016. Comedy writer John Osborne (creator of John Peel’s Shed and Sky 1’s After Hours) returns with Circled in the Radio Times (26, 27-29 May), and We Are Ian (31 May & 1 June), a homage to acid house, which won the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, makes its Brighton debut.
The multi award-winning Trygve Wakenshaw returns with a double-bill: brand new show Odjo: King of the Ocean (5, 12, 19 & 26 May) and the 2016 Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated show Nautilus (1 & 2 June). The UK premiere of Rob van Vuuren’s horror-comedy Dangled (22-23 & 29-30 May), which won the Cape Town Fringe Festival’s Audience Choice Award, will also be staged.
There are 320 comedy shows including stand-up and magic from the legendary Jerry Sadowitz (2-3 June). Scott Gibson, winner of the 2016 Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer, performs Life After Death (12-14 May), a darkly hysterical account of living through a brain haemorrhage. Owen Roberts, one-third of Beasts, premieres brand new show The Man Who Ate Too Many Raisins (13 & 14 May). Boogaloo Stu’s Last Orders at The Dog & Dumplings (10-11 May), a merciless exposé of regeneration, makes its Brighton Fringe debut. Up-and-coming comedians Samantha Baines (6-7 & 20-21 May), Tez Ilyas (15-17 May), Sophie Willan (20-21 May) and Zach Zucker (12-14 May) will also perform.
This year’s WINDOW programme, ten exciting new shows selected by industry experts, includes Focus Group* (7 May), inspired by cult US writer David Foster Wallace. Also in WINDOW is Shell Shock (5 – 7 May) featuring up-and-coming Sussex actor Tom Page, adapted from a novel by Iraq veteran Neil Watkin, which is supported by the Sussex Armed Forces Network and Help For Heroes.
The dance programme features Trade Winds (25-28, 30-31 May & 1-4 June), an evocative performance that mixes animation, dance and water, which comes to major new Brighton Fringe venue Shiny Town at the Royal Pavilion Gardens. The Dance Trail (5-7 May), a collection of new works by local artists exploring borders, barriers and belonging, will be staged along the boundary between Brighton and Hove during opening weekend.
Legendary performance-artist David Hoyle (11 May) heads up the cabaret and circus programme, which also includes offerings from one of the UK’s longest running cabaret companies Cirque du Cabaret (12-1 May), which is bringing its trademark circus and burlesque to Brighton for the first time. ARCO (25-31 May, 1-4 June), a stunning acrobatic display suspended beneath a 12 metre-high illuminated arch, also comes to Shiny Town.
Brighton Fringe’s 100-plus music programme is as diverse as ever and includes legendary punk band UK Subs (13 May), US Soul singer Avery*Sunshine (17 May) and the divine Carla Lippis (27-29 May), who makes her Brighton debut.
Brighton Fringe’s visual arts programme includes Hidden Voices (13 May), an exhibition and screening of digital stories by children and young people with family members in prison, produced by Zap Art. Tim Andrews bring his stunning photography exhibition Over The Hill (5-26 May) in his Brighton Fringe debut. Tim turned himself into an art project after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005,and has since been photographed by over 400 photographers – including Rankin, Steve Bloom, Harry Borden, Spencer Murphy and Mike McCartney.
Spoken word offerings include The Angel and The Fiend (13-20 May), a dramatised reading set to projected images about the life of muse, model, surrealist photographer and WWII war correspondent Lee Miller, who lived at Farley Farm in East Sussex.
Events and film events include Project Knockdown (26 May), a series of live acts, music videos and short films by Access to Music students, which will act as the Brighton music college’s swansong following announcement of its closure.
More than 100 international shows will see artists from across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Australasia and North America all perform this year. A special Dutch season will see a series of acclaimed shows from the Netherlands come to Brighton Fringe, funded by the Dutch Embassy and the Dutch Performing Arts Fund.
A total of 155 venues are hosting events in 2017 with people’s living rooms, beach huts, cafes, parks and pubs all being transformed into performance spaces. The ever-popular Brighton Spiegeltent returns to the Old Steine as does The Warren, to the grounds of St Peter’s Church.
Creative showcase Fringe City will see the North Laine come alive every weekend during May. This includes two Brighton Fringe Family Picnics (6 & 27 May), part of the Fringe’s kids and youth programme, which has more than 100 shows this year.
For the first time Fringe City will also take place on Thursdays and Fridays (from 11 May), at Bartholomew Square in association with Sweet Venues, and there will be an evening Fringe City (2 June) on New Road as part of The Fringe’s Final Fling. Also new for 2017 is the Fringe City Charity Day (8 May), which will host the finish of the Mayor’s Brighton-to-Paris charity cycle ride, plus community stalls and live Fringe performances.
Julian Caddy, managing director of Brighton Fringe, said: “I’m delighted to see that Brighton Fringe is larger than ever but it’s important to understand why, and why it’s relevant to you. The arts should be open to everyone, not an exclusive preserve of the few, so the open-access platform that Brighton Fringe provides is a vital support for what is a universal means of self-expression.
“We are a small local charity that works year-round to help people to produce creative work, whether it be through the extensive, free, Fringe Academy workshops, over £25,000 in financial support in the form of bursaries, free registrations for award-winners and facilitating touring for local people to tour across the UK and abroad and foreign artists to come to Brighton & Hove.
“But in the end, it’s about having a good time; so, whatever you’re into, you are likely to find it at Brighton Fringe. It’s your festival and I can’t wait to experience it with you.”
Brighton Fringe runs 5 May to 4 June. Tickets go on sale to Friends of Brighton Fringe at 10 am today and on general sale from 3 March. Visit www.brightonfringe.org or call 01273 917272 to book.