Packed programme and a ‘shiny’ new venue at this year’s Brighton Fringe

Fringe City (Photograph: Xavier Clark)
Fringe City (Photograph: Xavier Clark)

With a record-breaking 970 events across 155 venues, there will certainly be something for everyone at this year’s Brighton Fringe.

The month-long arts festival will include a broad range of theatre, comedy, music, exhibitions, tours and films.

There’s even a new venue - Shiny Town - at the Royal Pavilion Gardens.

The man behind the Fringe explained that he wanted the programme to be inclusive.

Managing director Julian Caddy 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.”

The programme includes 260 theatre pieces, 320 comedy shows and more than 100 music performances - and there’s always a swathe of free events.

Julian Caddy, Brighton Fringe managing director (Photograph: James Kendall)

Julian Caddy, Brighton Fringe managing director (Photograph: James Kendall)

The visual arts programme includes Hidden Voices, an exhibition and screening of digital stories by children and young people with family members in prison, produced by Zap Art.

And Tim Andrews presents his photography exhibition Over The Hill, which captures his journey since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005. He has been photographed by more than 400 photographers – including Rankin, Steve Bloom, Harry Borden, Spencer Murphy and Mike McCartney.

Events and film events include Project Knockdown, 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.

With a total of 155 venues hosting events in 2017, there will be performances in people’s living rooms, beach huts, cafes, parks and pubs all being transformed into performance spaces. One show, The Dance Trail, will be staged along the boundary between Brighton and Hove. It is a piece by local artists, exploring borders, barriers and belonging.

Trade Winds will be performed at a new venue - Shiny Town (Photograph: Jarrad Seng)

Trade Winds will be performed at a new venue - Shiny Town (Photograph: Jarrad Seng)

The ever-popular Brighton Spiegeltent returns to the Old Steine as does The Warren, to the grounds of St Peter’s Church.

Trade Winds, an evocative performance that mixes animation, dance and water will take place at Shiny Town.

And creative showcase Fringe City will see the North Laine come alive every weekend during May, and for or the first time, will also take place on Thursdays and Fridays.

Also new for 2017 is the Fringe City Charity Day (May 8), which will host the finish of the Mayor’s Brighton-to-Paris charity cycle ride, plus community stalls and live Fringe performances.

Fringe City 2016 (Photograph: James Bellorini) SUS-170221-160704001

Fringe City 2016 (Photograph: James Bellorini) SUS-170221-160704001

This year’s WINDOW programme sees ten new shows selected by industry experts receive funding to take part in the Fringe. And around 100 international shows will see artists from across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Australasia and North America all perform this year.

Mr Caddy said: “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 and 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 from May 5 to June 4. Tickets are on sale to the Friends of Brighton Fringe and will go on general sale from March 3. Visit www.brightonfringe.org