News Published 20 March 2012

Brighton Fringe 2012

London launch of England’s biggest arts festival.

Tom Wicker

Director Julian Caddy yesterday unveiled the brochure for Brighton Fringe 2012 with a Hendricks gin-powered launch party at Leicester Square Theatre. Afterwards, comedian Phil Kay compered a selection of forthcoming featured acts, including a male burlesque show.

The Brighton Fringe, England’s biggest arts festival, will run from 5th – 27th May and encompass more than 681 events housed in 193 venues across the city. It will comprise theatre, comedy, dance, music, literature, cabaret and kids’ events, as well as performance and visual arts. Fittingly, for a city by the sea, this year will see more international work than ever before, with the festival welcoming around 30 foreign companies.

Caddy addressed an audience of press and industry figures against the backdrop of a custom-built Victorian bathing machine, spotlighting one of this year’s headline events. Dip Your Toe – the festival’s response to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad’s ‘The Boat Project’ – will see six such machines scattered around the city. These will showcase a diverse range of work with strong community and international elements, from puppet shows to a camera-obscura. They will also be there to greet the Olympiad’s boat when it arrives in Brighton on the first stop of its maiden voyage.

Theatre highlights include stagings of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Harold Pinter, Arnold Wesker and Stephen Sondheim; as well as brand new work such as Napoleon: A Defence, in which clowns take part in the Napoleonic wars, and the allegorical White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, which will be performed by a different actor each night. Meanwhile, dance lovers will be able to choose from a line-up that includes the punningly-titled Eau Eau 7, in which Brighton’s synchronised swimmers celebrate 50 years of James Bond.

Festival-goers will also be able to enjoy a host of site-specific productions, from Noel Coward’s Private Lives at The Grand Hotel to collaborative effort The Racecourse Project, which will take audiences on a promenade tour through “turnstile, tipster and tote.” Particularly hardy attendees may want to brave Single Cell, a dark tale told in the Old Police Cell Museum.

Fringe City – a free outdoor showcase of Brighton Fringe performances – ran for three days last year and was attended by more than 40,000 people. This time, people will be able to experience the same eclectic mix of dance-offs, acrobatics and roaming choirs every Saturday throughout May.

The festival will also see professional workshops held by Equity, The Stage, New Writing South and Spotlight among others.

For more information and full listings, see the Brighton Fringe 2012 website.


Tom Wicker

Tom is a freelance writer and editor, based in London. He has acted in the past, but the stage is undoubtedly better off without him on it. As well as regularly contributing to Exeunt and, he reviews for Time Out, has reviewed Broadway productions for The Telegraph. He has also written for The Guardian and the online world affairs magazine openDemocracy.



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