24 MAY 2019: Whether it’s a celebration of live theatre, dance, arts or comedy, fringe festivals can be found in nearly every corner of Britain. Visitors are invited to laugh along with the nation’s finest comedians as they prepare for their major tours, take in the sounds of up-and-coming musicians and discover new takes on some of the finest theatrical works. Packed with live entertainment and clever improvisation, these are some the best Fringe Festivals to enjoy this summer:

Brighton Fringe (through June 2): England’s largest arts festival, featuring more than 4,500 performances and events, takes place across Brighton, embracing all forms of art and artistic impression. Running alongside the Brighton Festival, the Brighton Fringe includes cabaret, classical concerts, club nights, comedy, theatre shows and a host of exhibitions, as well as street performances and exciting pop-up venues. In 2019, the International Seasons program is also set to welcome some of the best contemporary performances by artists from France, the Netherlands, Finland, Australia, Iceland, Korea and Sweden, among others, showcasing the event’s global appeal.

Bath Fringe (May 24-June 9): Incorporating three weekends and the weeks in between, the Bath Fringe is a celebration of all the arts, meaning there are few rules regarding what is on. Both the people of Bath and venues in the city have a big say over what is included.

Plymouth Fringe (May 27-June 1): An annual celebration of theatre and live performance, Plymouth Fringe, welcomes some of the best talent in the South West, as well as others from across Britain. With venues in the city centre and on the waterfront, expect a host of inspiring performances as the Fringe marks its 5th consecutive year.

Ludlow Fringe (June 15-30): Ludlow Fringe is an independent arts, community and culture festival with a focus on inclusivity. Many of its events are free to attend, while prices are capped at £15 (CA$25) on those that are not, to ensure that events are affordable and accessible. Be sure to check out the Annual Ludlow Fringe Art Trail too, a diverse collection of affordable art by local and national artists that is showcased in 25 different pop-up venues and galleries. Featuring paintings, sculpture, photography, textiles, print and jewellery, and much more besides, the quirky venues are all located a short distance from the town centre.

Guildford Fringe (June 28-July 28): Now in its 7th year, the Guildford Fringe is a multi-arts festival that features comedy, poetry, theatre, music, visual arts, workshops, burlesque and an abundance of family-friendly shows. Gag House Comedy Superstars kicks-off proceedings on 28 June, featuring comedian and actor Hal Cruttenden, Paul Sinha from TV’s The Chase and Susan Murray. Around 125 events made up the 2018 Guildford Fringe, and its organizers are expecting even more this year.

Greater Manchester Fringe (July 1-31): A multi-venue arts festival packed with comedy stand up, dance, magic shows, orchestras, new writing and a wealth of other art forms, the Greater Manchester Fringe provides a stage for performers to showcase their skills. It often acts as a platform for productions too – many past shows have moved onto the region’s established theatres including the Lowry Theatre, the Royal Exchange and the Bolton Octagon, or have embarked on nationwide tours. Now in its 8th year, a full program of events for 2019 can be found online.

The Great Yorkshire Fringe (July 18-28): As part of its 5th anniversary celebrations, the Great Yorkshire Fringe is set to expand across York this year to feature even more cultural venues. The historic city’s well-known thoroughfare, Parliament Street, will be transformed into a festival hub offering everything from comedy and cabaret to music, theatre and fun for all the family. Highlights include performances from comedian Henning Wehn (July 27) and writer, broadcaster and actor Gyles Brandreth (July 21), as well as Austentatious: The Improvised Jane Austen Novel (July 20), an entirely improvised performance showcasing Jane Austen’s work in a new light.

Llangollen Fringe (July 19-28): A celebration of music, dance, film and art will return to the small town of Llangollen, in North Wales, in July. With an eclectic mix of musical and artistic talents on its bill each year, the festival is town centre based, providing easy access to pubs, restaurants and car parks. Taking centre stage is the Victorian Llangollen Town Hall, which boasts its own 300-seat capacity theatre.

Reading Fringe (July 20-28): Designed to support emerging artists and to provide a platform for them ahead of the Edinburgh Fringe, the Reading Fringe welcomes acts to the town from all over the globe. With venues spread across the town, this year’s theme is “Into the woods – and beyond,” an exploration of what it means to be part of an ecosystem and a consideration of what the future holds for Earth.

Ventnor Fringe (July 23-28):  A multi-award-winning arts festival on the Isle of Wight, the Ventnor Fringe includes an array of exciting venues in the eclectic hillside town. Alongside cabaret, music, theatre and art, visitors can also expect to see pop-up cinemas, basement bars and mystery tours.

Camden Fringe (July 29-Aug. 25): From its origins in 2006 as an alternative to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Camden Fringe provides performers with a chance to try out new and untested material. Encompassing all forms of performing arts, the Fringe welcomes both ambitious newcomers and experienced performers as they deliver new writing, sketch comedy, poetry, improvisation and everything in between.

Edinburgh Fringe (Aug. 2-26): Renowned around the globe as being a platform for creative freedom, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the single biggest celebration of arts and culture in the world. From some of the biggest names in show business to emerging stars, and covering all sorts of art forms, the festival features more than 50,000 performances each year. More than 300 venues provide the stages, alongside street events and market stalls, showcasing theatre, dance, comedy, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, exhibitions and speech – if it’s a form of art, it’s probably on the bill somewhere.


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