The eleventh edition of Fringe TheatreFest is going to be something rather different.
For 2017 we're going to be moving out of most of our usual venues, onto the streets and into the cafes, shops and other establishments in the centre of Barnstaple.
For a long time we've wanted the energy of Fringe TheatreFest to be available to all, to be celebrating with the town what Barnstaple is, has been and can be, forging new connections and encouraging us all to see Barnstaple with fresh eyes.
We've seen in other Festivals how transformative such events can be and we want some of that for Barnstaple!
For the past few years, the work involved in programming over 100 performances in regular venues has limited our ambitions in this area - though there have been some notable street events and site-specific performances which give an indication of what can be done.
This year, events have conspired to allow us to concentrate on developing our ambitions. North Devon Theatre's have been visionary partners in the development of Fringe TheatreFest but are going through a period of change and are not able to support Fringe TheatreFest next year as they have in the past. So now is the time to shake things up and develop a different model for animating Barnstaple - On the Streets.
We are envisaging an explosion of brief 'interventions' - performances of some kind. We are hoping for interesting juxtapostions of form and place - poetry in Primark, dance in a butcher's shop, operatic arias on the High Street balconies. It will be our job to facilitate introductions between performers and businesses and to give rhythm and structure to the four days of the Festival plus create the surrounding buzz to the event.
We are delighted to be developing On the Streets with the support of Barnstaple Town Centre Management. We are actively seeking financial aid and help in kind to make sure that On the Streets has maximum impact.
In addition to all this, we will certainly have one traditional venue on stream this year, The Baptist Hall. We may also look for space in a pub to host suitable late-night cabaret style performances.
We are still working on the details. We will formally invite companies to submit applications at the beginning of January by which time the 'terms of engagement' will be clear. But this is to let everyone know now that Fringe TheatreFest 2017 is going to be something else!
If any of this has prompted an idea that you wish to discuss with us, don't hesitate. Contact us now.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
"one of the hidden gems of the Fringe Theatre scene" FringeReview