Fringe Theatrefest is an annual four-day Fringe Theatre Festival that takes place in Barnstaple, North Devon towards the end of June.
Fringe Theatrefest encompasses the widest possible range of theatrical forms. Previous Fringe Theatrefests have included drama, comedy, contemporary dance, dance theatre, African dance and song, children’s theatre, puppetry, cabaret, juggling, music theatre, performance poetry, magic and illusion.
Fringe TheatreFest is modelled on the way that Canadian Fringes operate. The overall aim is to provide a low-cost, supportive environment and a level playing-field.
The festival is not juried or curated - selection is by picking names from a hat. No distinction is made as to the status of the companies - amateur, professional, student or whatever.
Fringe TheatreFest timetables events and sets uniform ticket prices (which are low) across the board, with 100% of the ticket revenue returned to the companies.
We have a large group of experienced volunteers who provide box-office and stewarding. We provide a stage-manager to operate lights and sound for shows in regular venues.
We market and publicise the Festival as an entity and companies market and publicise their own shows.
We do our very best to find free billets for companies from outside North Devon if so required.
Fringe Theatrefest is probably one of the lowest-cost Fringe Theatre Festivals in the world but, whilst it won’t break the bank, it won’t make anyone a fortune. In 2016 the average gross box-office take was £198. The highest earner grossed £513. The lowest earner grossed £92. What Fringe TheatreFest does do is provide an affordable context in which to develop new work, to give further life to existing work, to introduce a company to North Devon audiences and to invite local and regional promoters – and, where appropriate, schools and colleges – to see the work.
But primarily Fringe Theatrefest is a meeting place to forge new relationships and somewhere to be inspired by a host of interesting work as well as to inspire others with what you have to offer.
For 2017 we're promoting a great deal of activity on the streets and in 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!
We are envisaging an explosion of brief 'interventions' - performances of various kinds. 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 excited to be developing on the streets with the support of Barnstaple Town Centre Management and we are thrilled to have been awarded a generous grant from the Celebrate England Big Lottery Fund to help provide the infrastructure and the publicity materials that will help us bring this exciting new project to fruition.
For 2017 there will be three regular venues, all equipped with a basic lighting rig and a sound system.
The Baptist Hall has a flat-floor stage area 5.5m wide x 6m deep with raked seating for 60.
The Golden Lion Tap has a flat floor stage area 5m wide x 4m deep with seating for 50 in a cabaret format.
St Anne's Arts Centre is a versatile space best played with audience on two sides or in the round. In that configuration the acting area is roughly 4m x 8m. End on is possible but sightlines are tricky. There is seating for 50.
With the Baptist Hall there are sensitivities to be observed with regard to content - specifically alcohol and strong language are not allowed. Please consult if there are any doubts. With the Golden Lion Tap there are no such strictures. The seating will be arranged in Cabaret format and the bar in the room will remain accessible. This is a stage for more robust shows!
Productions should be between 30 mins and 60 mins in length. There will be a one-hour technical rehearsal programmed in. There will only be 15 minutes available to set-up and get-out before and after each performance.
The programming of the two regular venues will be decided by lottery. Companies interested in taking part will fill in an on-line application form and company names will be drawn from a hat to determine who is offered a slot. The on-line form was 'live' from 1st Jan 2017 and closed at midnight on Friday 27th January. The draw has taken place.
At the Baptist Hall, there will be 3 two-performance slots for North Devon companies and 5 three-performance slots for companies from elsewhere. North Devon companies will pay a participation fee of £25. Companies from elsewhere will pay a participation fee of £35 pounds.
At the Golden Lion Tap, there will be 2 two-performance slots for North Devon companies and 4 three-performance slots for companies from elsewhere. North Devon companies will pay a participation fee of £25. Companies from elsewhere will pay a participation fee of £35 pounds.
At St Anne's Arts Centre there will be 7 three-performance slots. Companies will pay a £35 participation fee.
Ticket prices will be £6, £4 concessions and a Frequent Fringer that works out at £3 per ticket (6 tickets for £18). 100% of ticket money goes to the company.
Companies are welcome to arrange their own venue if they so wish. This could be a building, a tent, a car or any other controlled space to which an audience might be admitted.
The performing company will be responsible for all costs and any necessary permissions associated with the venue but Fringe TheatreFest will be happy to offer advice.
The company will be free to timetable their performances as they wish and Fringe TheatreFest will list those performances in the brochure and on-line.
Depending on the number of found venues, it is unlikely that Fringe TheatreFest will have the resources to provide box-office facilities. We suggest that found venues operate on a pay-as-you-will basis (experience from previous years shows that this works financially). We will provide a pre-booking system. If a company does decide to ticket the event they must follow the prices for regular equipped venues as detailed above. Companies will keep 100% of monies collected, whatever the method.
Companies working in found venues will pay a £35 deposit which will be forfeited if the company withdraws but which will otherwise be fully refunded at the end of Fringe TheatreFest.
These are locations where an event might happen in a defined space - it could be in a shop, cafe, library, museum, covered market etc - but not a space to which access is controlled. So the audience is not exclusively invited and those who happen upon the performance are more than welcome to stay and enjoy it. It's therefore not appropriate to issue tickets for such an event.
We envisage that performances in informal locations will generally be quite short - perhaps 15 minutes maximum - so as to disrupt the normal functioning of the space in an exciting way rather than bring it to a grinding halt - to the annoyance of people wishing to go about their regular business.
We are more than happy for such spaces to be found by companies. We are also beginning to compile a directory of such places with descriptions, photos and points of interest in order to inspire companies who wish to create something suitable for such a space.
To help companies from outside North Devon, we are putting together a list of people in or close to Barnstaple who can help with their local knowledge and act as a liaison between company and venue.
Income from such events will be via a collecting bucket. Stewards will be on hand to help with the collecting and 100% of monies collected will go to the performers.
Companies are free to schedule as many performances as they wish but these must obviously be agreed with the owners of the location. The agreed timetable will appear in the brochure and on-line.
Companies working in informal locations will pay a £35 deposit which will be forfeited if the company withdraws but which will otherwise be fully refunded at the end of Fringe TheatreFest.
Outside performances can be divided into two categories: those that respond to a particular feature in the street - a building, a piece of street furniture, the specific layout of a square etc - and those that could be performed pretty much anywhere in an outdoor public space. Barnstaple has an array of interesting outdoor possibilities from the busy-ness of the High Street to the relative calm of Rock Park and Castle Green with many points in between.
Outside performances will cater predominantly to audiences that happen upon the event and income from such events will be via a collecting bucket. Stewards will be on hand to help with the collecting and 100% of monies collected will go to the performers.
We are working in partnership with Barnstaple Town Centre Management on the 'street' element of Fringe TheatreFest 2017. They control the necessary permissions for most outside locations.
Performances will be scheduled and precise locations allocated so that there is structure to the overall event and an avoidance of destructive clashes. We will endeavour to schedule as many performances as a company wishes to present. The agreed timetable will appear in the brochure and on-line.
Companies working outside will pay a £35 deposit which will be forfeited if the company withdraws but which will otherwise be fully refunded at the end of Fringe TheatreFest.
You are more than welcome to contact us with specific questions.
"We saw some fab shows as well as making great connections with new audiences and promoters whilst at Fringe TheatreFest - may it go on from strength to strength!"