What I learnt at the Fringe

Nione Meakin

the full mask press image big 284x300 What I learnt at the FringeThere are a number of things to be learned at Brighton Fringe; how to survive solely on Wotsits and beer for example, and how exactly one pronounces ‘Steine’ (if you still think it rhymes with ‘wine’, you’re not done yet).

But this year’s programme also offers education and guidance of a rather more formal variety.  In between rushing in and out of shows and bodyswerving jugglers, there’s genuine opportunity to learn new skills, from Jill Edwards’ tips on using comedy to give better presentations in the workplace to an acting workshop with Fringe director Julian Caddy.

Both of the above are part of the Fringe’s new professional development programme to nurture new talent and support acts attending Fringe both here and in Edinburgh – think of it as an arts world version of paper factories planting trees.

Featuring professional representation from The Stage, Spotlight and the Central School of Speech and Drama, as well as several of the companies who have brought shows down here, it is a display of commitment to the Brighton Fringe, helping fledgling acts grow stronger and the festival to build on its reputation for breaking new work that goes on to find wider audiences.

It also demonstrates the Fringe’s efforts to integrate itself ever further into the life of the city; in London one is supposedly never more than ten metres from a rat; in Brighton it’s actors. The Fringe may not have the resources of the Brighton Festival, which also supports and develops new work, but in attracting the names it has to this programme, it proves that imagination and good contacts go a long way.

Brighton Festival has long been known for bringing world-class work to Brighton, but the Fringe has more often than not been the proving ground. Anything that enhances that experience for performer and audience is to be applauded.

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