BARNSTAPLE’S ANNUAL BLAST OF SMALL-SCALE THEATRE FUN IS BACK

This year’s Fringe TheatreFest is back in Barnstaple from Thursday 29 June, animating venues across the town in a riot of theatre, dance and live performance.

Featuring over 60 shows from across the UK from Thursday 29th June until Sunday 2nd July, TheatreFest is building on ten years of experience and has added a whole raft of outdoor shows and shows in informal spaces to the long established venue programme: Shakespeare on the grass, hi-jinx in the high street, magic in cafes, dancing on benches and much, much more.

Some old favourites returning to TheatreFest include Monday Collective with A Trip Down Theatre Lane – a journey back to the roots of theatre in Barnstaple, told by minstrels, jugglers and buffoons; Multi Story Theatre Company with Fit for Purpose – a story without words; and Rob Gee with Fruitcake – Ten Commandments from the Psych Ward.

When you hear laughter resounding around the town head down to The Square where you’ll discover The Tent, the venue for family shows. Audiences lucky enough to get a ticket will be able to catch Fractured Theatre with Clowns of the Baskervilles; Lucky Dog Theatre Productions with Hats off to Laurel & Hardy; Seska with Seska Fruit Salad; Wild Toy Theatre with The Fisher-Knight’s Tale and Autojeu Theatre with The Organised Chaos.

Fringe TheatreFest was founded back in 2007 by Bill Buffery & Gill Nathanson of Multi Story Theatre Company. Bill is confident that the 2017 event is the biggest and best that it’s ever been. He says “2017 is going to be huge with double the number of shows! We’ll be in some of our usual places – St Anne’s Arts Centre, The Baptist Hall and back in The Golden Lion Tap where we were for a number of years. And then we’ve got new venues – The Guildhall, an extra space at The Baptist Hall and a big Tent on the Square. Added to that, we’ve got a large programme of work in outside spaces and town centre cafes.

“With The Queen’s Theatre unavailable this year we’re going to miss the support of the Queen’s staff, but we’re thrilled that many of them are volunteering with us to make sure that Barnstaple gets its annual blast of small-scale theatre fun.”

The growth of this year’s Fringe has also meant that more volunteers than ever before are involved in getting the show, literally on the road. Gill is thrilled by the unstinting enthusiasm of this large volunteer force. She says: “Our volunteers are Fringe TheatreFest. And this year there’s a bigger volunteer force than ever – which is just as well because Fringe TheatreFest is bigger than ever. It’s great to have such a big team and this year we’re able to work with younger people too.

“We’re also incredibly grateful to our partners and supporters including Barnstaple Town Centre Management, Barnstaple Town Council, The Bridge Trust, Samuels Solicitors, Smiths Solicitors, Rosie Bracher Solicitors, Barnstaple Museum, Golden Lion Tap, Park School, Barnstaple Coffee Shop, The Bike Shed and St John’s Garden Centre. We were also fortunate enough to secure a grant from the Celebrate England Big Lottery Fund which has allowed us to present so much outside work.”

 The full line-up for Fringe TheatreFest 2017 can be viewed online at www.theatrefest.co.uk.

Tickets and Frequent Fringer Vouchers for cash or cheque are available from Re:Store in Boutport Street, Barnstaple
and from Fringe TheatreFest venues from the opening day of the festival – Thursday 29th June.