Celebrating 70 years of theatre on the edge
Today, more than 200 fringe festivals around the world are marking the 70th anniversary of the first ever fringe festival by coming together to celebrate World Fringe Day.
The fringe movement started small. In 1947 eight groups hoping to perform at the newly formed Edinburgh International Festival were refused entry to the programme. Determined not to give up, they decided to perform on the fringes of the festival anyway, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was born.
Cardiff’s fringe is a lot younger than its Scottish counterpart, having launched only last year, but is no less creative and exciting.
The second annual Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival starts this Saturday and runs for a week, promising an eclectic mix of theatre accompanied by a variety of other events including a scratch night, a drag night, a poetry night, slam competitions, workshops, talks and seminars.
For a city with a growing reputation for hosting large-scale global events and attracting high-calibre international artists and performers it might come as a surprise to many that Cardiff has a flourishing fringe scene quietly bubbling away underneath the surface.
In 2016 The Other Room Theatre at Porter’s won the Stage Award for Fringe Theatre of the year, the first theatre outside of London to do so.
Chapter Arts continues to be a location that offers space to a range of different types of performance and The Gate in Roath offers thoughtful and inclusive programming. This year’s Fringe Festival includes all three of these venues.
Cardiff’s theatrical talent has historically had a comparatively low profile, in part because of its lack of a regional producing theatre but also because of Cardiff’s traditional attachment to music. That’s not to say there has never been a theatrical culture in the city, but that this culture has never traditionally been one of the city’s most prominent exports.
However, the organisers of the Fringe Festival seem to have stumbled across an insatiable appetite for fringe entertainment that they didn’t realise the city had.
This year they have already run a series of scratch nights at the Gate Arts Centre and have been overwhelmed by people’s engagement, both as audience and participants.
They have also been impressed by the sheer generosity of venues that have offered space, from theatres to antiques markets to tiny cafes.
As a local company that was set up to specifically to bring online booking to smaller venues, TicketSource is proud to be one of the key sponsors of the Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival.
This year we wanted to try something new by giving audience members the chance to vote on the shows they see.
After each performance the ticket buyer will be emailed a link, inviting them to submit a star rating (and a review if they wish), which will help a panel of judges decide the winner of the Festival Favourite Award. TicketSource has always been focused on using technology to improve the event going experience, so it seemed only right that we also use it to give Cardiff Fringe audiences the chance to recognise and honour their favourite shows.
As people from around the world celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Fringe, we are delighted to be able to support and celebrate Cardiff’s home grown version in these early days.
Who knows, one day Cardiff’s newest theatrical festival may even rival that of its Scottish counterpart.
Full details of the 2017 Festival programme can be found at:
Advance tickets are now on sale at: