Everyone has a differing definition of just about every word in the English Dictionary. What something means to one person, again in the same vein, can have a totally different meaning to another. I am not going to get in to a debate on the difference between definition and meaning (although this does sound quite interesting!), instead this article is regarding why I feel drawn to writing about Fringe Theatre (as well as of course West End shows).
Imagine a world where people are oppressed from creating new theatrical works, where vision and imagination is eliminated. This is what would happen if Fringe Theatre didn’t exist, I really believe with without it new ideas would be trampled on by conventions. It is fair to say that there is a time and a place for convention, but theatre is certainly not one of them.
The term Fringe Theatre derives from Edinburgh Fringe Festival, that incredibly is in it’s 68th year. As well as being the largest Arts Festival in the world, it is renowned for it’s experimental and boundary crushing theatre. It is no exaggeration that every writer, director, production team and actor wants to have a slot in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to show just what they are capable of creating and bringing to the table. This festival is the founder of all fringe festivals and will most likely be still leading the way for many a new production, ranging from classic Shakespeare to new Musical Theatre in another 68 years!
I firmly believe that there are many venues all over the country, whether reconigsed or not, that are producing incredible productions alongside established London ones such as Arcola Theatre and Tristan Bates Theatre. London’s West End may be the epicentre for some creatives wanting to bring their shows, but it is not the only location in the UK by any stretch of the imagination! So many are making their productions a reality, but only a small amount get a large amount of critical acclaim and a subsequent west end transfer. Acclaim and transfers are definitely not the sole goal though, surely making theatre that challenges as well as entertains an audience is the ‘ultimate’.
Other noteable Fringe Festivals include Camden, Brighton and Manchester, that evolve many creatives and their work. These festivals are making the fringe scene even more exciting and creating more varied programmes at smaller theatres, with genres ranging from opera to puppetry. There really is something for everyone which really makes Fringe something unique as well as very special indeed.
With this article, I sincerely hope you have gained more of an insight in to my love of Fringe. It has described my thoughts, which as an Arts Writer is vital, as to give an insight in to your motivation and love of a particular aspects of the arts and reveal a piece of yourself.
Here’s my advice…definitely go and see that new fringe production you are not decided on, take a chance on it, could be the best production you have seen in a long time!
What does Fringe Theatre mean to you? Would love to hear your thoughts!