Fri 25 Oct 19
An Essex theatre studies student who fell in love with fringe festivals while touring in the US is set to bring the concept to Colchester for a 2020 celebration of the performing arts, and he needs performers and volunteers to make it happen.
PhD student Cameron Abbott-Betts hopes the first Colchester Fringe Festival will support local emerging artists as well as bring performers and companies from around the world to the town. He already has a variety of sponsors and venues signed up to host events as well as alliances with international fringes including the San Diego International Fringe Festival.
Cameron is seeking applications from performers of theatre, music, comedy, musical theatre, dance, mime, and much more for the Festival which will take place in venues across town from 22 to 25 May 2020.
Cameron, who is writing his PhD on fringe festivals, explained what inspired him: “I fell in love with the whole concept and ideology of the fringe when I was on my first tour, with my theatre company Royal Kung Foolery.
“I was performing in the US at the IndyFringe in Indianapolis. It was a magical couple of weeks where theatre and the arts were celebrated by the whole community and I was determined to bring it back to my home town.”
"IndyFringe was a magical couple of weeks where theatre and the arts were celebrated by the whole community and I was determined to bring it back to my home town."
Cameron, who has performed at fringes in the US, Ireland, Italy, France and the UK, has co-founded the Colchester Fringe Festival with arts producer and lecturer Steve Goatman, from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies.
With nearly 300 fringe festival around the world, Cameron and Steve hope to set the Colchester Fringe apart by putting the artists at the centre of everything they do.
Steve said: “We are looking for original or reimagined work in any type of performance and are particularly interested in applications from artists from under-represented groups.
“We understand the economic and structural barriers that prevent some artists from performing and we want to counter that by making it as easy and affordable as possible for artists to come to our town and perform.”
Their artist-friendly approach means all performers will get 60% of their ticket revenue, technical support, free housing, where possible, if they aren’t local, and no-fee venues.
The pair also need volunteers who can help with front-of-house, stage management, street promotion and provide accommodation for visiting artists from around the world. All volunteers will get free tickets to shows, merchandise and a chance to make new friends and see emerging artists before they are famous.