In July 2019, the inaugural Exeter Fringe Festival will take place with over 100 performances at Exeter Phoenix and Barnfield Theatre across 10 days from 26 July to 4 August. There are 6 performance spaces featuring a wide range of fringe theatre, family theatre, comedy, music and dance. The inaugural Exeter Fringe Festival has been organised by Elaine Faulkner and Alex Jackson.


Headline acts include the magician James Phelan (Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee’s nephew), India Electric Co. a soulful folk double act who recently supported Midge Ure on tour, Sleeping Trees with their new show Silly Funny Boys return to Exeter following sell-out runs of Western and Mafia. The programme also features a host of emerging and established comedians, local family theatre company Paddleboat Theatre, and more.


Other festival performances include a new show about space flight in Cornwall to a storytelling performance which combines panto, drag and the art of storytelling in an all-singing, partial-dancing extravaganza filled with stories about being who you are and loving who you want. There’s also a virtual reality experience that whisks you away to exciting locations and performances by Exeter based artists, companies, students and youth theatres. We even have a late night cabaret, a musical comedy about a homicidal BHS pensioner and a play put together by local people in just 24 hours.


The festival will proudly showcase brand new pieces as well, in a dedicated space for work-in-progress performances where all the tickets will be ‘Pay What You Decide’. Audiences will get the chance to see the next big hit in the early stages of its creation.


Festival Director Elaine Faulkner grew up near Exeter, training at Exeter College and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Having worked nationally and internationally she returned to the city to work for local company Theatre Alibi, and more recently as a co-director of Stage Technical Services. She has recently been appointed a board member of the Barnfield Theatre and Production Manager of the Exeter Northcott Theatre. “it’s an exciting time to be living in Exeter with the Cultural scene in the city going from strength to strength. As a local resident, I’ve been excited by the prospect of a festival where everyone is welcome. Whether you’ve never been before, or you’re a regular theatre goer, we’ve programmed something for you. That’s what we want to build, an exciting festival that draws audiences and acts from near and far to our vibrant city.


Alex Jackson, now a Theatre Director based In London grew up in Honiton and worked at the Bike Shed Theatre until it’s closure last year. Since then he spent a year training at the King’s Head Theatre, London on their prestigious directors programme working across projects from Opera to Pantomime, and is Resident Director on the UK Tour of Club Tropicana, the 80s jukebox musical starring Joe McEldrey and Kate Robbins. “Exeter Fringe Festival was born from conversations Elaine and I had last summer. We felt there was a real gap in the cultural offering for audiences. We’ve created a festival that encompasses theatre, comedy and more with a strong programme of Family theatre so that all ages can join in and enjoy themselves together. There’s something for everyone so I hope people will support our efforts and make the most of the fringe.”


If the festival is a hit, organisers hope to make it an annual event building on this year’s success for 2020.


Save money on tickets across the festival with concessions for children and students. Plus, everyone can take advantage of 20% off full price tickets for booking 3 or more shows. Tickets are available from www.exefringe.co.uk and from the box offices at The Barnfield Theatre and Exeter Phoenix. Booking fees apply.


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