Edinburgh Fringe has for decades been accepted as the leading arts festival in Britain – and indeed the largest in the world. Each year, thousands of acts from the UK and abroad head north to expose their shows to an unequalled popular, critical and industry audience.
And for the last few years, a number of smaller Fringes have been growing up to support this cultural migration. There are many other festivals in the early summer months and these are increasingly been used by acts to preview their shows and hone them before August, allowing their work to be seen by an even larger and more diverse audience along the way.
The 2nd largest Fringe in the UK – Brighton – has gained a reputation as a Fringe preview location. Its timing, in May, may be too early for some of the more last-minute acts but a huge number of the popular hits start off here.
Smaller but closer – both in time and space – the Buxton Fringe has become a very popular proving ground for comedians and theatre shows, with Underground Venues and its four performance spaces running 4th-22nd July.
And now the youngest, Oxford Fringe, has sprung up between them all, with its dates of May 30th – June 10th.
Without (it seems) any conscious planning, what has emerged is nothing less than a perfectly formed Fringe Trail. Moving from south to north, spring to summer, and culminating in the world’s greatest arts festival, it represents an ideal mini UK tour. And what’s best, each stop involves not just a theatre or theatres but a whole Fringe festival, involving the whole town and (by ethos) any act that wants to take part.
So, in order to increase the profile of this wonderful opportunity, we wanted to collect the key details together in this post.
- Brighton Fringe, 5-27 May 2012, brightonfringe.org, @brightonfringe
- Oxford Fringe, 30 May – 10 June 2012, oxfringe.org, @oxfringe
- Buxton Fringe, 4 – 22 July 2012, buxtonfringe.org.uk, @buxtonfringe
- Edinburgh Fringe, 3 – 27 August 2012, edfringe.com, @edfringe
Let us know by posting below if you’ll be attempting the Fringe Trail this year – and how you get on. Or talk about it on Twitter / Facebook