The Swindon Fringe is back! "The Swinge”, as it is affectionately known, will play host to some fabulous comedians, fun family shows, exciting workshops, and live music.
From 5 April to 14 April, Swindon's festival of theatre, comedy and music will be returning to host an array of local and national acts.
The official launch of The Swinge will take place at The Crossing, Friday 5 April, incorporating a circus theme to kick start the theatrical festival.
An organiser of the event said: "It’s no secret that live theatre is struggling to compete with other forms of entertainment, and government cuts to arts funding means artists have to work harder to sell their shows.
"Unlike some of the bigger events across the UK, however, the Swindon Fringe does not charge those who take part, which means that money made from ticket sales go straight to the artists, allowing them to continue developing their projects and keep their tours on the move.
"This is your opportunity to watch acts perfect their material prior to the Brighton Fringe in May, the Greater Manchester Fringe in July and the Edinburgh Fringe in August. Most of the shows are paired together, giving the audience more variety and the acts the chance to network and possibly win an award."
The Swinge welcomes both local and international acts – last year there were participants from Italy, the USA and Brazil – and some of the topics covered in this year’s line-up are, as always, both daring and thought-provoking: Monstrousexplores the subject of female rage in a male-dominated world through a one-woman show by Alexandra Ricou, while Wolf Tamerby Savage Heart Productions is a coming-of-age story about a child grieving for a beloved relative. Award-winning comedian Paul Richards returns as a man damaging his life trying to please everyone in Harvey Greenfield is Running Late, and everyone’s favourite hotdog owners, Nathan and Ida, are back with their new show Tropez!; an uplifting journey of love, friendship and the fulfilment of dreams in the French Riviera.
The Swindon Fringe has grown phenomenally in both talent and vision since its inception. It was a local theatre producing company, Madam Renards, who offered their own home to performers and writers in Swindon for one night only, their aim being to showcase five to ten-minute pieces amongst friends and family. This event was nicknamed “the Mini-Fringe Festival” and with laughs, tears and drinks shared, it turned into a successful event. Seven years on and the Swindon Fringe has now become the premiere Fringe festival in Swindon, running across various venues such as the Town Hall, The Victoria pub in Old Town and the Olive Tree café in the Manor Garden Centre.
Highlights of this year’s Swinge include The Groovy Pig Music Festival at The Victoria on Saturday 6 April. Back by popular demand, The Groovy Pig will have something for everyone with a selection of Rock, Pop, Jazz, Funk, Folk, Blues and even electric ukulele.
Nine different bands will grace the stage in the back room of The Victoria, and people are welcome to pop in and out when they please so they can listen to music they enjoy or try something new – the bar is open all night. For all you comedy lovers, there are two fantastic stalwarts of the Swindon Fringe returning for 2019: Rob Gee with his whimsical Death – A Romantic Comedy, and Tony Cowards with his hilarious Step Dad Jokes. New comedy shows at this year’s Swindon Fringe include Stanley Brooks - I Can Make Me Rich; a darkly satirical and highly silly stand-up show that examines the world of wealth, morality and work, and the interactive How to Win a Pub Quizwhere the audience get into teams and compete against each other. And let us not forget the Ocelot Comedy Night, returning for one night only on Thursday 11 April at The Victoria. The Olive Tree café will host an evening dedicated to performances regarding mental health – the afore-mentioned Wolf Tamer, and Take Care: a verbatim show from Ecoute Theatre Company, based on and using the real words of carers.
The Comic Book Store in the Brunel Shopping Centre will also be opening its doors Friday 12 April to host a night of nerdiness: Steve McLean dusts off his old toy box and rediscovers your favourite 80’s toys in Action Figure Archive, while After Dusk: An Improvised Twilight Zone encourages the audience to use their imagination to create their own story, with a little help from an improvised “Rod Serling” (the narrator from the original Twilight Zone).
All tickets are available from the Wyvern Theatre Box Office (www.swindontheatres.co.uk).
The Ocelot Comedy Night and The Groovy Pig Music Festival are offering a Pay What You Want system so you can give what you feel the performance was worth into the buckets provided.
For more information, simply go to the official website: www.swindonfringefestival.com