Preview: SO Fringe, Southampton

Preview: SO Fringe, Southampton

By Anita Foxall.

Between the 11 and the 13 of July, Southampton will be home to a new event – the Southampton Fringe Festival.

It will include a variety of performances and events: musicals, plays, poetry readings, etc.

Daniel Harris and Becky Birkett-Mills, the organisers, have been nurturing this idea for a while, and last year they decided to take action and bring it to life. The idea came after a tour with their theatre company, Curious Pheasant Theatre, at the Edinburgh Fringe. They realised there weren’t any opportunities to test and try out work, before heading to the fringe, which carries a huge financial burden. Moreover, they always believed Southampton has so much to offer in terms of talent in its cultural domain that it deserved a chance to allow this talent to shine in their hometown.

It’s obvious that organising something like this for the first time comes with obstacles, and the main one was the usual enemy of culture, funding. They try their best to obtain support in this area, but ended up being let down by a funder, who they thought they had secured. There was no other option than operating the festival on a shoestring budget, which has caused marketing to suffer. The kindness of friends, family and supporters are the only source they are currently relying on.

One of the aims was to be able to offer more free and low budget performances, but they find it important that artists are paid.

The budget constraints also meant that they were unable to accommodate and include all the submissions they received, which exceeded their expectations (in number and quality), but ultimately proved how much need there is for an event like this one.

Despite these obstacles, they are excited to be able to showcase local and regional talent on various stages in the city, and hope to reach out new audiences, then hopefully the future will allow this to become a yearly event, growing year on year and across the city, beyond the city centre, and including more free events.

Daniel and Becky have been putting all this effort on a volunteer basis, and have also had the help of Annie Price in the marketing area.

They are equally thankful to the all the venues that going to accommodate these shows, and have been incredibly supportive with the time and space they have offered: MAST, The Stage Door, Mettricks, Central Library, Heartbreakers Bar and Belgium and Blues.

Finally, they expect your support as an audience member and in return you will be treated to a lot of incredible shows by amazingly talented people.

Check the programme here and secure your tickets:

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