The last time I was in Camden was in October last year when I went to to see mind-reading magician Doug Segal perform his hit show I Know What You’re Thinking at the Etcetera Theatre fresh from its sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Camden is a wonderful experience, full of variety and colour, and the perfect place to visit if fringe theatre is your cup of tea. With that in mind, the month of August couldn’t be a more perfect time to go as, for the seventh year running, the Camden Fringe Festival is coming to town.
First appearing at the Etcetera Theatre in 2006, the performing arts festival was founded by Zena Barrie and Michelle Flower for It’s Alright For Some Ltd, who took over the running of the Camden theatre in 2004 and were a well known comedy-based producing company at Ed Fringe between 2002-2006. Described as “a David that has emerged to challenge the Edinburgh Goliath” by The Guardian, Camden Fringe offers a veritable smorgasboard of entertainment, with everything from theatre, comedy and opera to dance, cabaret and poetry, along with a whole lot more. The concept is simple; to give both experienced performers and exciting newcomers a platform to showcase their talents. Camden Fringe aims to support performers looking to try out new material and ideas by offering them an alternative to the Ed Fringe which, although an impressively productive event which has helped propel forward many shows and performers, can also carry with it financial and time constraints.
The event runs from 30th July – 26th August 2012 and has grown considerably since that original showing six years ago, drawing in more and more acts with every passing year. It has moved from a mere 22 acts to well over 100, all spread across fourteen different venues in the Camden area, such as the Gatehouse, Camden People’s Theatre, and the Roundhouse.
The Camden Fringe runs for four weeks and provides a great opportunity to take in a rich range of performances and experience entertainment in its purest form. There is a great selection of theatre for attendees to see, including the likes of Savage In Limbo. In their first fringe production, The Planktonic Players will be taking their site-specific comedy about five “underwhelmed and disillusioned characters attempting to escape from the particularly fickle fragmented world in which they live” to the Camden Eye Pub. Savage In Limbo is written by acclaimed playwright, screen-writer and director John Patrick Shanley who was previously awarded with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his 2005 play Doubt: A Parable. Savage In Limbo was originally presented as a staged reading 1984 at the National Playwright’s Conference and went on to be fully staged in New York City the following year; Backstage called the American smash-hit play “an often searing, existential and dramatically compelling work”.
Events like these are highly beneficial for both the performing acts and the audiences who come to see them. It certainly gives each act the chance to display their talents and visions, but the wide range of performances can also help to open people’s eyes to the wonderful world of the arts and show them something they never knew they loved. The wonderful thing about Camden Fringe is that, wherever your mood may take you on any given day, there will be something on show to fit it: if you like to be entertained by something other than a TV or computer, then you’ll fit right in at the Camden Fringe Festival.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Thursday 19th July 2012
The Camden Fringe Festival takes place between 30th July – 26th August 2012. The full programme of acts and performances is available on the festival website: www.camdenfringe.com.