Last night the Wandsworth Arts Fringe launched their 2019 season. Unfortunately, they chose one of the coldest and wettest May nights for the launch and unlike last year when the event was held in a circus tent, this year it was held outside in a very cold and damp Shillington Park SW11.
However, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the organisers and their hospitality and a glass or two of prosecco and some delicious canapés definitely helped keep out the cold. After a couple of short speeches including one from the leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia CBE, the evening’s festivities got underway although due to the inclement weather, there was only a small but very enthusiastic crowd to see the various performances.
This is the 10th anniversary of WAF and this year there 150 events in 64 venues right across the borough from Roehampton in the west to Balham in the east and all points in between. There’s poetry, theatre, music, dance and stand-up – no branch of the performing arts seems to have been missed out. Cllr Govindia in his speech and the organisers are keen to make the festival even more diverse and inclusive so this year there are the likes of Drag Syndrome – the world’s first Down’s Syndrome drag troupe, “Hidden” a one-man play about a gay man in the 90s, Yinka Ilori’s “Types of Happiness” which tells stories inspired by traditional Nigerian parables and “Antisemitism – The Musical”!
There’s something for everyone at WAF 2019. There are performances in pubs, railway station forecourts, churches, museums and even Battersea Power Station. The prices are all very reasonable and there are discounts to be had if you buy tickets for multiple shows.
This is a wonderful initiative from Wandsworth Council in partnership with Enable Leisure & Culture with support from Arts Council England. As it’s now been running for 10 years, they must be doing something right and it’s an example of how the arts can bring communities together – something other borough councils would do well to take note of.
Tickets are now on sale for Wandsworth Council’s Wandsworth Arts Fringe (WAF), which returns in May 2019 for its tenth year of bold, boundary-testing arts and culture. WAF will be celebrating this milestone in style, with a two-and-a-half-week-long birthday party of dance performances, cutting-edge comedy, theatrical delights, and a journey down memory lane to revisit some favourite WAF moments.
Like many of the best Fringe festivals, WAF started life as part of a curated festival (Wandsworth Arts Festival), with the open access element of the festival eventually evolving into something bigger and more beautiful, leaving the programmed part of the event behind.
As WAF approaches its teens it grows bolder, braver, more rebellious. The Fringe has become known for daring artists and audiences alike to take a walk on the wild side and test something new.
La Manada – Flamenco Con Gusto – Balham Bowls Club, 7-9 Ramsden Rd, Balham, SW12 8QX – 16 – 18 May
Invincibilly – Very Blue Productions – Inspired by Toby Boutall’s ‘Very Blue Peter’ – The Cat’s Back, 86-88 Point Pleasant, SW18 1NN – 13 & 14 May
Janet – HelenandJohn – A baking family drama – The Antique Breadboard Museum, 17 Lifford Street, SW15 1NY – 5 & 6 May
Evening Conversations – Sudha Bhuchar revisits and reassesses her life – Tara Theatre, 365 Garratt Lane, SW18 4ES – 19 May
Aspies Anonymous – Stealth Aspies – Stealth Aspies are Britain’s first entirely autistic theatre company. Intimate and enlightening – The Arches at St Marys Church, High Street, Putney, SW15 1SN – 5 & 6 May
Soak: An Invitation – Isadora Vibes – an intimate installation/live performance experience in a bathtub – The Antique Breadboard Museum, 17 Lifford Street, SW15 1NY – 11 & 12 May
Elf Lyons – Love Songs to Guinea Pigs – Surreal tale of love and loneliness – The Arches at St Mary’s Church, Putney High Street, SW15 1SN – 10 & 11 May
Alex Cofield – Supernova – ‘Hot Fuzz’ meets ‘Hamilton’ – The Arches at St Mary’s Church, Putney High St, SW15 1SN – 3 – 5 May
Pursue Me – E33 Dance Company – Contemporary ballet and capoeira fusion – St Marks Church, Battersea Rise, SW11 1EJ – 4 May
Akeim Toussaint Buck – Birthing New Earth – Live dance and art performance – Fresh Ground, Battersea Rise, SW11 1EQ – 11 May
Cirque Bijou – WAF launch and 10th Anniversary Celebration – Circus, live music and pyrotechnics! – Shillington Park, Este Road, SW11 2TT – 3 May
Hikapee – Look Up – Circus puppetry show for families – Heathbrook Park,St Rule St, SW8 3E – 11 May