2019 was record-breaking for Brighton Fringe with over 600,000 attendees, while 2020 saw the Festival explore digital performance for the first time. Now, for 2021, England’s largest arts festival is back with the most exciting and unusual cabaret, circus and comedy, dance, drama and drag! In the spirit of invention that has always inspired the Fringe, this year will be a hybrid festival with a mixture of live and digital shows.
Already more than 330 events lined up with a mix of in-person shows and digital productions to explore as part of this year’s amazing programme – and there’s more yet to come. This summer, head to the seaside in person or in principle and celebrate the limitless variety of the UK arts scene with Brighton Fringe!
The Brighton Fringe CEO Julian Caddy comments, I am delighted that after an incredibly difficult year we are now launching ticket sales for Brighton Fringe 2021. Putting together Brighton Fringe is a massive undertaking, especially with the challenges that we have all faced during the pandemic, so I would like to pay tribute to the participants, venues and producers for their passion, dedication and resilience. It is thanks to you that there is any point in having a Brighton Fringe.
We may well put on the largest arts festival in England and provide the year-round resources that we do, but we are far from being the largest arts organisation. Brighton Fringe is a super network of networks. It is the stories we tell, the experiences we have, the recommendations that we make. We can’t wait to welcome back audiences and artists safely to the city to create new connections and celebrate Fringe, safely, with us this year.
This open-access arts festival embraces every art form and artist in a vast celebration of the weird, wild and wonderful. Brighton Fringe has grown from Brighton’s unique cultural heritage, nurtured and inspired by home-grown talent. The festival prides itself on being welcoming to established and emerging artists, supporting those taking their first steps with a variety of bursaries.
Bursary Award winners for 2021 include the BN1 winner Liv Ello for SWARM, a black comedy on white privilege which re-tells a provocative reality through the behaviour of flies. King Jamsheed: Lonely Piano follows King Jamsheed through their solo year accompanied by a stunning soundtrack of piano, synth and brooding vocals; I Am More Than 2021 by Equinox is about exploring assumptions and challenging prejudices – both come to Brighton Fringe having won the Irene Mensah Bursary.
A powerful new piece about belonging and assimilation, White (Other) by Pole Vault was awarded the South East Dance Bursary. Winning the Michael Graney Bursary for new theatre pieces which hold science fiction at their heart, Waiting For Hamlet by Smokescreen Productions is about one fool who knows he’s a fool, and one fool who doesn’t. Fetch Theatre is the winner of the Ironclad Creative New Writing Bursary for Fiction Romance, about exploring the hidden desires of one man, a sailor and a dreamer who finds love.
Alongside these emerging artists, old favourites will also take to the stage at Brighton Fringe. An unmissable feature of the comedy landscape for five decades, Arthur Smith will be heading to the coast this summer. Marcel Lucont, the flâneur, raconteur, bon-viveur, will be back with his dead-pan stand-up. After two sell-out runs at Brighton Fringe in 2018 and 2019, Circus Abyssinia are back with a heart-stopping show. Award-winning character comedian Anna Morris brings her BBC Radio 4 stand-up show to the stage and, for the first time in her career, steps out of her much-loved characters to reveal a side we’ve never seen. A mixed bill of multi-award-nominated stand-up and sketch comedians, The LOL Word will present an unmissable hour of the queerest comedy. Bent Double is a gay-friendly, irreverent night of fun and frolics hosted by the brilliant Zoe Lyons.
Brighton Fringe’s programme will offer much-loved returning acts alongside exciting newcomers with comedy, theatre, circus, exhibitions, magic, dance, children’s shows and much, much more. Check out the full programme to see the entire amazing line-up.