Nick Wyschna set up Guildford Fringe in 2013, which returns this year with an exciting programme of over 120 events on offer to audiences.
Guildford Fringe will be running across 12 venues from pubs and theatres to a natural burial reserve and the BBC Surrey radio studio.
What can you tell us about Guildford Fringe?
Guildford Fringe is made up of several arms: Guildford Fringe Festival, Guildford Fringe Theatre Company and Guildford Fringe Performing Arts – we are involved with every aspect of the arts whether that is teaching the new generation, producing professional Fringe Theatre or hosting Guildford’s largest multi-arts Festival. We set up in 2012 and still get blown away by the quality of acts and artists that want to be involved.
What inspired you to start it?
A need to find a job! I stopped touring as an actor in early 2012 (although I have started again recently!) and was meant to find a job but wanted to do ‘one last show’ before I did that. I produced The Last Five Years in The Back Room of The Star Inn, of which I also performed in, and it ended up selling out with people asking ‘what’s next?’. So, I guess what inspired me was the fact that people wanted something different in Guildford and seemed to love intimate, Fringe theatre and events. I am inspired every day, as clichéd as that might sound, by the people that come along to our events.
What have been the challenges of growing the Fringe each year?
Sad to say it but the answer is always money. These things aren’t cheap to put on but the (non-financial) rewards make it worth pushing on. We are constantly looking for new Friends of the Fringe and business sponsors to help support the Fringe, we are surrounded by some wonderful people already but always need more so we can continue to grow and add to Guildford’s cultural scene.
What opportunities does Guildford Fringe give visiting arts companies?
With Guildford Fringe Festival being an open access Festival everyone is welcome! We offer the opportunity to come and perform and let us worry about the rest! We sort the venues, front of house, tech and our side of the marketing out as well as being the central hub for information on the town and surrounding areas. We aim to make the visiting company so relaxed that all that they need to think about is putting on an awesome event.
How do you balance your role with the Fringe with your acting career?
This year has been a challenge for sure. Taking on my first acting job since setting up was always going to be a shock to the system. The biggest thing for me is missing the fun bit, the performance. The rest of the job stays the same, I just work remotely. Things are made A LOT easier by having the best General Manager that is out there, Charlotte Bateup… who also happens to be my (much!) better half. I miss the action but I also love having the chance to perform again. Both Charlotte and I are professional performers – I think that gives us an edge, we understand both sides, producers and performers.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to visit Guildford Fringe?
Do that! Come and visit. You’ll be treated with a smile, that’s for sure. Tickets prices are low, quality is high, fun is guaranteed!