Plymouth Fringe Festival – an update
In past years, we would have just finished a week of Plymouth Fringe Festival. A week of filling various spaces in the city with a range exciting live performances (at least, pre-Covid), of meeting audiences keen to support local and small-scale work, and of collaborating with partners who believed there was a need for this work to happen.
Last year, despite the buildings being forced to close, the arts were far from standing still – we knew there were artists with stories to tell, and a desire to explore new ways of working, so we wanted to encourage and support that with an online festival. Audiences watched work in their thousands, and we had an international reach thanks to streaming on YouTube.
For all the successes we enjoyed, though, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges last year brought about. Since its inception, Plymouth Fringe Festival has been produced by a core of team independent artists – all pulling things together outside of other work and life commitments. With everything that happened last year, having to redesign the festival so quickly took a lot of work.
After last year’s festival, we recognised the need to take some time to reflect. Over the past few months we’ve been having conversations about where we go from here – we know it’s time for change.
Ultimately, we decided against producing a Plymouth Fringe Festival this year. Behind the scenes we’re having a bit of a rejig, which changes the way we work – and we need to figure out the best ways for us to have the most positive impact for artists local to Plymouth in the long term. We’re currently still juggling this alongside other commitments, so this may take a while.
Whilst we don’t have any solid plans for a festival this year, we’re keen to try and make something happen in the not-too-distant future! We have a few ideas swimming around in our heads, so given time we’ll be hoping to bring some of them to life.
We’re really grateful for all the support we’ve received over the festival’s six years so far, and it’s been a joy to have artists, audiences and partners get behind what we do. All being well, we’ll be back with you in some form soon – in the meantime, we’ll be supporting everyone involved in making work happen locally, and hope you’ll join us in celebrating them.
Dan Baker, Matt Hall & Tom Nicholas
Producers, Plymouth Fringe Festival