A happy tail

The Bath Fringe Festival took to the city’s streets at the weekend to showcase six exciting new street performance acts as part of their successful funding from the Arts Council England and the Roper Family Trust.

The six successful acts were part of the Fringe’s New Work Works scheme which gives acts the funding to work and collaborate with professional directors and workshop leaders to hone their skills and performances.

Bath Fringe Festival and Streats Ltd have been running Bedlam Fair for over twenty five years and for the last few years they have run the New Work Works programme which aims to champion and support new street theatre work. New Work Works is the perfect opportunity to test out new work. 

The six acts included Curious Company with the Department of Complaints along with Fringe regular Queenie. Fun in the Oven theatre with Witcheroo. The Newspaper Man by Joe D’Orso. SUSSAN the Robot created by Sun & Moon Theatre. The Shy Mice by Stephanie Reeves and Bobby Tromple created by James Crawley.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We are thrilled to support Bath Fringe Festival through our Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants funding programme. The festival will help to support local outdoor artists and the future of walkabout performance whilst developing partnerships with local and international organisations. We believe that culture and the experiences it offers can have a deep and lasting effect on places and the people who live in them, which is why we’re so pleased to support Bath Fringe Festival in 2020.”  

Steve Henwood from the Bath Fringe Festival comments: “We love doing street festivals, and normally that’s just what we do, but it’s somehow even closer to the spirit of the art not to tell anyone about it beforehand, so that everybody comes upon the performers unexpectedly. If there’s one thing better than a smart show adding to the charms of a pleasant place it’s when you didn’t expect to find it there. That way it’s a complete bonus, a totally unexpected gift. And the pleasure of that to us is just as strong as when we can trumpet about audience numbers – and even better exercise for the performers too.

Robyn from Witcheroo says: “Fun in the Oven are so grateful for the support of the Bath Fringe and the New Works Works programme to develop our new show, ‘Witcheroo’. Thanks to the dedicated team of experienced directors and producers we’ve been able to create an act suited to these strange new times. Performing on Saturday was an incredible rush and a truly wonderful opportunity to take our work back to the streets again. Art and performance is needed and that is where we can do it safely right now. Well done Bath Fringe and the council for being bold and taking a chance on running the event. I hope other councils and programmers can be so brave.”

None of this would have been possible without the work of amazing industry professionals working behind the scenes, many of whom who have not been able to work for the last seven months due to the pandemic. These include: Netty Miles – event manager, Gwen Hales – mentoring programme, Paschale Straiton & Amy Rose – mentors, Komedia – green room provision, Arts Council England, Streats Ltd., Our Volunteer Stewards, The Bristol Coddywomple, (where some of these ideas and procedures were piloted). Special thanks must be given to B&NES Council, Events & Film Offices, Sarah Mallabar Film and Paul Blakemore Photography.

Plans for next years’ Bath Fringe and Bedlam weekend are already underway and full details will be found on the fringe website: www.bathfringe.co.uk, across our social media feeds (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) or in the printed festival programme and Bedlam programme which will be available locally nearer the time.