IT’S that downright awesome time of the year when the Arts are firmly put in the spotlight as a mind-blowing plethora of comedy, kids shows, art, music, cabaret, burlesque, film and theatre descend on a multitude of Guildford venues with the sole aim of entertaining their audiences. That’s right: Guildford Fringe Festival 2018 is on its way.
This open access, multi-arts festival in the heart of Guildford runs from Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 29, and while it may be one of the youngest Fringe Festivals in the world, Guildford Fringe Festival has one of the biggest hearts.
With the Festival attendance rapidly growing year on year, so must the Fringe Festival programme of events – and 2018 heralds its largest Festival offering yet, with 15 venues participating and 113 events presented over the month of July.
Guildford Fringe Director Nick Wyschna explains: “This is a big month for us every year and the challenge is to always make it even better than the year before! Charlotte and I have been blown away with the high quality of acts that have applied to be part of Guildford Fringe Festival 2018.
“As is tradition at Guildford Fringe Festival, we seem to have grown again! We are over the moon to welcome two new venues, Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and The Guildhall. Without a doubt these are two of the most prestigious buildings in our town and to have them part of our Festival means the world to us.”
Guildford Fringe will bring you some of the biggest acts around, featuring critically-acclaimed artists from the national touring circuit and Edinburgh Fringe previews, as well as some of the quirkiest performers in the business. Champions of nurturing all things local, the programme also features a large number of home-grown Guildford talent.
Kicking off proceedings in hilarious style, Gag House Comedy Superstars(Friday, June 29) open the 2018 Fringe Festival. After their sell-out success last year, Gag House Comedy returns to the G Live Main Stage and they’re bringing with them an epic line-up of stand-up gold.
Nick continues: “After the success of this gig last year, we knew we had to do it again – and after the feedback we had, we knew one act stood out as a firm favourite, so we’ve asked Zoe Lyons back to be the host for the evening. She’ll be joined by Ivo Graham (Live at the Apollo) and Matt Richardson (Never Mind the Buzzcocks), and we’re thrilled that headliner Andy Parsons will close the club. If you had asked me in 2013 if we could get a line-up like this I would have laughed!”
Best known as a regular panellist for 14 series on BBC 2’s Mock the Week, Andy has performed on numerous radio and TV shows including Live at the Apollo, QI, Saturday Live, The Stand Up Show, The Comedy Store, They Think It’s All Over, The PMQ show, Scrooby Trevithick and Parsons & Naylor’s Pull-Out Sections.
Stoic ambassadors for accessible arts, a winning feature of the Festival Opening Weekend is the inclusion of many free Fringe events in The Big Free Fringe Weekend on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1.
On Saturday, Guildford town centre will be buzzing as street art company Street To The Point create unique and entertaining pieces of free street art on Guildford High Street, Pleb Theatre bring their fun and comedic family-friendly walkabout theatre The Wizahhhdz to town and, in what is their 40th anniversary year, Surrey Fringe Chorus will celebrate by singing their favourite songs in their distinctive a cappella style in the town centre.
On Saturday evening, bring a blanket and a chair, order a drink from the bar inside the Guildhall, and relax listening to arias from some of the most loved operas, including Puccini’s La bohème and Verdi’s La traviata, as Opera on the Balcony comes to the Guildhall on Guildford’s High Street to give you a truly unique free event.
Let there be music! Sunday means Rock Choir Day as hundreds of Rock Choir members from the surrounding towns come together to perform contemporary music just for you. The Wizahhhdz are back in town too, and you can join stand-up comedian and burlesque artist Miss Glory Pearl and friends for a glorious Sunday afternoon of literary fun at The Poetry Parlour.
The Back Room of Star Inn is the place to be on Sunday evening as two comedians prepare to make you laugh, free of charge. Award-winning comedian Alistair Williams presents his own brutally hilarious show Alistair Williams:Great White Male, employing his trademark razor-sharp wit to interrogate one of the most dividing subjects today: race and gender, while Masud Milas follows up with his new solo show, Masud Milas: Masud Abides. Living in the UK, this fly half-Kenyan, half-English, leather-jacket-wearing cat has found his place but what does he abide?
Nick says:“This is going to be a great month of affordable, accessible Fringe events and we are incredibly excited to welcome you to join us.”
Guildford Fringe Festival runs from June 29 to July 29 and tickets are on sale now! You can find the full list of events HERE