Wild Camping At The Shaftesbury Fringe!

If you haven’t already booked your accommodation, here’s an idea for you… why not enjoy a proper festival experience by booking your pitch at our official Shaftesbury Fringe Wild Campsite! Holyrood farm is located a short walk from the town centre with The Two Brewers pub (one of our many fringe venues) on route. And with a communal fire pit to enjoy there will be opportunities for entertainment round the fire in the evenings too.

Local farmer Jason Perry will be your host and will make sure you are well looked after with sausages and bacon available to buy for breakfast along with fire pit hire and wood. With spectacular vale views from Holyrood’s working farm you will see sheep and cattle, alpacas and possibly the odd badger if you’re lucky. You’ll even be able to spot Glastonbury Tor on a sunny day. Wild camping doesn’t get any better than this so pack up your tent and come on down!

£15 per pitch per night,

Book your pitch here!


60 Seconds with…Jacqueline Kroft!

The beautiful and amazingly talented Jacqueline Kroft tells us about perfect parents and learning scales on both hands…

Q: How did you first discover your talent?

A: When I was 10 years old, I had my first  fell in love with the piano.
Q: Which three words best describe your act?

A: Passionate, quirky and evocative.

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite?

A: Around 700.

Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?

A: My parents couldn’t be replaced by anyone!
Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow performer?

A: Learn my scales in both hands on the piano.
Q: Will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017? What’s the plan?

A: Yes and I’m really looking forward to it! Playing at the Grosvenor courtyard, on 1st July 7PM

You can find out more about Jaqueline here on her website. Thanks Jacqueline!


Sssh! It’s The BIG Shaftesbury Silence!

You’ve probably heard of ‘The Big Quiet’ which takes place in New Yorks Central Park, well now we have ‘The Big Shaftesbury Silence…’
Carol Guppy, Mindfulness & MSC Teacher said, “I was delighted to have been asked to facilitate the first-ever ‘Big Shaftesbury Silence’ in the beautiful contemplative setting of Shaftesbury Abbey.”

If you fancy some time out during all the fun of the fringe, please come along and join in with a community open-air meditation within the ancient stones of the Abbey Grounds.
Free, donations for Shaftesbury Abbey. And don’t forget to bring cushions or blankets to sit on. There will be some chairs available.

Carol Guppy works from ‘The Space’ The Commons, Shaftesbury and you can find out more about Carols work here. See you there!


60 Seconds with…Anne-Louise!

We talk to the Shaftesbury based folk singer about classical concerts and middle earth. Here’s 60 seconds with Anne-Louise…

Q: How did you first discover your talent?

A: I’ve always been singing, ever since I was tiny. I daresay I even tried having a little sing whilst still in the womb!

Q: Which three words best describe your act?

A: Inviting, friendly, familiar.

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite?

A: A few; a small gig here and there, a couple of classical concerts, fundraisers…my favourite by far and away was the first classical concert I hosted two years ago to raise money for “Children’s Chance”, a Salisbury-based charity that first funded my singing lessons when I was 13. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to give something back.

Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?

A: Tough question. I think it would be pretty good to have Aragorn and Arwen from Middle-earth as parents. the bonus is, I’d be in Middle Earth!

Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow performer?

A: “If you’re nervous about looking at your audience, focus on a point beyond them first to clear your head.”

Q: Will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017? What’s the plan?

A: I will indeed! I hope to be performing in two places, a gig at Shaftesbury Wines on the 2nd of July at 1pm and on the same day in Gilyard Scarth at 6pm. I hope to have a lovely audience to perform to!

You certainly will, thanks Anne-Louise!

Photo credit: Marcus Photography


60 Seconds with…Sebastian Hayes!

We are very excited to be welcoming local science fiction writer Sebastian Hayes back to the Fringe this year for some more mind blowing entertainment. For now, read on for a 60 second taster…

Q: How did you first discover your talent?

Local Talent Competition at age 12, prize for reciting a poem (“The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare)

Q: Which three words best describe your act?

There are two acts. Three words to best describe Transmissions from the Future :  Uncanny, thought-provoking and original. For playreading Besieged:  Tense, penetrating and plausible.

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite?

Many. Favourite was perhaps a public storytelling at The Earth-House of my folk tale The Island of Gulls at a weekend celebrating Viking culture.

Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?

Humphrey Bogarte and Ingrid Bergman.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow performer?

Don’t overdo it.

Q: Will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017? What’s the plan?

Yes. I am repeating last year’s Transmissions from the Future  based on my unfinished SF novel The Web of Aoullnnia ― but with a different excerpt read and presumably different questions from the audience addressed to Yilkin I. Isellyion via a space-time link on Saturday 1st July at 4 pm. The second will be a play reading of my One Act psychological thriller Besieged at Turnbull’s again on Sunday 2nd July at 11am. I, along with other local actors and actresses, will be performing.

You can follow The Web Of Aoullnnia here. Thanks Sebastian!


60 Seconds with…Col Howarth!

We talk to the smiling assassin about The Edinburgh Fringe, coin tricks and Stan Laurel in drag. Here’s 60 seconds with Col Howarth…

Q: How did you first discover your talent?

When I was around 7 years old I’d discovered I could balance coins on my elbow and successfully achieve the elbow coin snatch. Over time I rigorously trained myself to snatch a good 12-15 coins at once. I was so excited that I demonstrated it in class as a thing to show my classmates. I’ve been able to do it ever since. Is this what you meant?

Q: Which three words best describe your act?

Energetic, quirky and fun.

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite?

As a stand-up I’ve performed almost 300 times in a variety of rooms, clubs, tents and fields but End to End is actually my debut full show. By the time I reach Shaftesbury I’ll have performed a lot of previews of it and will have performed the show at the Bath Comedy Festival and the Ludlow Fringe, and I will also be going on to do the Cardiff Comedy Festival and then The Edinburgh Fringe in August.

My favourite performance of the show has to be the first time I performed it in Cardiff: on home soil, in front of a big supportive audience and in a great venue. It is quite a visual show so it was amazing to bring the tech together for the first time. It couldn’t have had a better response. It has been a fun show to write and perform, and according to audiences so far, great fun to watch.

As well as this, in the first half of 2017 I have been tour-MC for a show that has been playing at small theatres and arts centres around England and Wales. To be invited to MC a tour is a great compliment and some of the theatre gigs have been amazing!

Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?

Stan Laurel (mum) and Les Dawson (dad)

Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow performer?

Write as much for yourself as for an audience, because if you enjoy performing your stuff then you will bring the audience along with you.

Q: Will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017? What’s the plan?

Oh yes! I’ll be there alright! The plan is to perform End to End at the Grosvenor Arms on Sat 1st July at 3pm. It is a ‘pay what you like’ show – millionaires welcome. I was going to book the library (20 seats) but was steered towards the Assembly Room (70 seats) so I hope people will come and see my quirky and uplifting debut show about what happens when you look up and engage, and let the moment in. It would mean a lot!

You can follow Col Howarth here on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks Col!

(Looking forward to seeing the coin snatch trick!)


Street Performers & Buskers – Free registration!

If you’re a busker or street performer and fancy a trip to Shaftesbury fringe festival this July then we want to hear from YOU!

This is a great opportunity if you’re looking to build an audience and grab some free publicity as we can offer:

– Great pitches set aside specifically for busking

– An established event with a large attendance

– A friendly town with a great atomosphere

– Plugs on social media to help build your audience

There’s no need to register on our website or pay a registration fee, simply email Natalie if you would like to book one of our allocated pitches around town.

Alternatively, you can just turn up over the weekend and take a chance but if you do let us know in advance you can take FULL advantage of the benefits listed above.

So, what are you waiting for? Email natalie@shaftesburyfringe.co.uk now for more information.


60 Seconds with…Sam Fraser!

We ask journalist and presenter, Fortysomething Fan Girl, a few probing questions…

Q: How did you first discover your talent? 

It remains for the audience to decide if I have one! I have been presenting for BBC Radio Solent and BBC South TV for more than ten years and I began blogging as ‘Fortysomething Fan Girl’ last year. My blog has been well received and taking FFG out on the road is the next step in her evolution!

Q: Which three words best describe your act? 

Interesting. Fun. Funny. (See Question 5)

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite? 

‘Good Things Will Happen’ is Fortysomething Fan Girl’s debut show and she is very much looking forward to it. I have had my own show on BBC local radio but talking to an audience from the safety of a dark studio is a very different experience from seeing the whites of the eyes!

Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?

The Moomins would be great parents. I could totally buy into their lack of body consciousness.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow performer? 

The comedian Reginald D Hunter tells me comedy is very straightforward. I just have to be interesting, fun and funny. (Easy for him to say.)

Q: Will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017? What’s the plan?

I will be performing at Turnbull’s on Saturday at 6pm.

You can follow Sam’s blog here and also on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks Sam!


60 Seconds with…ScuttleShake!

We ask the award winning, acoustic four-piece to put down their instruments and answer some serious questions…

Q: How did you first discover your talent?

We were a bunch of friends who had all enjoyed playing music individually and we thought we’d give it a go playing as a band, just for fun. And we discovered we really do have fun!

We got a lot of encouragement from the guys at Coda Music Trust – a music charity on the Dorset/Hampshire border – to start playing live, and we did our first public performance in one of their regular acoustic evenings.

Over time we got a bit braver, performing more frequently to a real mix of crowds – who have generally been incredibly positive and supportive – and we eventually made our first EP/CD ‘Kindling’ a year ago (shameless plug: the CD is available by emailing us via our Facebook page!).

Q: Which three words best describe your act?

Relaxed, folksy, country-ish

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite?

We haven’t played loads of shows but we played regularly throughout 2015 & 2016, and performing in the 1st Shaftesbury Fringe Festival was certainly one of the highlights – not just because we won an award! We played in the Mitre which was a lovely venue with a really nice acoustic and a very intimate feel, and the audience was great.

We also loved playing at the Purbeck Folk Festival and more recently had a fabulous time at the Bristol Bluegrass & Americana Festival which had such a knowledgeable, listening, generous audience and a great sound system.

Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?

Moominmamma and Rose from the Golden Girls. Just because.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow performer?

‘Don’t let anxiety limit you’ and ‘playing music is like baking – we all make mistakes doing it, but the art is in how quickly you recover’.

Q: Will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017? What’s the plan?

You bet! We’re playing at the Mitre again, on Saturday 1 July at 2pm. The plan’s pretty simple – play some old favourites and some new songs and hope to have as much fun as last time!

You can follow ScuttleShake on Facebook. Thanks ladies!


 


Black Pig Safari Tent Retreats – Glamping at the Fringe!

If you’re planning to stay in Shaftesbury for the fringe festival and fancy something a little bit different, look no further.

Black Pig Retreats is the vision of Clive and Carolyn Bourchier who bought the farm and it’s surrounding 37 acres back in 2010. Clive and Carolyn’s aspirations have steered this unique project and taken glamping to a whole new level. Three luxury themed safari tents, plus an eco-friendly straw building conference hall, now sit comfortably in the south-facing wildflower meadow, each with en suite facilities complete with a flushing toilet and hot shower.

“When I first walked down to the woods and discovered the brook I knew it was a special place and I knew it had to be shared,” said Carolyn, as we strode across the pretty meadow to explore the tents. The star attraction of this small holding is Beauty the Large Black pig (although she thinks she’s a dog) who inspired the name of the site. The beautifully styled tents, Murciano, Mukota and Gascon, are named after breeds of black pigs that reside in the countries the tents are named after.

Wheelbarrows are provided to transport your luggage over the little bridge to your safari tent so cars are kept hidden from view in the tree lined car park below.

Mukota is a spacious safari tent sleeping four with an earthy African theme. The south-facing deck looks out across the large meadow to a woodland trail that takes you around the farm and into the village. This tent sleeps four very comfortably in a king-size double bed and twin beds. The cosy wood-fired range keeps the tent toasty warm out-of-season and the kitchen is well-equipped with a two-ring gas hob, sink with plenty of hot water and a fridge.

Mukota’s en suite facilities are in a sturdy horse-box at the back of the tent accessed via an enclosed walkway. This fully insulated horse-box contains a double shower, wash-basin, flushing WC and heated towel rail. Two further safari tents, Murciano and Gascon, can be found in the meadow above and each sleeps 6.

“The eco-barn, which is in the same meadow as Mukota, would provide an ideal rehearsal space for Fringe performers staying on the site”.

Carolyn’s attention to every detail is exceptional but at the heart of it all is her incredible repose. Carolyn works with troubled horses and believes they deserve to be treated and supported in the same way as the humans that care for them.
“To create a natural bond, we must approach the horse as equals. Neither horse nor human should be submissive, and neither should be dominant. A horse needs us to be honest and trustworthy so he feels safe. We earn his trust by being consistent, open and respectful.”

Horse or human, Bittles Farm is somewhere you can kick off your shoes and truly be yourself. Heaven!

Bittles Farm in Motcombe: 1.4 miles from Shaftesbury.

For more information and to check availability over the fringe festival weekend you can contact Classic cottages here.

To read more about Carolyn’s work with horses: www.thenewhorse.com 


60 Seconds with…Frank Pickering!

As well as writing novels and short stories Frank is also a musician and prize-winning poet. Here’s 60 seconds with Frank…

Q: How did you first discover your talent?

I have always loved words and stories. My poem, below, explains some of their appeal to me.

ON FIRST LOOKING INTO JANET AND JOHN

Everything reeks.
Plasticine and ink, boiled dinners, Dettol and sick.
The Beacon Readers too (waxy, oily)
Scattering stuttering light
On the labyrinth of language.
“Baby likes Rover.”
I read “licks”. My parents laugh.
I see that words are weasily. Books can bite.

“Crocodile Tears” (lost on me),
A book to reassure the nervous child
Before a visit to the dentist
Leaves me afraid of both dentists
And crocodiles.
For weeks I will not put my feet
Down the end of the bed
Where all those teeth await.

Ignorant, impressionable and ill-equipped,
I blunder into unknown words and worlds.
Those adventurous children
Who have cream on their porridge
(We never have cream on anything)
And go home for the hols.
(Home from where?)
What is a pirrot? (Spelled ‘pirate’, heard ‘pirrot’)
And why does Christmas Future
Wear an extinguisher as a hat?
(Hefty red cylinder, hose attached –
I know no other.)

In truth I do not expect or desire answers.
The alien, exotic and (frankly) bonkers
World in books is what I crave,
Not gritty realism.
Cold bedrooms, bullying, poverty, boredom,
I can live that.
But under the covers,
Lit by a failing bicycle lamp
I watch Bill the lizard
Crash into cucumber frames
(What are those?),
Smell tropical spices in “Dream Gold”
(Why are the boys sleeping at school?)
And wonder why William’s family
Wear such weird clothes.

Our roadside ‘School’ sign
Is emblazoned with a torch.
I have no idea why.

Q: Which three words best describe your act?

Informative. Entertaining. Digressive.

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite?

As a poet – hundreds. As a fiddle-player – hundreds. As a newly-published author of a modern gothic novel – none, although I expect to have performed twice before the Fringe date. My favourite musical performance was playing on the back of a steam traction engine through the streets of Tavistock.
Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?

John Jarndyce from ‘Bleak House’ and Mary Poppins.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow performer?
It’s your choice to be there. Enjoy it and so will the audience.
Q: What will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017? 

It will be a one-hour presentation and signing of my newly-published novel, ‘Ice’, in the Gold Hill Museum at 2.30pm on Saturday July 1st.

And you can follow Frank here on Twitter. Thanks franks!


60 Seconds with…..Paul Lawless!

 

Q: How did you first discover your talent?

Well, I remember really wanting to sing at a young age which resulted in me joining a church choir. Following this, I joined a Musical Theatre society (WOW Youth Musical Theatre, Weymouth) and this introduced me to Acting, which I fell in love with. I still incorporate song and music into my theatre-making work, these days.

Q: Which three words best describe your act?

Fun. Honest. Insightful.

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite?

I have no idea. We’re talking over 150, professional performances I reckon. 28 consecutive performances at the Pleasance Dome for the EdFringe (2015) was pretty awesome.

Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?

I’m going to go with celebrities on this one – Caitlin Moran and Charlie Brooker.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow

performer?

As a theatre maker – don’t shy away from being honest. As an Actor – strive to be as authentic as possible, with a performance.

Q: Will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017? What’s the plan?

I will be performing Appily Ever After – a one-man, performance piece centred around my experiences app-dating which utilises projection to illustrate my experiences. The show blends original song, spoken word and explores themes including app-addiction, disillusionment and assault. I have developed this piece as part of my Practitioner in residence role at Bay Studios (Weymouth College).

You can follow Paul on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks Paul!


60 Seconds with…Stu Turner

Comic, magician and lover of cabaret, here’s 60 seconds with Stu…

Q: How did you first discover your talent?

I was given a magic set when I was 8 years old.
When I actually started to fool people, I got a taste for it!

Q: Which three words best describe your act?
Comedy, Magic, Nonsense.

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite?
Gosh. It would be well over 1,000 now. I used to be in a comedy double act some years ago and we did quite a bit back then.
Favourite would be a toss-up between appearing in a variety show at the legendary London Palladium, and supporting the late, great Bob Monkhouse when he appeared at the famous Lakeside Country Club.

Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?
Tom & Jerry.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow performer?
When you’re on stage – just enjoy it and have fun. If you’re enjoying it, your audience will enjoy it.

Q: What will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017?
I shall be hosting a cabaret & variety show in the main theatre at the Arts Centre on Saturday night.
And also a fun & silly game show in the afternoon, upstairs in the Rutter Room.

You can follow Stu’s antics on Twitter @StueyTurner and Facebook. Thanks Stu!


Team fringe announce their open call for performers

Team Fringe celebrated at the top of the town’s iconic Gold Hill last week after announcing that the popular summer event is now open to performers to register.

The Fringe festival will again coincide with the North Dorset Gold Hill Fair so the team are working hard to build on last years success and fill the program with an even wider variety of artists.

Shaftesbury Fringe is ‘open access’ like the Edinburgh Fringe so anyone from anywhere can do anything they think will entertain people. Performers can contact the venue they fancy from a list of more than 50 in the town centre listed here.

If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved in this years festival you can follow us on Facebook for all the latest news.

Meet the team: From left to right, back row – James Thrift (Website), Georgie Kirby (Social Media), Teresa Hatcher (Treasurer), Lee Hennessy (Team co-ordinator), Natalie Evans, Andy Tebbutt-Russel and Samantha (Joint Presidents), David Cohen (Sponsorship). Front row Rob Neely (Venues) and Richard Thomas (Press).

 


‘The Shaftesbury Globe’ Shakespeare in the cattle market

One of the unlikeliest hit venues of the 2016 fringe was Shaftesbury cattle market. But this only came about after one of the fringe organisers Andy Tebbutt-Russell thought the market’s circular show-ring reminded him of The Globe theatre in London and what a great Fringe venue it would make. He approached the operators Southern Counties Auctioneers who agreed to include it as a venue and the idea of The Shaftesbury Globe was born. It turned out to be one of the highlights of the festival with Dorset Equity – professional performers based in Dorset – putting on “The Bard’s Best Bits”, an hour-long show celebrating William Shakespeare through his plays and sonnets as part of the nationwide 400th anniversary events. The show featured some six actors and singers led by Fraser Wilson and included extracts from opera and musicals based on the great bard’s works, ending with the hit song ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’ from the musical ‘Kiss Me Kate’.

“We expected about 20 people but in the event the place was packed with well over 100,” said Andy. “Many said they came because they were fascinated to see how we would put on an event like that in such an unusual venue and almost everyone said they would come again. So we’re delighted we’re able to offer the venue again in 2017.”


Samantha sings the shows…from the Grosvenor balcony.

If Shakespeare at Shaftesbury cattle market was one of the unlikeliest events of 2016, the performance of International singer Samantha from the balcony of the Georgian ballroom at the Grosvenor Arms Hotel in the town centre was one of the most moving. The audience in the main street, some 30ft below her to listen to her hour-long medley of songs from stage and screen, were blissfully unaware that Samantha suffers from a serious fear of heights – so throughout her hour-long performance she was in a state of near-panic!

“Fortunately there’s a sturdy handrail there I could hold onto very tightly – and I did!” said Samantha. “The crowd was blissfully unaware I was in a state of terror throughout the performance. But they obviously enjoyed it because some of them were even dancing impromptu in the road.”

The Grosvenor Arms Hotel has various rooms that will be available as venues for Shaftesbury fringe 2017 so if you are an artist and interested in performing here you can find all the information you need on the venues page.


Register your show NOW!

Would you like to showcase your work to new audiences, network with other artists and lift your media profile? Is your next stop Edinburgh? Or are you simply looking to test out new ideas and have some ‘fringe’ fun?

We are excited to announce that the second Shaftesbury Fringe will take place this year from Friday 30th June to Sunday 2nd July in our beautiful medieval hilltop town, home of the famous Gold Hill.

As one of the fastest-growing performing arts festivals in the South-West we have over 50 wonderful venues on offer, from churches and cafes to pubs and public parks, with audience capacities from 1 to over 100.

-Registration Fees: It costs just £15 per performance which entitles you to a full colour entry in our Fringe Programme and supplement, with a distribution of over 60,000.

-Deadline: The deadline for performance registrations is 31st March 2017.

You can find most of the answers to your questions here on our FAQ’s page.

If you are ready to register then please fill in our online form here.

We look forward to welcoming you!


60 Seconds with……YOU!

We would like to invite all our acts past and present to complete a mini Q&A for us to use as part of a feature we

will be running on social media.

Simply answer the questions below in an email and submit along with any photos and web links you would like to

include to: Georgie@shaftesburyfringe.co.uk.

Q: How did you first discover your talent?

Q: Which three words best describe your act?

Q: How many shows have you performed to date and which was your favourite?

Q: Which two fictional characters from film, literature or theatre would you replace your parents with?

Q: What was the best piece of advice you have been given by a fellow performer?

Q: What will you be performing at Shaftesbury Fringe 2017?

Remember to include your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram details so we can follow and tag you in posts and remember to use #shaftesburyfringe to join the conversation online.