Shaftesbury Fringe performers will be able to pick another new venue for their show – a garden centre in the heart of the town.
Fringe’s venue list already includes a range of premises of all shapes and sizes including pubs, coffee shops, estate agents, Shaftesbury Abbey and a hairdressing salon.
Nick Andrew, owner of Shaftesbury’s boutique garden centre, The Potting Shed, is now making his outdoor area available for acts.
“I think that my Victorian walled garden could provide a really atmospheric place for a music performance,” enthuses Nick.
“Perhaps a folk, country-influenced or acoustic band would make the most of the setting,” says Nick, adding, “This large garden space could prove more challenging for a more intimate performer, such as a poet, but I’m open to ideas.”
Nick says he was impressed by the range and quality of acts that entertained the crowds at last year’s Fringe. He attended a stand-up comedy show at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre and he enjoyed the three bands that he saw perform at nearby Swan’s Yard.
“So many people walk past the shop from Swan’s Yard to Bell Street and they have no idea that I have this large walled garden area behind the store,” says Nick, who is now encouraging acts to call in and view this outdoor venue.
Nick is a qualified horticulturalist and he spent 15 years working for national garden centre companies on the Dorset coast before taking over this Shaftesbury town centre business last year.
“Fringe is very much part of the Shaftesbury community and as a local business owner, I really want to support this event,” Nick says.
Naturally, you’d expect anyone who has pursued a long career in gardening to consider our British summertime weather when making arrangements.
“I have a plan B,” laughs Nick. “I am prepared to move the chairs from the lawn to the gravel area if it has been raining,” he says.
The Potting Shed is open between Tuesday and Saturday from 9.30am to 5pm.