5 Great Things to do at the Fringe for Free!

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Free Fringe Producer Jack Barnes takes a look at what’s on offer
The book bus is a beautiful 1930’s parisian bus that has been converted into the perfect bookshop. Each day there will be a wide range of fun activities for the whole family, from storytellers and musicians to theatre productions. The book bus is an amazing creative hub and the perfect place to escape to. Open from 10am – 6pm daily (plus a mystery late night event perhaps!)
Ever seen a band perform a packed out gig in a laundrette? Well now’s your chance. Most evenings at the Fringe there will be new, up close and personal gig in ventnors local laundrette, and of course, it’s free!
Join the colourful madness of the Ventnor Carnival on their 129th year parading through our streets on Wednesday and Saturday evening and witness the crazy characters that Ventnor has to offer!
Ventnors very own art_house_life is one of many homes that will be transformed and opened up to the public to present brand new artwork from artists all around the world, such as the San Francisco based Jeremy P. Morgan, Jo Kori and Albedo Marz. There will also be artist talks each day and even intimate performances from artists like Cat Skellington in the front room!

Step into a mysterious world through a secret entrance hidden somewhere in Parkside and join Doris Dodo in a creepy immersive experience in which Doris and her team of ghostly characters allow you to experience your own funeral alongside other creepy activities. Will you be brave enough?
This is just a snapshot of what’s on offer, with 100’s of free acts alongside over 70 different ticketed shows. Take a walk around Ventnor during the Ventnor Fringe week and see what you discover!

6 Tips for Fringe Newbies

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Free Fringe Co-Producer Sarah prepares for her first Ventnor Fringe

I’m Sarah, a 24 year old volunteer with the Ventnor Fringe helping to organise some of the the Free Fringe activities. Although I grew up on the Island, I’ve not been to the Fringe before (I can’t believe I’ve missed out on this until now!). So, I’ve been chatting to the team and I’ve come up with these tips for Ventnor Fringe newbies like me!

1. Book in advance…
Make sure you book tickets in advance for the shows you definitely want to see. Some of the venues are quite small, so a lot of the shows are selling out fast. To save some money, you can also become a Fringe Friend online which will get you 2 for 1 tickets on lots of shows. See twice as many shows, or bring a friend!
2. …but give yourself time to explore!
Be prepared, but don’t fill your time up too much! There is so much going on throughout the week and not all of it will be in the program. Alongside the ticketed shows there are tonnes of free acts and activities. Leave yourself some time to wander around and stumble across some of the weirdness going on in Ventnor. You might find yourself in a rooftop yoga class at sunset, listening to a storyteller on the 1930s parisian bus turned bookshop or even watching some improvised hip-hop in a laundrette.
3. Don’t know any acts? No problem!
There are over 100 different acts and it could be the case that you don’t know a single one. Should you be worried? No! Part of the fun of fringe festivals is that you’ll come across performances that surprise you and discovering new artists to follow. If you’re not sure what to pick (or spoilt for choice?) why not give the Fringe Roulette Wheel a spin and see where you end up.

4. The Fringe is for you, yes you!
As well as a huge variety of acts at the Fringe there is always a huge variety of guests too. There is something to suit everyone, from family friendly activities in parkside to late night DJs down at the harbourside and plenty of quiet places to wander during the day.
5. Meet the artists and the team.
Come down to the Harbourside at 11am on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday for brunch with the performers, artists and the Ventnor Fringe team. If you’re an artist yourself it will be a great opportunity to network!
6. Logistics and Transport
Wear comfortable shoes! Ventnor may be compact but it can be pretty steep. Parking will be difficult to find so I would really recommend coming by public transport. You can easily get the number 3 from Ryde or Newport. They run as late as 12:28am Monday to Thursday and 3:33am Friday to Sunday. The buses take contactless payment now too!

Look out for the Free Fringe programme online and available throughout the Festival and also the Fringe Review Newspaper which comes out every morning for all the latest news

5 Weird & Wonderful Features of Ventnor Fringe

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I’m Violet, I’m 15, I go to Medina College and have been doing work experience at the Ventnor Exchange this week. I have never been to the Ventnor Fringe, yet already I have found out lots about it and what it features. Here are 5 weird and wonderful things that I’m looking forward to seeing at the Fringe!

1.) It lasts longer than most festivals
The Ventnor Fringe is unlike many festivals for many reasons, but particularly one; instead of lasting for 3 days, it lasts for 6, meaning that you can do much more! The events start early and end late as well, meaning that there is always going to be something to do.

2.) Some of the venues are really weird!
Every act at the Fringe will have a unique performance, so why not host unique performances in unique places? Some great venues that artists have performed at before have been in laundrettes, in abandoned mansions, on rooftops and even in front of somebody’s garage! The unique atmosphere gives you the vibe of being in a music video, which makes the performance that much more enjoyable!

3.) There is a lot of variety!
If you think that there may not be an act for you at the Ventnor Fringe, think again! Acts at the festival perform in many different genres and many different art forms, from freestyle hip-hop to classical music and from theatre performances to visual art galleries; there truly is something for everyone!

4.) More freedom to choose
At the Fringe, there are many different acts to go and see, but don’t think you are restricted to any one stage! Any visitor only pays for whatever they want to see, and do not have to pay for what they do not want to go and see.

5.) The Festival costs less than you think
To top everything off, the fringe is a very affordable event, with most acts costing maximum £10 and many acts being free! Again, you can go and see what you want to see when you want to see it, so you will not be paying lots for anything you do not want to go and see!

That’s all, I hope to see you at the festival! I for sure will be at the screening of The Life Aquatic on Tuesday 7th August at 9pm at the Harbourside!

Violet is on a work experience placement with the Ventnor Exchange. Placements are provided as part of our drive to provide more opportunities for those looking to develop careers in the creative industries on the Isle of Wight.


5 Minutes With… Franko Figueiredo from StoneCrabs Theatre

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With so many shows on offer at this year’s Ventnor Fringe, we thought we’d find out more by talking to some of the artists making the trip about what we can expect. First up Franko Figueiredo, Artistic Director of StoneCrabs Theatre

Hello Franko! Your bringing not one but two shows to the Ventnor Fringe, that’s ambitious! Tell us about the two plays you’ll be presenting.
Ambitous and highly risky, but very exciting to bring international work and artists to the Island. Our shows are Tieta, The Trial and Some Kind of Love Story.
Tieta, The Trial examines the concepts of revenge, justice, greed and equality in a witty and subversive way, using storytelling, live music and dance.
It is performed by the multi-talented and versatile Inês Sampaio, who sings, dances, narrates, and performs each one of the characters. From being hounded from her hometown in Brazil for being different, Tieta overcomes many obstacles and becomes a millionaire. She regularly sends money back to support her family and the local community. There is uproar when the money abruptly stops and, assuming the worst, the townsfolk and her family scheme to inherit Tieta’s fortune. But Tieta is on her way home with a million to spend on justice, but what is justice?

Photo Graham Reading Photography

Some Kind of Love Story on the other hand is Arthur Miller’s play with the 50s film noir genre to examine the themes of justice and the search for truth through the former lovers Angela and Tom.
Tom is a private detective, ex-NYPD member trying to crack the Epstein case. He is convinced Angela hold the key to the innocent Felix’s release from prison. But Angela will not tell. Is Tom ready for the truth? Miller’s characters confusing and crumbling relationship mirrors that of his own country.

Tieta, The Trial poses an interesting question. When someone has been the victim of prejudice or an injustice should we seek revenge? What made you choose to tackle this subject?
Yes, and that question alones provokes many others in turn – so Tieta, The Trial takes on a lot of big questions in a dark comic manner, and we felt really drawn to tell this story on the stage because of its big themes and how they are present in our daily lives.
Tieta, The Trial is, ultimately, about how the power of money subjugates our contemporary society. Tieta, The Trail is an adaptation of the novel by Brazilian writer Jorge Amado, published in 1977. Our stage version has been in development since 2015; the more we worked on it, the more we felt that the script poses very important questions, particularly at our current times where cynicism seems to be leading to much selfishness and separatism.
This is the story of an immigrant in search for kindness in humanity, but what they find is that people, not money, is the real source of evil.

Some Kind of Love Story on the other hand is a lesser known play of Arthur Miller (The Crucible/ Death of a Salesman) what drew you to this particular play?
StoneCrabs is all about introducing unknown world stories to UK audiences, and this little gem by Miller was on the pipeline a few years back, but the project has only just materialised.
Like the Crucible, Miller takes America back in time to criticise its current state of affairs, he uses a similar device with this short play: goes back to 1950s America through a complex love relationship to criticise the current state of politics, corruption and abuse of power.
It is a challenging piece for all the artists involved and we wanted to explore if we could delve into the characters relationship without any frills. Miller’s language very powerful, and the characters relationship complex and intense.

Photo Graham Reading Photography

This is StoneCrabs Theatre Companies first trip to the Ventnor Fringe. For those who have never heard of you, how would you describe your work?
We are heavily influenced by European and Japanese theatre, so our work tends to have charged physicality and strong imagery. When creating Tieta, The Trial we were inspired by Japanese minimalistic performance art of ‘rakugo’ and for Some Kind of Love Story we used movement work inspired by Austro-Hungarian Laban and French practitioner Lonis.

Your traditionally based in London, but now looking to work more on the Isle of Wight. What do you think makes the Island an attractive place to make creative work?
Three things makes the Island an attractive place for me to make creative work:
Undisturbed space and time with wellbeing needs met
beautiful and inspiring locations
and the promise of never being far from the sea.
It’s also very rewarding to be able to bring a different type of theatre to an Isle of Wight audience, who would normally have to travel to mainland cities to see it.

Is there anything else at the Ventnor Fringe your looking forward to watching?
I’ll try to catch as much as I can. I’ll be definitely watching past StoneCrabs Young Directors graduate shows: Misfire, Boxman and Tropicalia Island, and also hope to fit in Tiresias, The Asylum Monologues, Jegere’s Eri and Died Blondes.

Can you sum up in five words why we need to see these plays?
International artists, ingenious twists and hope.

Catch Tieta, The Trial at The Other Place on Thursday 9th & Friday 10th Aug at 8pm (TICKETS HERE) and Some Kind Of Love Story, also at The Other Place on Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th Aug at 8pm (TICKETS HERE)

5 Shows Exploring Migration In The Modern World

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One of the most exciting aspects of the Ventnor Fringe is how each year artists bring work to the Festival that questions and challenges the issues of our time. Perhaps one of the most relevant contemporary themes that shines through this year is the topic of migration.


Today Festival Director Jack Whitewood takes a look at 5 shows in this year’s programme that explore the complex issues of migration, travelers and the movement of people in the modern world, all in very different ways.

Asylum Monologues
Thursday 9th Aug / 2pm / Pier Street Playhouse / £6
The real life experinces of Dembe and Julie from Uganda and Marwan from Syria are brought to life by members of Isle of Wight Amnesty who read first hand accounts of their journeys to the UK. I saw this at the Exchange last year and it really hit home the bureaucratic no mans land people can find themselves stuck in.

Sunday 12th Aug / 1pm + 6pm / The Other Place / £10 / 2for1
Billed as a deeply moving one man play by the Australlian playwright Daniel Keene which tells the story of Ringo, who is one of the 60 million displaced people in the world. Sheltering in a cardboard box in an innner city park he is a survivor from a childhood as a soldier. This is a play which explores the life of someone you might be tempted to walk by without even giving a second glance. I’m hoping this play will make us think again. Reviews from the London run seem promising.

A special production from the London based Flugelman Productions.

The Tropicalia Island
Tuesday 7th + Wednesday 8th Aug / 5pm / Parkside Tent / £10
A tragedy has destroyed almost the whole world but The Tropicalia Island has survived and Amanda Ferreira is the Immigration Officer talking to European refugees about the asylum rules and opportunities for them on the Island.

A character comedy by the Brazillian performer Fernanda Mandagara which takes a different angle on this important issue. I’m intrigued.

Kit & Caboodle
Thursday 9th Aug / 1pm + 3pm / Parkside / £6 – £5
A beautiful outdoor puppet show for the whole family which explores remarkable journeys of all types and sizes. Thingumajig Theatre’s giant rolling mule puppet carries with it bags and cases which each hold another story. This is a company we’ve kept an eye on from afar for sometime. I can’t wait to see them at Ventnor Fringe.

ẸRÍ (Testimony)
Thursday 9th Aug / 9pm / Parkside Tent / £10
Incredibly talented cellist and kora player Tunde Jegede and multimedia artist Sunara Begum return to the Isle of Wight following two sell out shows at the Ventnor Exchange. This will be the world premiere of a new piece which combines their art forms to weave together stories that span both Britain and Nigeria and what it means to be displaced in the modern world. This will form part of a whole week residency for these two artists, the first the Fringe has every hosted, which is something I hope we can build on in future.