Hannah George by Julian Winslow

Interview: Hannah George

719 609 Ventnor Fringe

Sometimes it’s nice to just to sit back and celebrate the achievements of a child of Ventnor who has gone on to do great things in their field. When I think of ‘home girl done good’, it’s hard not to think of Hannah George – writer, director, good natured bon viveur.

At 19, Hannah won the Paramount Comedy Student Comedian of the Year award and things just went from there. She has performed at hundreds of comedy gigs around the country including at our very own Ventnor Fringe. As if that wasn’t success enough, it’s in the last few years however that Hannah has really found her feet. Since taking a hiatus from stand up, Hannah focused on her writing and has since worked for (to name but a few) the BBC, Sky, Disney Channel, and Nickolodeon. She also creates work with her own company, Somewhen Productions, including ‘S Band’ which was nominated best UK webseries at Raindance Film Festival and a hit viral video that amassed over 2 million views in a matter of days.

Not only that, Hannah has recently achieved an ambition of hers to write a novel by the time she was 30, finishing the first draft days before her birthday. She’s living proof that hard work can get you far. I had a very brief chat with Hannah about how things have been going.

Hello, tell me about your connection to Ventnor.
I have lived in Ventnor since I was 6. My folks still live here and I constantly come back from London as it’ll always be ‘home’.

And what about your connection to the Fringe?
I went to the same school as Jack & Mhairi. And in 2012 wrote a piece and performed in Paines Plough ‘Come to Where I’m From’. That was the second Fringe. Then the next show I was involved with was ‘Ventnorville’ which was a mock vaudevillian cabaret, including a two-man, ten-minute rendition of Les Miserables complete with multiple wigs, and a loaf of bread. It was the greatest show on Earth. Even though I live in London I still come down and watch shows and gigs at the Exchange.

Ventnor seems to influence a lot of creative types, is that true for you?
Ventnor always offers inspiration in everything I do, and my writing partner still lives in Niton so he’s a big creative connection! When I’m not writing up in London, I often come back home; it’s a great place to be.

Talking to Hannah gives me hope. Although Ventnor and the Isle of Wight can seem a million miles away from the big smoke of London, it’s wonderful to see people who show that success can be had and dreams fulfilled. Ventnor has a history of nurturing creative people and releasing them into the world, but time and time again the pull home is strong and the impressions left long-lasting. It’s through people like Hannah that the Ventnor vibe is going national.

Steven Paul Sales

Interview: Steven Paul Sales

640 790 Ventnor Fringe

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Steven Sales. I’m 33 ½. I was born on the Island, but I currently live and work in Bristol. I hate using the term artist, but its essentially what I do – I make objects and things about the physical and cultural identity of places. I like dancing to disco and cooking; and especially cooking to disco.

Describe your connection to Ventnor and the Fringe.
The first of my Island family moved to Ventnor in 1900. My great-great uncle’s name is inscribed on the War memorial near Ventnor Park, so Ventnor has always felt like my ancestral home. It’s been my cultural home since being a teenager, frequenting the beaches, footpaths and pubs. I’ve had many friends perform in the Fringe and have seen first-hand what a great experience it can be. I didn’t want to miss out.

Tell us about what you are bringing to the Fringe.
I’m presenting a sound installation at the Errant Stage, which explores the uncertain future of the native Island dialect. I was fifteen when I first realised the island had its own unique set of words and over the past 18 years it is clear that less people are using these words in everyday life. Some Island words describe actions which don’t exist in the English language. Kurn for example, refers to the turning of a flower into a fruit. I hope the installation excites people about this wonderful aspect of our Island heritage.

One previous Fringe memory you hold dear.
Watching Stealing Sheep last year. The balmy weather and the venue helped to enhance the atmosphere that evening. I remember a moment of just looking around, being surrounded by mates and realising I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

This year you are most excited about…
It goes without saying that I am really excited about presenting my own project, but I’m also looking forward to seeing Childhood, Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads performance piece at Trinity Church and Puppet Bingo.

It’s the Beginning…

845 563 Ventnor Fringe

It’s 2017, the world has become a different place in the last eight years.

Eight years ago, our festival founders were eighteen-year- old students experiencing the first sips of university life, visiting prospective courses and deciphering what career paths to go down. This journey ultimately brought about the question; how they could bring the culture they’d tasted back to the Isle of Wight, or more importantly back to their hometown, Ventnor.

The kids did good eh? But they’re not kids anymore, eight increasingly more successful Fringe festivals, one Ventnor Exchange and countless community projects; I think we can all agree that VFringe has been a change for the better.

Ventnor town has come alive in the last decade, seeing empty shops brim with light, life and laughter. We have two art venues (Ventnor Exchange and Ventnor Arts Club), several artisan eateries (Cantina, Tramezzini and The Bistro), a Tea House, a homemade ice cream parlor, three small supermarkets and countless thirst quenching bars. What does all this ultimately mean. Is this town just a brilliant holiday destination or is Ventnor finally becoming a town of young entrepreneurs making a sustainable living?
The problem that young people have always faced on the Isle of Wight is whether it’s a viable place to live and have a career. Is it possible to build a successful career right here on the southern-most coast of the Isle of Wight?

The town is smarter, more refined and culturally rich than it ever has been, the young people of the town are setting up shop with their businesses. Three businesses are run by young people; Ventnor Exchange, The Tea House (and The Events Co.) and Red Squirrel Studios. Gentrification is always a hot topic in our yearly Fringe Forum. Whilst Jack Whitewood has always steadfast in his belief that gentrification will not happen, or at least is a long-way off for Ventnor, we pose the question: Is it?

The Fringe Review have decided to investigate whether Ventnor is now a viable career option for young people by interviewing successful creative faces that have done just that. Look out for these interviews in the coming six issues of the Fringe Review.