The 2012 Brochure for England's largest fringe festival was unveiled yesterday with a colourful launch party at Leicester Square Theatre. In the company of participants, supporters, partners and Friends of Brighton Fringe, incoming director Julian Caddy revealed a line-up encompassing over 681 events housed in 193 venues across the city, an array of site-specific work and one of the largest street festivals in the UK. In May, Britain's favourite seaside city will play host to panoply of cultural events from theatre to visual art, from dance to comedy, from music to film. With Citroën as the headline sponsors for the second consecutive year, Brighton Fringe 2012 promises to be the biggest and best yet.
Caddy outlined a festival that offers a market place for performers to showcase their work and an arena for audiences to discover and participate in new, challenging and captivating cultural experiences. He stated that the open access nature of Brighton Fringe is in contrast to the curated nature of Brighton Festival and, as such, compliments their work perfectly, going on to say that it ensures a creative chaos, a chaos that leads to a place of discovery, a place where a hidden gem can be found on every street corner, a place where polished jewels sit amongst rough diamonds.
This year Brighton Fringe moves further into the international arena with more companies from outside the UK participating and growing an unparalleled variety of industry events. The 2012 festival welcomes around 30 foreign companies and, with i on board as national media partner, it is expected that this number will increase in years to come. Professional workshops are to be held by Equity, The Stage, New Writing South, Spotlight, Comic Boom and The Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
This year's highlights include Dip Your Toe, Brighton Fringe's response to the Cultural Olympiad's 'The Boat Project'. Six custom-built Victorian bathing machines will be scattered around the city to house a broad range of performances with both strong community links and wider international elements. With puppet shows, audio and live performances, galleries and even a camera-obscura, the machines will also welcome the Olympiad's boat when it arrives in Brighton on the first stop of its maiden voyage in May. New venues abound, including The Warren which, with a bold, cross-genre, accessible and vibrant programme, is opening up free fringe performances to completely new audiences. The first ever dedicated family venue, The Hurly Burly will take up residence in the front gardens of St Peter's Church where a host of child-friendly shows will take place during the day, switching to more adult-orientated work in the evenings. Hendrick's returns to Jubilee Gardens where their Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings will present an eclectic and exciting literary programme.
In the cabaret programme there are the award-winning Bourgeois and Maurice, the legendary Lynn Ruth Miller and Radio 1's King of Cabaret Des O'Connor. The comedy line-up includes Mark Steel, Jimeoin, Gina Yashere, Nick Helm, Isy Suttie, Brian Gittins, Pappy's and Late Night Gimp Fight. Onto the dance stage comes Eau Eau 7 at The Prince Regent Pool in which the synchro swimmers of Brighton celebrate fifty years of James Bond and Rhum and Clay Theatre Company bring absurdist humour and innovative physical theatre to The Old Courtroom. Brighton Fringe 2012 also boasts the biggest kids' festival ever with a puppets, comedy and storytelling. The literature programme includes,the celebrated Literary Salon presented by Damian Barr with guests such as JoJo Moyes and Alex Prestin, a Charles Dickens Cabaret to celebrate his bicentennial and the distinguished US academic George Ritzer. The range of music encapsulates about every genre one can think of with highlights including Cubana Bop playing music from West Side Story, Impact Opera's paired-down production of, Carmen and Voodoo Funk, Kalkuta Millionaires. Theatre includes Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Harold Pinter, Arnold Wesker and Stephen Sondheim as well as cutting-edge new work such as Napoleon: A Defence in which clowns fight the Napoleonic Wars, the arresting allegory White Rabbit, Red Rabbit by Iranian Soleimanpour which is performed by a different actor every night and Feral Theatre's Tryptich which mixes puppetry, physical theatre and aerial skills to tell tales of freedoms lost, love extirpated and transformations amongst the trees. There is also a rich and varied events programme that includes In Conversation with Tony Benn, Live Roller Derby and the Sussex Vs West Indies Beer Festival.