Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Sunday 19 June 2022

Brighton Fringe 2022 Showed Strong Signs Of Recovery For The Sector But Challenges Remain

In the year that Brighton Fringe invited audiences to 'Stay Curious', Fringe-goers flooded venues across Brighton, Hove and beyond. 
Credit Brighton Rock Photography

Over four weeks and five weekends, 150,000 tickets were sold to show-stopping circus, laugh-out-loud comedy, heart-wrenching theatre, unconventional cabaret and much more besides. 

Including free and non-ticketed events, overall attendances were over 370,000 people, both in person and online.

The largest arts festival in England, this year Brighton Fringe held over 700 events: 726 in person and 44 digital, which materialised into over 4,000 performances for audiences in Brighton & Hove and those comfy at home.  

Events took place at 125 venues across the city and the wider Sussex area, hosting the most weird, wild and wonderful shows from Brighton, the UK and around the globe.

Brighton Fringe's average ticket price remained relatively affordable at £9.43 per ticket and the festival also saw an expanding programme of free events, as well as more and more events opting for Name Your Price ticketing in the wake of the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills.

Brighton Fringe CEO Julian Caddy said: 

"Less than six months ago, as we were slowly emerging from the Omicron wave of Covid, it was difficult to imagine what the festival would be like this year.  

"Plans have had to be changed, delayed and budgets constantly increasing due to inflation, supply chain difficulties and the growing costs of raw materials. 

"Staffing also remains a challenge as many people have left the industry during the pandemic.  

"Nevertheless, we have managed to not only run a festival, but have vastly exceeded all expectations in terms of audience attendances and ticket sales. 

"I would like to pay tribute to all participants, venues, staff, volunteers, funders and other partners for their hard work in the face of so many challenges. 

"Also huge thanks to our audiences for coming out in such great numbers - without you, none of this would be possible!"

Fringe City, the free outdoor Brighton Fringe showcase, returned to New Road for 2022 every weekend throughout the festival, with tens of thousands of people enjoying snippets of Brighton Fringe events on the stage, enjoying drinks from Orange Beach bars pop-up bar and food from a variety of street food traders. 

Celebrating the success of the artists and venues who made Brighton Fringe possible, the organisation announced their award-winners during their 2022 Brighton Fringe awards ceremony on Sunday. 

Brighton Fringe CEO, Julian Caddy, opened the ceremony with a tribute to Fringe-favourite Lynn Ruth Miller who recently passed away, before awarding more than twenty awards to stand-out events and venues of the 2022 season. 

Winners included Betsy: Wisdom of a Brighton Whore who took home The Brighton International Fringe Encore Award, which secures them the chance to perform their show at SoHo Playhouse in New York City, and Airswimming who were awarded the Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre award.

My Heart is a Spark took home the Audience Choice award for best event whilst the Audience Choice best venue award went to The Under Sea Diner, as voted for by the public. 

Two Outstanding Contribution awards were given to The Pebble Trust and Brighton Spiegeltent for their continued work to elevate Brighton Fringe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The final award of the evening, The Spirit of Brighton Fringe award, was given to Tony and Shirley Jaffe who have run The Old Courtroom venue and performed as part of Brighton Fringe for many years.

 Brighton Fringe embraces a multitude of art forms and artistry in its vast and quirky programme. 

The open-access arts festival prides itself on welcoming established and emerging artists, and supporting those taking their first steps with a variety of bursaries. 

It offers much-loved returning acts alongside exciting newcomers with comedy, theatre, circus, exhibitions, magic, dance, children"s shows and much, much more.

Brighton Fringe, England's largest arts festival, will return in May 2023.

by: Mike Cobley

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