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‘A real buzz’ – Lancashire Fringe Festival off to a great start in Preston

Posted on - 30th April, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Preston City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston
Garry Cook
Festival organiser Garry wants to make Preston the ultimate cult destination in the North of England for theatre and performance

The organiser of Lancashire Fringe Festival says the event is creating ‘a real buzz’ in Preston.

Despite some first night nerves, Garry Cook from Enjoy The Show said lots of people are turning up and enjoying the shows.

“The festival has had a fantastic start,” said Garry.

“I was nervous for the first night; I knew I had a brilliant show booked but had no idea if people would turn up. All the events in Lancashire Fringe Festival are ticketless and free but, understandably, there has been noticeable fewer people coming to public events since lockdown.

“A packed out Vinyl Tap witnessed the wonderful Sarah Finigan and Michael Wagg from Teatro Vivo perform The Regulars, an immersive show performed around the pub.

“Joy France and T.M/O were amazing at the spoken-word event we jointly held at The Continental with Damson Poets, Preston’s long-running poetry group.”

Read more: Preston to host Lancashire Fringe Festival

Garry describes Lancashire Fringe Festival as being like ‘a mini Edinburgh Fringe Festival’.

He said: “Hundreds of thousands go to Edinburgh every year to see shows like I’m bringing to Preston.

“It’s amazing that these performers are coming to Lancashire – on your doorstep so you don’t have the hassle of travelling and finding expensive accommodation.”

As well as bringing some of the UK’s best performers to Preston, Garry is hoping the festival will encourage locals to come back into the city for live events.

One of Garry’s main aims is to entice people who don’t usually attend these kinds of performances.

Poet Louise Fazackerley
Poet Louise Fazackerley will be appearing at the festival

“It’s been great to see so many new faces come to the events so far, there has been a real buzz about the shows. I’ve also been delighted to see so many people take the plunge and give the shows a go. People keep saying ‘I didn’t know what to expect – but I loved it!’.

“I also know how hard it is to persuade friends to come and see shows, so have been really pleased to see some people come down on their own. I know going on your own to an event can put people off, but we’ve got a lovely community feeling to the events and everyone is made to feel as welcome as possible.

“I know if the people do come, they will be absolutely blown away with what they will see, whether it’s a dance show, comedy show, poetry, drag or piece of theatre.

“The enthusiasm and sheer delight from the first few shows has been staggering. I think even some of the performers were shocked at how much people loved their work.”

Read more: Leyland Festival announce full artist line-up

With lots more shows to come, Garry is feeling excited.

“There are some big performances coming up, starting on Tuesday 3 May at The Continental with Nell Hardy’s personal one-woman show NoMad about homelessness and mental health.

“And for history fans, The Larder hosts a lecture-performance by Richard Atkinson about the War of the Roses, which mixes historical facts with comedy and humour.

“The following night at the same venue is a double-bill performance, with acclaimed comedy performer Cheekykita on stage with It Is What It Isn’t followed by international cabaret legend Fond Cox who will be performing for the first time in her native Lancashire.

“I also can’t wait for Lancashire Briefs, a series of monologues and performances written and performed by Lancashire writers and actors on Wednesday 11 May at The Continental.”

Lancashire Fringe Festival is on now and runs until Wednesday May 25. Full details of shows can be found on the Enjoy The Show website.


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