What is the Camden Fringe?
The Camden Fringe first offered an alternative to the famous Scottish innovation, The Edinburgh Fringe, back in 2006. This move was no doubt welcomed by both London-based performers and audiences alike.
As one prominent local comedian noted last year, the Edinburgh Fringe causes something of an absurd exodus from one capital to another, with every mover and shaker in the London comedy scene relocating to the North for the month of August - encouraging performers who live in the same postcode for the rest of the year to undertake the same 'pilgrimage', to get noticed in their field .
The Camden Fringe has grown in strength and size every year since its inception, and many of the guests in London hotels from 30th July to the 26th August will be in the capital to enjoy this festival of stand-up comedy, physical theatre and puppet shows. Since this year's Camden Fringe begins just after the Olympic Games, booking hotels in London earlier rather than later is definitely the advice for those wishing to attend.
The Camden Fringe was actually founded by two comedy producers with ample experience of the Edinburgh scene every August. Zena Barrie and Michelle Flower put on comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 2002 - 2006. Using this experience as a benchmark, The Camden Fringe has developed organically, and every year sees the addition of new venues for the festival.
Etcetera Theatre, Camden
The first Camden Fringe was held in the Etcetera Theatre, above The Oxford Arms pub in Camden Town. The Etcetera is still a central venue for the Camden Fringe, and this year there will also be performances in Camden's Peoples Theatre, Lauderdale House, Shaw Theatre, The Black Heart, The Camden Eye, The Camden Head, The Forge, The Jewish Museum, The New Diorama Theatre, The Pirate Castle, The Sheephaven Bay, Tristan Bates Theatre, Upstairs at the Gatehouse, the Webber Douglas Studio (at the Central College of Speech and Drama), and Theatre Collection (upstairs at the Lord Stanley Pub).The Camden Fringe offers a real chance for new talent and experimental material to reach an audience. As one review of the Camden Fringe put it;
'Want to find the Ricky Gervais, Stewart Lee or Jimmy Carr of tomorrow? Look no further.'