Radiating both enormous excitement and ardent emotion at being able to launch his first Brighton Fringe, Caddy started his wide-ranging speech by recognising the enormous amount of creativity in the city and the palpable feeling of excitement that comes with living right in the heart of such an arena. He went on to thank the main festival supporters, both new and long-standing, including Citroen, First Capital Connect, Southern Water, Legal & General and Hendrick’s Gin (who were kind enough to supply large amounts of their product to the assembled group).
One of the main highlights, in a programme that includes 677 events in 193 venues, is Dip Your Toe, a response to the Cultural Olympiad’s The Boat Project. Six custom-built Victorian-style bathing machines will be positioned in prominent locations around the city and will house a broad range of performances including puppet shows, gallery and audio presentations as well as other live presentations. The bathing machines will also form the focus of the reception for the Olympiad’s boat when it makes its maiden voyage to Brighton in May.
A number of new venues have also been announced for this year’s festival including the first-ever dedicated venue for family shows. The Hurly Burly will be located in the grounds of St Peter’s Church and, throughout the day, will host a number of child-friendly shows before switching to more adult performances in the evenings. In another attempt to open the festival up to completely new audiences, a venue called The Warren is being created in the heart of Brighton’s main shopping centre – Churchill Square – where a multitude of free events will take place.
Much was made of the fact that the Brighton Fringe is an uncurated festival and, along with the freedom that allows the performers, Caddy emphasised that, as festival administrators, it is their role to organise, promote and to protect the interests of all those involved. He also announced plans to increase the national awareness of the fringe festival to ensure that Brighton can: “Get out there and stake its claim in a very competitive creative market.”
In his concluding remarks, Caddy added that he expected this to be: “The biggest, the best, and the brightest fringe festival ever staged in the city.” The full festival details are now available on the website and the printed brochure will be available from mid-March, though public booking starts on 1 March.