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Barnstaple Fringe Theatrefest

Now over for 2019.

Barnstaple Fringe Theatrefest has to be one of the hidden gems of the Fringe Theatre scene. Running over just four days, it is also probably the most do-able Fringe in the country, with plenty of theatre on offer and the chance to see all or most of it in one trip!

“Fringe Theatrefest embraces the widest possible range of theatre forms. Events take place in a variety of circumstances including venues provided by Fringe TheatreFest, venues found and equipped by participating companies and many outside locations.”

Essential Links

The programme is here

Browse shows by time here

Find a venue

Book tickets

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Follow Theatrefest’s Bill Buffery on Twitter @BillBuffery

Also find them on Facebook

View Theatrefest on Instagram

I Want to See … at Theatrefest

Here is our quirky but highly useful show-finding tool…

I want to see…

… some historical theatre – an  iconic account of the Russian Revolution. Then see 10 Days that Shook the World

… a solo version of Peter Pan. Then see One Man Peter Pan

… some theatre based on a true story. Then see Rock and a Hard Place

… something political in the morning. Then see A Political Breakfast

… a comedy poet. Then see Robert Garham – Spout

… some award-winning physical theatre. Then see A Voice We Follow

… some solo comedy theatre. Then see Autolycus!

… a comedy drama with a science fiction twist. Then see Running Out

… something for under 5s. Then see Two Little Kittens

… some contemporary dance. Then see Thrones

… a music, mirth and spoken word show. Then see The Steve Larkin Adventure

… some theatre, a hit from Brighton Fringe 2019. Then see Tiptree: No One Else’s Damn Secret But My Own

… some clown. Then see Entrée

… a  powerful, dramatic play that charts the life of Edward Wilson, naturalist, artist and caring, brave explorer who journeyed with Captain Scott and died with him at the South Pole. Then see The Final Journey of Edward Wilson

… a 45 minute show about odd socks mixed with award winning stand up. Then see Oddsocks

… a one woman comedy show about identity, people and dated cultural references! Then see Holly Kavanagh – My dad’s Mick Hucknell

… some masks, pupetry and music. Then see Kōtuku and the Moon Child

We’ll be updating our recommendations in the run up to, and during Theatrefest.

Theatrefest Link Collage

Here’s another way to choose a show at Theatrefest. Use your instincts and click on an image that draws you and you can reveal the show behind the image. Then get booking…





We’ll be regularly updating our Theatrefest Link Collage

Theatrefest Keyword Chaos

We’ve selected evocative phrases from the Theatrefest programme.

Click on the ones that intrigue you and you might just find the show you need to see…

With wolves, witches and goblins. Feminist tales for a modern age, members of the audience are invited on to the stage to help tell these twisted versions of the Grimm’s classics.

a story that has endured the ages but it is time to question who the real monsters are in this ancient myth, and how it relates to modern times.

A university professor is caught in a storm when an image of her in a changing room is shared online.

a work which raises questions about the nature of performance art and the roles that audience member and artist play together. While being present, but asleep, the artist has no conscious contact with public. The act of sleeping is the performance technique that enables the performer to distance herself from her work where everything around can become art in its own rights with or without the artist.

Am I dead? Hazel asks, as her mother Ivy regards past and future. Where is the thread? In the wool, the yarn? Can it be found in a Pas de Chat? Or does it lie with Sleeping Dogs?

Gender issues? Marriage difficulties? No counselling, no workshops, nothing – it’s the early1970’s. Meet Christine and Martin striving to save their marriage: sex games – laughter; talk – tears. Sadly they would have made great friends.

Growing up, Mickey was taught not to ask questions. But now his father has disappeared and only one question remains: where do you go to outrun a cult?

If you want a freaky, fabulous, funny night out!? Come meet QUEER MONSTER! DRAG, CABARET, DRAMA, MUSIC, IMPROV, DRINKS, IRISH DANCE, STUPIDITY….! You’re in for a Queer evening

Weaving movement, voice & creative writing, we explore vulnerability & courage; isolation & togetherness, a presence & an absence, an unpredictability & an unfailing certainty.

takes the audience on the rollercoaster of parenthood seen through the eyes of the youngest member.

a story about drinking, death, falling in love and a missing pacemaker.

Hamlet needs your help to take on the roles of his friends and family and resolve the great questions of life

An Anglo-Welsh atheist explores his Hebrew roots, pondering the nature of Judaism, the definition of anti-semitism, and, of course, his role in the International Jewish Conspiracy.


More to come.

Postcards from the Fringe

FringeReview’s Outstanding Theatre Award Winner from Brighton Fringe 2019 has sent us a postcard from Barnstaple…

Dear Fringe Review,

It’s so wonderful to be back at Fringe Theatrefest in Barnstaple, which doesn’t seem to have changed since we were here with Richard III. It’s still the friendliest fringe out there, with the warmest audiences ever! Literally the warmest. Everything is too hot and we’re melting, send help! Looking forward to seeing a wonderful variety of shows over the next couple of days.

Wishing you all the very best, Emily x

Catch Emily’s show, Hamlet (an experience) at Theatrefest. Details here.

Next is a postcard from Jenny Rowe  (Tiptree: No One Else’s Damn Secret But My Own) and Robert Cohen 





Hello from Barnstaple Fringe! This festival has expanded hugely in the four years we’ve been way. It’s been great fun seeing old friends and meeting new. The taster sessions have been packed with punters ticking off shows they want to see and so many volunteers working their socks off to make this all possible! love from Jen ‘Tiptree’ and Robert ‘Dog’s Chosen‘ x


Some free fringe: John Bassett talks about The Final Journey of Edward Wilson

What’s the lowdown? First performed at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham to commemorate the centenary of Capt Scott’s ill fated mission to the South Pole, this play charts the life of Edward Wilson, explorer and naturalist on Scott’s journeys to the Antarctic. Wilson encounters a mysterious figure as he and his fellow explorers face the end of their journey at the Pole. Cheltenham born Edward Wilson, the naturalist, was also a caring and religious man and the play explores all facets of his character, not only as an enthusiastic man of science and exploration but also a brave one who died at the South Pole.

What is new and different about it?

Performing in the alt space of Bridge Chambers we have stripped back to performance so that it relies very much on the actors performances, the power of the script and not lighting or sound effects. It is a remarkable story of a remarkable man and told in a way which embraces his life memories in a non linear but emotional way.

How have you experimented or taken risks with your work?

We take risks by trying to encourage people to attend theatre performances in unusual spaces. Recently we have worked with the Churches Conservation Trust bringing performances to churches which are no longer in regular use. We work in museums and galleries bringing theatre performances to new audiences who might not go to an actual theatre building.

How did your show come into being?

The Final Journey of Edward Wilson was written to commemorate 100th anniversary of the death of the Cheltenham naturalist and artist at the South Pole in 1912. I was part of a commissioning process at the Everyman Theatre and was successful in receiving the commission. The idea behind the script was to have the mysterious figure who meets Wilson to take him on his final journey. I carried out extensive research and selected which parts of the story indicated his true nature as a caring individual who looked after others on the journey to the pole.

What is your take on the world right now?

The world seems to me to be in a mess. We need more compassion, more caring, less lies and more truths. We need more people who care for their fellow person, who don’t deliberately incite hatred and then lie about the fact that they have done this and who look around them and realise what needs to be done to help their fellow person and the planet.

Why are you bringing your show to the Fringe this year?

I have been to Barnstaple a number of times and it inspired me to set up the Stroud Theatre Festival which runs in September. This particular show is one of my favourite works from our portfolio of performances and I think that Barnstaple audiences will enjoy hearing the largely untold story of Edward Wilson.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

Despite the fact that the Final Journey of Edward Wilson is about a man heading to his death and deals with that subject our rehearsals often contain lots of funny moments and laughs. The two of us in the play have a good working relationship where we bounce off each other and often just fire up new ideas and new ways that we might be able to work within the script.

Who inspires you most, and why?

Anyone who shows compassion and caring to others, who is willing to help them and find new ways to solve difficulties. Also anyone who suffered and worked to change the world.There are a number of people who I have written scripts about who inspire me including Edward Wilson. From the research I found him to be one of the nicest people. He was selfless and caring whilst at the same time being informed and able to work with people.

What can the audience expect?

The audience can expect a performance which is emotional, which highlights a remarkable man’s life and which at the end will leave them with a new understanding of Scott’s journey to the pole and a highly powerful ending.

Listing details: Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company present
The Final Journey of Edward Wilson by John Bassett

Bridge Chambers, Barnstaple, EX31 1HB
Friday June 28th 8.00pm
Saturday June 29th 6.30pm
Sunday June 30th 4.00pm
This is a pay-what-you-will-show.
There are no tickets but there will be a bucket-collection



We are performing a theatre-cabaret adaptation of John Reed’s story of the Russian Revolution, ‘10 Days That Shook The World’ in Barnstaple, Bristol and at Camden Fringe.


Thereby Hangs a Tale Presents 

Thereby Hangs A Tale are a group of Bath and Wiltshire based young actors, musicians and activists aged 17-19 who are touring this musical version of John Reed’s classic account of the Russian Revolution to small venues and Fringe festivals across the country (Bath, Liverpool, Barnstaple, Bristol, Camden) . Part gig, part play, and part all-means-of-production-seizing musical, it mixes protest songs with spoken word, satire, magic tricks and today’s most radical politics with events of a century ago.

Russia 1917 and American writers, John Reed and Louise Bryant find themselves in Petrograd on the eve of a revolution. Join them as they rub shoulders with Trotsky and Lenin, stumble through debates and near-death experiences and discover what they’re willing to sacrifice for their beliefs. Created especially for the 100th anniversary of the book’s publication, this new cabaret-play adaptation is an inspiring story about people power and taking a stand. For anyone whose ever wanted to change the world

Show details:
Barnstaple Theatrefest 27-29 June various times Golden Lion Tap

Full details here.

twitter/instagram: @therebyhangsa
f: www.facebook.com/therebyhangsa

Listing details:
Show: 10 Days That Shook The World by John Reed
Genre: Theatre, cabaret
Company: Thereby Hangs A Tale
Running time: 60 minutes


Cygnet Theatre’s popular Cautionary Tales for the World’s Worst Victorian Children
at  Fringe TheatreFest Barnstaple 27 th -29 th June 2019

After a successful run in Exeter, and approval by local primary school children, Cygnet’s
production of Cautionary Tales directed by Alistair Ganley, will play at Fringe TheatreFest
Barnstaple for four performances at various times over three days of this year’s Festival 27 th –
29 th June. (Details here)

Cygnet Company is inviting brave children & adults to join them for tales of death, doom and
destruction to ensure juvenile propriety and fear!

Before David Walliams launched three volumes of The World’s Worst Children on the world,
there were plenty of naughty children whose stories needed to be told.

Parents told tales to curb bad behaviour and the children listened politely; pondering the
likelihood of the stories being true, while relishing the gruesome death and destruction. Older
children (now Mums & Dads) may remember some of the stories.

Cygnet is a company of young actors from the UK & Europe who work as an ensemble to make
exciting accessible theatre at our base in Exeter and on tour.

Join Cygnet Company for 50 minutes of ghoulish yet funny and playful physical storytelling.
Age 8+

Venue: Queen’s Theatre Barnstaple 27 th June 5.30pm 28 th June 7.00pm 29 th June 4.30pm &
Pay what you will. There are no tickets but there will be a bucket collection.

Social Media at Theatrefest

Here are some of the top tweeters at Theatrefest…