We have festivals galore, but if we could have one like the Fringe as well...
IT is such an obvious thing to say; what I wouldn’t give for a Yorkshire city to have it’s own version of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Having spent 48 hours – that felt like a month – at the Fringe this week, I can’t tell you the energy, excitement, creativity and masses of money the Fringe brings into that lucky, lucky city every summer.
I pondered this as I travelled back on the train on Wednesday evening, wondering if my eye was going to stop twitching like that, ever, and too tired to sleep.
I had seen more than a dozen shows, interviewed people from eight companies. I’d played tig with strangers in an attic room of C venue and hugged four people in the Gilded Balloon simply because comedian Patrick Monahan had asked me to. I’d cried at the sheer invention of Halifax’s Hot Ice Theatre and applauded the gumption of a Bridlington company of young people in their late teens bringing a show to the festival under their own steam.
If only Yorkshire had a festival where you run around the city from venue to venue, hoping to strike gold and find the show that stays with you forever in the 3,500 being presented, was my last thought as sleep finally came with the rocking of the train.
I woke up with a start when I realised that I clearly was a little festival-crazy.
If only Yorkshire had something like this? Yorkshire does have something like this. It has plenty of things like this.
Emerge, a festival that runs annually in Leeds was back again this year with performances at The Carriageworks, Seven Arts and other venues. There are now comedy festivals in Sheffield, Hull, Harrogate. Scarborough is home to the National Student Drama Festival which draws plenty of students, but also attracts people from the town.
There’s the Ilkley Lit Fest, the Humber Mouth, Off the Shelf in Sheffield, Tramlines in Sheffield. There’s Light Night and the recent Transform festival of new and experimental theatre work at West Yorkshire Playhouse. There’s Harrogate International Festival, there’s... you get the point.
Yes, Edinburgh’s Fringe is an extraordinary place of wonderful creativity. It makes the place absolutely buzz with an energy you can only get when you bring 20,000 artistic people into the city. It would be wonderful if, annually, Yorkshire cities had shows happening in bars and in studios and in rooms above shops over a festival period.
But then, why commit the sin – one of the seven deadly no less – of envying what they have? Why not celebrate what we have, I thought to myself, and started listing just what we do have in Yorkshire. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.
Mind, if we could have a festival like Edinburgh as well...