We have fes­ti­vals galore, but if we could have one like the Fringe as well...

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - STAGE - NICK AHAD

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...

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