New writing and other theatre feature as part of the programme announced for this year’s Guildford Fringe Festival.
Running from 28 June to 28 July, it offers more than 120 shows from comedy and music to plays and musicals, taking place across 12 venues in the Surrey city.
Highlights include Project Geeyouone’s new production, Us, exploring what it is like to live with a disability and how the modern world is both a help and a hindrance. Staged in G Live’s Bellerby Studio, it is devised by the company’s members themselves and told entirely by them, led by creative director Nick White.
Also in the Bellerby Studio will be Tulips, a play about domestic violence devised by Exit, Pursued by Panda, a theatre company that exists to create more opportunities for British East Asian people in the arts.
The studio will also stage Halls: The Musical which follows the journey of eight very different first-year university students in the same halls of residence.
Another new musical at the festival will be High School Shooticle, described as a coming-of-age story for the post-truth age, tackling youth violence and gun laws. It takes place at one of the festival’s main destinations for theatre, The Back Room at The Star Inn.
Other events at The Back Room include Understatement, a night of new writing curated by University of Surrey students which will include work by Guildford School of Acting students. Peppered Wit will preview its new production of The Wasp by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, the writer of West End hit Emilia, while Triple C Theatre Company will travel back to the Victorian music hall with Ghosts in Greasepaint.
The Hoe-ly Trinity at The Back Room tells the stories of three young women in three very different ways, created and performed by three graduates of London drama school Rose Bruford. ChewBoy Productions stops off at The Back Room with their debut play, Euan, as part of a small tour, while Sam Chittenden’s female take on Kafka’s Metamorphosis also pays a visit, featuring Heather-Rose Andrews. Another fringe hit coming to The Back Room will be Coming Home With Me, a girl-powered delve into the world of a night-out using verbatim testimony and “badass dance moves”.
The Back Room will also host new writing by Paul Brooks, Rosie Clarke, Penny Culliford and Paul Kerensa as part of Three Times Tables: An Evening of New Theatre. It has been put together by Kerensa who is a British Comedy Award-winning Guildford-based writer.
At The Guildhall, Adventures of a TripAdvisor Seaside Guest House Keeper is a one-woman show about a woman’s desperation for her B&B to gain TripAdvisor “super host” status, written and performed by Fiona Spreadborough.
Also at The Guildhall, two West End performers – Joanna Kirkland and Olivier Award nominee Elinor Collett – come together in Back To Before for a night of musical theatre, celebrating their long friendship and their roles in top musicals. Another show at The Guildhall will see Thomas Cameron, a Classic Brit Award-nominated tenor, perform A Night at the Musicals. Another set of musical theatre stars, The Barricade Boys, perform their show at G Live as part of their UK tour.
Shows for children include puppet show Kōtuku and the Moon Child at The Guildhall and storyteller Jason Buck’s retelling of the labours of Heracles at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.
At Cobbstar Bar, Matt Pinches – co-founder of Guildford Shakespeare Company – will present A Bard of Ale, an open-air show exploring Shakespeare’s fascination with alcohol through a “conversation” between two of his most boozy characters, Toby Belch and John Falstaff.
Clandon Wood Nature Reserve and Burial Ground is probably the festival’s most unusual venue, hosting two short plays by Jean McConnell, exploring human nature and its foibles and fancies. It is being staged by Creaction Theatre Company which will also present two of Alan Bennett’s one-act plays, A Bed Among the Lentils and Say Something Happened, in the same location.
The Harbour Hotel will be the venue for another fringe circuit favourite The Gin Chronicles, a mystery set in 1947 about a pair of amateur detectives investigating the disappearance of gin magnate Cornelius Juniper. Created by The Misfits of London, it features vintage radio-style performances with live sound effects from a foley artist, plus gin.
Managing director Nick Wyschna, who founded the festival in 2013, said: “Guildford Fringe Festival is becoming known for edgy, exciting and unusual events. We move in to 12 venues in the town, many of which don’t usually present events like the ones we bring to them. It’s exciting using unconventional venues which bring challenges but lots of excitement.”