There’s no doubt about it: Ventnor Fringe Festival is an Island institution. Home to artists, local and grockle and beyond, with a desire to share their creativity with like-minded performers and eager audiences. Coffee shops, churches, streets, observatories, woodland clearings, schools, libraries…the venues are numerous, the programmes delightfully diverse.
Here at IW Theatre, we have taken it upon ourselves to cover every single theatre show that VFringe 2017 has to offer; that’s right, every single show. Our reviewers will be out in force, waiting in the wings with their pens poised to deliver their verdicts on this years offerings.
But first things first, what inspired the Ventnor Fringe in the first place? Why is it so important to the Island? And what role does theatre play in its success?
We caught up with Jack Whitewood, one of the festival’s founders, to find out…
“We were all about 18 when we started the Ventnor Fringe, so we were very young,” he says. “We were inspired by the local festival scene at the time, things like the Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival, but also by the Edinburgh Fringe movement…it was never about having a party, it was about creating and celebrating new work.”
“Sometimes festivals can be intrinsically linked to music,” he continues. “It can feel like an afterthought. But not for us – there is as much theatre as there is music at the festival. It’s an integral part of Ventnor Fringe.”
As for its place on the Island, and what it brings to the community, the list is extensive, and one the whole VFringe team should be proud of.
“It’s unique,” says Jack. “It creates a community and an environment for showcasing new work, and it’s led to collaborations between artists who might never have met if it weren’t for Fringe. It’s also led to the Ventnor Exchange, which is now a year-round venue, and it’s led to a lot of regeneration work in Ventnor, too…it’s become really deep-rooted in the town, and that’s amazing.”
You can find more information about Ventnor Fringe, including what’s on, where and how to buy tickets, by visiting their website.