A Microfestival by Forest Fringe
Although its appearance on this coming year’s Edinburgh Fringe will be its fourth, 2009 was year zero for the Forest Fringe in many respects. Picked up on by numerous wings of the Scottish and UK press, the organisers’ commitment to new, challenging and free works won them a Herald Angel among other awards. Now the increased exposure has afforded them the opportunity to tour the Forest Fringe brand as a weekend-long ‘microfestival’ to London, Swansea, Bristol and Glasgow.
How do they think it will fare outside its natural environment? ‘That question is what’s really motivated us to do this,’ says Andy Field, co-director of Forest Fringe with Deborah Pearson. ‘The Edinburgh festivals environment is such an interesting place to be presenting work and so embracing of unusual things, so how can we attempt to keep hold of that energy and transplant it to a new location? We’re trying to create a tiny bubble, a microcosm of Forest Fringe, and present it to people over one evening.’
The event runs for two days, he points out, but the same programme will be repeated nightly. Much of what’s on offer will bridge the gap between performance art and installation, with numerous simultaneous pieces forming a coherent whole that can be explored throughout the Arches. The programme includes Tim Etchells’ poster installation, ‘one on one relationship counselling’ from artist Tania El Khoury and Temporary Autonomous Zone’s ‘bizarrely intense five-minute micro-gig, blindfolded’, among other eclectic interventions from Jenna Watt, Charlotte Jarvis and Pearson herself.
‘We were as surprised as anyone else by the buzz that we picked up last year,’ says Field, ‘but we’re really excited about being able to use that for the benefit of the artists that we work with, to get them seen across the country. And beyond theatres, we want to take it to music festival, galleries, warehouse spaces – places where we might find a totally new audience for this work.’
Arches, Glasgow, Fri 16 & Sat 17 Apr