Most accessible Reading Fringe yet

Reading Fringe 2020 begins this week – and the eighth edition of the festival is not only the first to take place entirely online but is also the most accessible yet.

After the launch event on Friday (17 July) at 7pm featuring comedy songs from Jollyboat Pirates and all-female improv with Hell Yeah!, over 35 prerecorded shows – covering cabaret, children’s entertainment, dance, film, music, theatre and much more – will be available to stream from 8.30pm for the duration of Reading Fringe Digital (17-26 July). Then over the next nine days there will be around 30 live events to watch via the Fringe’s website, from garden gigs to solo stand-up.

Over half of the shows will be either live-captioned or have transcripts provided, as Reading Fringe producer Steph Weller explains: “We strive to make each festival more accessible than the last, in terms of programming, venue locations and adapting to our audience and artists’ needs. This time around the challenges of taking the Fringe digital were offset by the opportunities it gives us to reach a broad audience and to work with our artists for greater access. We’re pleased to confirm that this year 60% of our programme is in an accessible format or has accessible provision.”

To watch Reading Fringe Digital audiences simply register at The vast majority of the line-up is free with the option to donate, alongside a few pay-to-view events – in both cases the money donated or ticket income goes direct to the artists involved. Highlights include a series of theatre pieces filmed in 360 degrees, Mischief & Mystery in Moominland, audio drama Natalie Barney’s Last Salon first seen at The Globe, dance piece We on the themes of disability and identity and a virtual club night with Reading’s own Twin Sun.

The show goes on and on online!

Over 60 events remain available to watch on our website until 31 August. Simply register once to access all free shows (please consider buying the artists a cup of coffee via their show pages), with the option to book for our pay-to-view events.

We were thrilled to once again bring you new, exciting and accessible cultural experiences, this time direct to wherever you are and primarily for free. If you are in a position to do so we would love your financial support at this time and ask that you consider donating to the Reading Fringe

And we would really appreciate it if you could spare a few minutes to fill in our Reading Fringe Digital survey!

Shows available to stream include Freud The Musical, The Laurel & Hardy Cabaret, Patricia Gets Ready, as well as music, exhibitions, comedy and panel discussions. As you may have read this week in the Reading Chronicle or Broadway World, the Fringe went global last month, reaching 10,000 households not only around the UK but also in Australia, Asia and across Europe! Notably we had over 400 users in the United States alone.


As we go online as a festival for the first time, Reading Fringe Digital has caught the eye of many media outlets – local, national and international!

In May leading theatre industry magazine The Stage covered our move online thanks to Arts Council England funding, as did Berkshire LiveIndependent Reading and The Henley Standard.

This week saw Reading Fringe Digital picked as an entertainment highlight for MetroBBC South, top comedy website ChortleThey Did I Can Too and even Time Out New York

BBC Berkshire dedicated the 17 July morning show to a Reading Fringe special with several artists featured as guests. Broadway World & the Reading Chronicle reported on our most accessible festival yet, with over half of shows being captioned and the majority available free.