Reading Fringe Takes a Pause

After breaking records and going global in its last two years, Reading Fringe Festival will be taking a pause in 2021 as it plans for its tenth anniversary and beyond.

Created in 2012 with the first festival taking place the following year, the July festival has quickly established itself as a fixture in both the Reading cultural calendar and the national fringe festival programme. In particular it has grown rapidly in recent years: 2019’s Fringe saw ticket sales surge by 60% year-on-year, with record attendance of over 5,000 visitors across 10 days, while last year saw Reading Fringe Digital reach more than 13,000 households online, across six continents.

This year the Fringe team has decided that rather than run its usual line-up of some 100 events covering cabaret, children’s, comedy, dance, drama, music, spoken word and more, they will instead take time out to plan its future and explore options that will allow the festival to come back better than ever in 2022.

Fringe director Zsuzsi Lindsay explained: “We are so proud of how far we have come in just eight years, particularly the strong connections we have made with venues, audiences and artists alike in that time. We’re a small team, all of whom work on lots of other projects, so while it will be hard having a Fringe-less summer we are excited that taking this pause will allow us vital planning time to ensure a vibrant long-term future for the festival.”

Fringe producer Steph Weller added: “As anyone who knows us will predict, we are not capable of going completely quiet! Our social media has picked up a real following so we will remain active on there, and are also planning some occasional online activities, following the success of Creative Coffees and The Potting Shed last year.”