Reading Fringe Festival has committed to retaining a digital dimension going forward, after its first-ever online festival reached 10,000 households – with most events available to stream for another month.
Reading Fringe Digital, which offered over 70 shows across 10 days in July, built on its strong local following by attracting the attention of audiences and media across the country and internationally. After the record-breaking 2019 event saw attendance surge by 60% to 5,000 at venues across Reading, the online-only 2020 programme extended its reach even further, to over 10,000 households.
Domestically Reading, London, Bristol and Wokingham were the hotspots, while globally there were viewers in Australia, Asia, across Europe and, most notably, over 400 users in the United States. In addition to local media outlets the Fringe received coverage for the first time in Metro, The Stage and Time Out New York.
Fringe director Zsuzsi Lindsay commented: “To reach 10,000 households exceeded our expectations and we are so thrilled that the innovation and enthusiasm of our artists, partners and team was matched by audience interest. We are particularly delighted to have made this our most accessible festival yet, with the majority of shows free to watch – thanks to the support of Arts Council England and National Lottery ticket-buyers – and over half of them captioned. It is an uncertain time for our industry this has been incredibly encouraging, but whatever form the Fringe takes in the future there will definitely be a digital element.”
Over 60 events – covering comedy, dance, music, photography, spoken word, theatre and more – will remain viewable on readingfringefestival.co.uk until 31 August.