Fringe festival includes buskers

The CEO of the Cape Town Fringe Festival, Tony Lankester, speaks at the media briefing held at Alexander Bar in Strand Street.

The annual Cape Town Fringe Festival is back at the City Hall for the fourth time, and this year, the organisers have added an extra week to the event to allow for more participation, and have added a brand new event to the programme – the Cape Town Buskers Festival.

They have also changed the programme, which usually runs during the day, to evenings, “to make it last longer”.

The Cape Town Fringe Festival, which is an extension of the Grahamstown Arts Festival and managed by the National Arts Festival, is one of the biggest art and theatre events to run in the city centre. The Fringe is supported by the City of Cape Town, which is the host sponsor for the event.

This year, the festival will run from Thursday September 22 until Saturday October 8.

“The programme will run into the school holidays so that children can also participate in the festival,” said Tony Lankester, the chief executive officer of the Fringe Fest.

Speaking at a media briefing held at Alexander Bar in Strand Street on Wednesday August 17, Mr Lankester said the event will be run in the City Hall, but they will expand their footprint and try to run workshops and events in communities as well.

Rob Murray, this year’s festival director, said Cape Town is very passionate about theatre.

“We wanted this year’s Fringe to identify with the City, so we have a fresh new wave of artists joining us this year.”

He said the Fringe Festival is a platform for new artists to showcase their work.

“The content is 60 percent local content, and is predominantly theatre.

“We are hoping it will tap into the hip Cape Town crowd, and hopefully younger people.”

One of the highlights of the festival is the premiere screening of the documentary, Disrupt, a student film by Rhodes University’s Art Department based on the recent protests against rape and sexual assaults at universities.

But the major highlight is the introduction of the Busker’s Festival presented as a partnership between the Fringe Festival and the V&A Waterfront.

The Buskers Festival will be running for the last few days of the Fringe Festival – from Thursday October 6 until Sunday October 9 – and will showcase international buskers who will perform alongside their local counterparts. Mr Lankester said he was excited about the Buskers Festival and the partnership with the V&A Waterfront.

“South Africa does not have a strong busker culture like other parts of the world. There is no platform for our buskers, so hopefully this is a start for our buskers to be taken seriously and for them to showcase their skills.”

Another highlight is the premiere of a musical performance based on the famous children’s story, The Gruffalo.

Mr Lankester said they had recently bought the rights to the play, which would feature an all-Grahamstown cast.

“We are very excited about this, and it will be premiered at the Fringe.

“Sooner or later we would like to make a Xhosa version of the musical and make it South African,” he said.

The Fringe Festival will run at the City Hall from Thursday September 22 until Saturday October 8, and the Buskers Festival will be at the V&A Waterfront from Thursday October 6 until Sunday October 9.

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