Camden Fringe returns with more shows than Edinburgh
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By a strange turn of coronavirus fate, this year's Camden Fringe will be bigger than the globally renowned Edinburgh Fringe.
Due to Covid restrictions, the north London festival of performance, theatre and comedy is currently due to host 261 acts, compared to 179 in the Scottish capital - down from the usual 3,500.
Zena Barrie co-founded the Camden fringe with Michelle Flower in 2006 to offer a London-based alternative for performers unable or unwilling to travel north.
She promises there will be something to “blow your mind” in 2021 with famous faces including Joe Thomas of The Inbetweeners, and Sara Barron who has featured on Live At The Apollo. Other events include an outdoor escape room, a one woman show called I Miss Amy Winehouse, as well as a sizeable online offer. And they are still taking applications for the Fringe which runs August 2-29.
"There's definitely a few mentions of Covid, and self isolation," she said. "A lot of people during lockdown have been stuck in their houses writing shows. Covid and furlough have given them the impetus to write when they might not have had time before - perhaps something that's been on their mind for a while."
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Over the years the festival has grown to include theatre, comedy, dance, poetry and mentalism in a range of venues from Aces and Eights in Tufnell Park to The Hen and Chickens and Hope in Islington, to pub theatres ETCETERA, Camden People's Theatre and Upstairs at The Gatehouse in Highgate.
Ever a champion of innovation, one play The Emoji Project is billed as “an intergenerational, participatory anthology of new writing responding to emojis as an ever-evolving, nuanced language”. And online film Judas, takes an edgy, un-PC look at Jesus and his disciples.
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Barrie says they hope to operate at full capacity and strict cleaning measures in place and will make the fringe experience “as safe as possible”.
Having not been awarded the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund nor qualified for the furlough scheme, she added. “We have brought ourselves back from the brink."