THE FIRST EDITION WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS SINCE 2019 SHOWS STRONG SIGNS OF RECOVERY FOR THE SECTOR, BUT CHALLENGES REMAIN | Brighton Fringe

THE FIRST EDITION WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS SINCE 2019 SHOWS STRONG SIGNS OF RECOVERY FOR THE SECTOR, BUT CHALLENGES REMAIN

BRIGHTON FRINGE 2022
Sassy 2.0 by Tony Hammond

In the year that Brighton Fringe invited audiences to ‘Stay Curious’, Fringe-goers flooded venues across Brighton, Hove and beyond. Over four weeks and five weekends, 150,000 tickets were sold to show-stopping circus, laugh-out-loud comedy, heart-wrenching theatre, unconventional cabaret and much more besides. Including free and non-ticketed events, overall attendances were over 370,000 people, both in person and online. 

The largest arts festival in England, this year Brighton Fringe held over 700 events: 726 in person and 44 digital, which materialised into over 4,000 performances for audiences in Brighton & Hove and those comfy at home.  Events took place at 125 venues across the city and the wider Sussex area, hosting the most weird, wild and wonderful shows from Brighton, the UK and around the globe.

Brighton Fringe’s average ticket price remained relatively affordable at £9.43 per ticket and the festival also saw an expanding programme of free events, as well as more and more events opting for Name Your Price ticketing in the wake of the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills.

Brighton Fringe CEO Julian Caddy comments “Less than six months ago, as we were slowly emerging from the Omicron wave of Covid, it was difficult to imagine what the festival would be like this year.  Plans have had to be changed, delayed and budgets constantly increasing due to inflation, supply chain difficulties and the growing costs of raw materials. Staffing also remains a challenge as many people have left the industry during the pandemic.  Nevertheless, we have managed to not only run a festival, but have vastly exceeded all expectations in terms of audience attendances and ticket sales. I would like to pay tribute to all participants, venues, staff, volunteers, funders and other partners for their hard work in the face of so many challenges. Also huge thanks to our audiences for coming out in such great numbers - without you, none of this would be possible!”

Fringe City, the free outdoor showcase, returned to New Road for 2022 every weekend throughout the festival, with tens of thousands of people enjoying snippets of Brighton Fringe events on the stage, enjoying drinks from Orange Beach bars pop-up bar and food from a variety of street food traders. The Fringe Family Picnic proved as popular as ever, hosted twice in the Royal Pavilion Gardens during the festival, with thousands of families enjoying free entertainment including Storytelling with Living Paintings with readings from CBeebies presenter Chris Jarvis and Giraffes Can’t Dance illustrator Guy Parker-Rees, performances by Mr Pineapplehead and music from John Hinton’s Ensonglepedia.

Celebrating the success of the artists and venues who made Brighton Fringe possible, we announced our award-winners during our 2022 Brighton Fringe awards ceremony on Sunday. Brighton Fringe CEO, Julian Caddy, opened the ceremony with a tribute to Fringe-favourite Lynn Ruth Miller who recently passed away, before awarding more than twenty awards to stand-out events and venues of the 2022 season. Winners included Betsy: Wisdom of a Brighton Whore who took home The Brighton International Fringe Encore Award, which secures them the chance to perform their show at SoHo Playhouse in New York City, and Airswimming who were awarded the Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre award.

My Heart is a Spark took home the Audience Choice award for best event whilst the Audience Choice best venue award went to The Under Sea Diner, as voted for by the public. Two Outstanding Contribution awards were given to The Pebble Trust and Brighton Spiegeltent for their continued work to elevate Brighton Fringe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The final award of the evening, The Spirit of Brighton Fringe award, was given to Tony and Shirley Jaffe who have run The Old Courtroom venue and performed as part of Brighton Fringe for many years.

Brighton Fringe embraces a multitude of art forms and artistry in our vast and quirky programme. We are an open-access arts festival prides itself on welcoming established and emerging artists, and supporting those taking their first steps with a variety of bursaries. We offer much-loved returning acts alongside exciting newcomers with comedy, theatre, circus, exhibitions, magic, dance, children’s shows and much, much more.

Brighton Fringe aspires to be bigger and better than ever before in 2023, help us do so by completing the audience feedback survey here and be in with a chance of winning a Friends of Fringe membership, a case of wine or prizes from their friends at Uber Eats, The Cleveland Arms and Lime Squeezy.

Brighton Fringe, England’s largest arts festival, will return in May 2023.