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Brighton Fringe Launches This Weekend, 5/3-6/1

Brighton Fringe (3 May - 1 June) will open this bank holiday weekend with over 730 events ready to fill 200 venues for four weeks of art and entertainment across the (hopefully) sunny seaside city. Almost one third of events are free and the same amount are suitable for children.

Kicking off the festival will be WINDOW (2 - 7 May), the brand new arts industry showcase supported by Arts Council England. Made up of 20 events, selected by an independent panel, WINDOW will be putting new work to the forefront. Events include Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, two shows from Box Tale Soup, a musical about Doctor Whoand Brighton Fringe Pebble Trust Award-winner Invisible Giant.

Brighton Fringe are also pleased to announce a new and improved Professional Development Programme (PDP) for 2014. The PDP, made up of 17 workshops, will provide opportunities for individuals looking to expand their knowledge and understanding of the arts through skills based training, advice and support. Events will cover topics such as how to tour, how to be a producer (with advice from Brighton Fringe patron Richard Jordan) and how to run a venue at Brighton Fringe. The PDP will also include focus group sessions designed to enable participants to give feedback on Brighton Fringe.

Sarah Clews, Arts Industry Co-ordinator at Brighton Fringe, said: "The Brighton Fringe team are all really excited about the interest in WINDOW that has already been shown by a wide range of Arts Industry Professionals; over 130 are accredited already, both across the UK and internationally. We're also really pleased to be able to offer our participants a wide ranging selection of Professional Development events - hopefully there is something of interest for everyone!"

Many favourite venues will be returning with even larger programmes for 2014. The Warren and their satellite venues will house over 70 shows including Brighton Fringe Emerging Talent Award-winner The Bloody Ballad, beat-boxing star Tom Thum and Dave Funniest Joke of the Edinburgh Fringe 2013 winner Rob Auton.

Brighton Spiegeltent return with a great and varied programme made up of 47 shows across all genres, including internet sensation Cassette Boy, Brighton favourites Copperdollar, Eliza Skelton and Ragroof Tea Dances plus international stars Emma Sarjeant, Knee Deep and Die Roten Punkte.

Fringe stalwarts Komedia are celebrating their 20th anniversary with a selection that includes the irrepressible Red Bastard,Chris Green, EastEnd Cabaret and Alex Horne. Meanwhile, Marlborough Theatre kicks off their LGBT-focused season with a street party celebrating their 220th birthday, filled with award-winning shows such as Away From Home, the premiere of Thief by Liam Rudden and Aunty Ben; an exploration of gender for those aged 7+.

Winner of the Latest Award for Best Venue at Brighton Fringe 2013, The Dukebox Theatre, presents a larger programme than ever before, including puppetry from Stickyback and Barely Human Puppets.

There is a strong focus on World War One, with Music of our Time (MOOT) staging several concerts to commemorate the 100 year anniversary. There will be music from The Post War Orchestra and BBC Young Musician of the year finalist Julian Trevelyan plus a D-Day 70th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Pavilion.

As ever, shows will pop up in strange places. The popular Victorian bathing machines, courtesy of The Nightingale, will be returning on New Road and the Old Steine. They will be housing Host, a new one-on-one relay performance by esteemed playwright Tim Crouch. There will also be two plays in toilets; Flush at The Old Market and The Plays Factory Goes Down the Toilet at Theatre Royal.

There will be a number of site-specific shows such as Montfort's March; a chance to join Montfort's Army in a march over the Downs, The House Project; staged across five floors of a Brighton townhouse and No Weddings but a Funeral at Preston Manor.

Fringe City returns on 3 & 4, 10, 17 and 24 May. The showcase is a great opportunity to experience Brighton Fringe shows for free. Additional highlights this year include the Sir Peter Blake Art Bus (3 May) and fun for all the family at the Family Picnic in Pavilion Gardens on 3 May. Look out for the Circus Skills Workshop from Citroën.

Fringe City is expanding beyond New Road too: there will also be the Brighton Fringe Urban ArtFest presented by artrepublic and Ink_d. The event will see top street artists giving live demonstrations, plus performances from Youth MCs vs Poets, Futsal from Albion in the Community and food from Street Diner. This is one of 230 events that make up this year'sFamily Guide that includes John Hegley's I am a Poetato, Eye Queue Hear by Access All Areas plus the returningFinding Joy, Movin' Melvin Brown, Fanti Acrobats and several B-Fest events.

Julian Caddy, Managing Director of Brighton Fringe, said:

It is encouraging to see the continued confidence in Brighton Fringe being shown by participants and, judging from advance ticket sales, by audiences too. We have come a long way in only a few years and it's our job to consolidate on this development to make a meaningful, long-term difference to the UK arts scene. The future is fringe."

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