Wandsworth Arts Fringe Celebrates 15th Anniversary This Summer

The festival will run from 7th – 23rd June 2024.

By: Apr. 24, 2024
Wandsworth Arts Fringe Celebrates 15th Anniversary This Summer
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Wandsworth Arts Fringe is celebrating its 15th birthday!  From 7th – 23rd June 2024, leap into a world of brand-new theatre, experimental dance and music, works-in-progress from the next big names in comedy, and nights of cabaret. With over 130 events taking place across more than 40 venues ranging from parks, streets, churches, estates, libraries, pubs and dedicated venues, WAF presents bold conversations from exciting artists and creative risk-takers as it gears up for London Borough of Culture 2025.

Whether you’re a festival fan, a family, or just looking for something fun to do near you, WAF has something for everyone, with 17 brilliant days and nights of performances, exhibitions and things to do happening all over the borough. We have rounded-up a selection of highlights from the festival to give you a taste of what’s to come this summer. 

Check out the exhilarating cabaret programme, starting with Burlesque Brunch (8th June) and an afternoon of decadence, laughter and undeniable charm where you can indulge in a delectable brunch and let the enchanting world of Lulu's Black Market burlesque unfold!  CaBiRet celebrates bisexuality in music, comedy, performances and magic in A Night Of The Bisexual Variety (13th June).  A variety cabaret celebrating trans men, trans masc and butch non-binary performers, Boyz Night (15th June) brings you genderbending comedy, drag, poetry and more!  Ever felt like life isn’t all it’s quacked up to be?  Join Ada Campe for a flight of fancy, a deep dive into some serious silliness, and a show about hope, heartbreak and finding your happy place in Big Duck Energy (16th June).  Wandsworth Arts Fringe's Audience Choice Award for Best Event 2023, Furzedown Pridestravaganza! (14th June) returns for a second year of drag, queer comedy and some amazing anthem music. 

The comedy programme offers the chance to check out incredible new shows as well as work-in-progress (WIP) from some of comedy’s biggest names.  Harriet Kemsley and Ania Magliano (10th June), two of the comedy industry’s biggest hitters, collide with work-in-progress shows that’ll blow your socks off.  Taskmaster's Sophie Duker and Live at the Apollo's Celya AB bring their brand newest shows (WIP) and put them right in front of your eyes (11th June).  Come along to the Objectively Funny all-dayer (WIP) on 23rd June where you can watch a day of previews from some of the best in the biz, namely Alex Franklin, Kiran Saggu, Rosalie Minnitt, and Lorna Rose Treen put together by 'the art form's cutting edge' (the Guardian), Objectively Funny.  Amused Moose Best Debut Show winner Louise Atkinson revisits the feedback she received – ‘sounds good, looks a mess’ – and discusses our prejudices in a new work-in-progress comedy hour (12th June).  After a childhood game put his sister in hospital 30 years ago, Phil Green tries to figure out how to process Guilt (12th June).  When you can’t even look after a house plant how do you manage a new job, new experiences and learning to swim? – intrepid comedian Fitzgerald Honger considers this in WIP What Else Is New? (13th June).  A split bill of up-and-coming comedians, Ibs Sesay, three-time Max Turner Prize finalist and winner of Black Out, and Wes Dafoe, winner of the 2024 Max Turner Prize present Black to Black (16th June).

Prepare to laugh the night away throughout June, as our comedy acts pull out all the stops to have you crying tears of joy.  Perverse Verse (13th June) is a night of spectacular poetry, comedy and spoken word from the U.K. circuit’s most indescribable acts.  Big old queer comedian Kate Martin rampages through tales of mistaken identity, being a double school dropout, and bravely embracing being the only northerner in her family in WIP The Lezurrection (15th June).  Welsh stand-up Vix Leyton delves into the human psyche, exploring the notion of people pleasing in Antihero (16th June).  In WIP A Messiah Comes (16th June), Funny Women Award winner Kate Cheka gives us her thoughtful, sometimes filthy observations on all the big issues like sex, capitalism and (pop) culture.  Jennifer Ives returns with a work-in-progress of her new stand-up comedy hour Doll (16th June) – a show about being a cheeky little unreliable b*tch.  An hour of fearless stand-up comedy from James Barr, Sorry I Hurt Your Son (16th June) is a preview with outrageous punchlines and unapologetic storytelling as James heals from an abusive relationship.

Wandsworth is set to transform, as the theatre and dance programme offers an incredible array of shows.  An immersive adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakesqueer set a Midsummer Night's Rave (8th – 9th June) to some of the most iconic dance music of all time.  Buskers Inc. present The Apprentice (9th June) – how far would you go for a second chance at life, and what if it took a quiz show to get it right?  GroundDodds Day (11th – 12th June) from Dylan Dodds is a show about the dangers of obsession.  Gender-fluid Spoken Word artist Alice d'Lumiere combines verse, comedy and some actual opera in The Trans Lady Sings (15th and 22nd June).  Unexpected, Unexplained & Totally Glitchy (18th – 19th June) is a dark comedy about Functional Neurological Disorder with unexplained sensations, involuntary movements and sporadic song.  Narin Özenci is on a quest for freedom in The Wild Woman (18th – 19th June).

Lung and a Half Full Theatre present Tales for an Unruly Audience (18th June), a spectacular evening of myth, mirth and magic, inspired by bardic tradition.  Migrants from Ukraine and Afghanistan dissect what life is like after the big event has happened, and life must continue in Still Here (21st – 23rd June).  Through the Bounds of Masculinity Comes the Universe (8th June) uses dance to show the struggle to make yourself understood.  Watch a choreographic and musical experimentation on the system of ‘change ringing’ for church bells in A Mirror is Not a Mirror (15th June).  On Being Vocal (16th June) is a one-woman, a cappella, micro-opera performed by Canadian experimental soprano Sarah Parkin, opening up about hidden and taboo feelings: guilt, anger and vulnerability.  A Piece of Mind (22nd June) is an inclusive, immersive dance piece that imagines The Weeping Woman from Picasso's painting.  Echo (23rd June) explores the journey of a young woman as she grows through experiences which vibrate through her life with poetry, music and movement. 

Historic women are taking centre stage at this year’s Fringe.   Most Notorious: A New Musical (9th – 12th June) celebrates the lives of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, female pirates in the Caribbean of the early 1700s.  In 13th century Milan, two women challenge the world order, announcing a new female-led era; find out what could possibly go wrong in The Popess: Instructions for Freedom (15th – 16th June).  Engelchen (22nd June) is a multimedia production inspired by the heroic lives of local residents Ida and Louise Cook, who used their love of music to help 29 Jews escape Nazi Germany.  A woman’s fascination with the lives and works of feminist authors Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley leads her to re-examine love, loss, and friendship in her own life in Pen Marks (15th and 21st June).

Go on adventures, make art and find a moment of calm with Wandsworth Arts Fringe’s programme of workshops and special events.  Stroll from Battersea Power Station to 575 Wandsworth Road to discover Khadambi Asalache's vibrant home; immerse yourself in storytelling and unleash your artistic potential in their workshop Home is Where the Art is (12th and 15th June).  Echoes of Identity: Unravelling the Stories Within (11th, 13th, 18th and 20th June) allows you to explore the richness of your name and the essence of your identity with this culturally sensitive drama workshop.  Serene Sounds: A Classical Sound Bath Experience (14th June) is an immersive evening of classical music and soothing sounds, inspired by meditative gong baths.  Virtual Reality headsets take us inside Lytisha Tunbridge’s imagination in A Journey Inside Virtual Reality Poetry Experience (14th – 15th June) to deliver a one-to-one poetic experience every 15 minutes.  Arts of Sanctuary (21st – 22nd June) is a multi-sensorial event involving installations, visual art, talks, storytelling, music, film and the Golden Tent, a place for meditation and reflection.

The Fringe is a celebration of all art forms.  The visual art programme brings together an incredible array of media from crafts to sculpture to emerging showcases.  Visit WIP Space Studios to see an exhibition from Halina Edwards (7th – 21st June) whose creative practice is informed by cultural research engaged with tradition and memory, exploring craft traditions and textiles.  At St Mary’s Church (7th – 21st June), The Everyperson light sculpture reflects medieval pilgrimage traditions and all visitors receive a token confirming their visit.  A collection of modern tarot card artwork featuring people and places from Wandsworth will be on display at Battersea Library in The Tarot of Southwest London (7th – 22nd June).  The Sprout Summer Showcase (7th – 23rd June) features work by 30+ artist members, from emerging artists showing with Sprout for the first time this year, to more established and recognisable names.  Addicts And Those Who Love Them (11th – 22nd June) presents portraits of those in addiction, out of addiction, those caught up in the crazy, lonely, frightening world of living with an addict and those working with addicts to try and help.

And that’s not all.  There’s film too!  Full(y) English (19th June) considers what it means to be migrant-British, in the context of the Great British Caff.  Created by Autistic and non-Autistic musicians of all ages, and filmed in surprising places, Sound Symphony from Oily Cart (various dates) celebrates making music your own way.  An immersive ecological experience from filmmaker Hing Tsang and puppeteer Jose Navarro, Amazon Visions (21st and 23rd June) features the music of Nick Acorne.

Live music brings us sounds and song from across the world.  The Alchemy of Heritage: An Afrological Sound Art Experience (7th – 9th June) sees composer Marisse Cato collaborate with 575 Wandsworth Road for a multi-genre, spatialised sound exhibition, inspired by the Afro-diasporic heritage of Khadambi Asalache’s home.  The beautiful church of St Mary's Battersea will play host to the exciting and fun-filled Battersea Jazz Festival Fundraiser (14th June).  Award-winning concert pianist and inventor Larkhall takes us on a virtuoso multi-sensory journey in Piano of the Future (22nd June), combining compositions with live-generated reactive visuals.  Wandsworth Street Concerts (12th and 19th June) returns for free classical music concerts in St Anne's Churchyard.  Planet Harmony Festival (14th June) is a youth-led music festival exploring the themes of social, racial and climate justice.  Jonny Kerry Live at The Bedford (19th June) sees original compositions from this emerging singer-songwriter as he captivates audiences with his smooth vocals and virtuoso piano playing.  Influenced by The Beatles, Joy Division, The Cure and Arctic Monkeys, Bristol/London Indie post-punk band Lovepet Horror are live at The Half Moon (20th June).  And throughout the festival, All Saints Tooting host another brilliant line-up of music, featuring Jazz Classical fusion from Fuzion Four, Latin, Jazz and Blues from Senior Street Sextet and a community choral concert. 

There’s fun to be had for all the family.  With puppetry, music and aliens, embark on a journey through space, exploring what makes us happy and how we spread the joy to those around us in Spreading the Joy (various dates and venues).  Treasure Island: A Musical Advench-Arrr (22nd – 23rd June) follows young Jim as he finds a treasure map to a mysterious island.  On The Clouds Kids Yoga offers free creative yoga experiences for children, young people and families.  

There are plenty of free activities for everyone to indulge in.  OFFIE-nominated puppet show, Anansi & the Lost Sun (16th June) celebrates African-Caribbean culture with tea, cake and a puppet-making workshop for elders and young families.  Join Brainfools for a day of circus (23rd June) with high-flying acrobats, skilled jugglers and interactive circus taster sessions for all ages.  Hazelfest (23rd June) is a free community open-air festival with arts, crafts, music, food and entertainment for all the family.  Try out taster dance workshops, arts and crafts and a showcase of dance performances from Wandsworth dancers at the Royal Academy of Dance Community Dance Day (23rd June).

Wandsworth’s 2025 London Borough of Culture programme will deliver a year to remember – using the power of culture to transform lives, spark joy, connect people and improve wellbeing, supercharging an already vibrant, diverse cultural scene.  Wandsworth Arts Fringe is the borough’s flagship arts event, transforming Wandsworth into a creative playground every summer, nurturing local artists and offering a testing ground for established creatives to try out new ideas. 


 




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