Creative endeavour

The Tunbridge Wells Fringe Festival is back. SO Magazine discovers what’s on the varied bill for 2023…


An event based on Edinburgh’s famous Fringe Festival has returned to Tunbridge Wells for the third year in a row.

Running until July 16, the Tunbridge Wells Fringe Festival is modelled on the world-famous Scottish capital’s arts festival, and boasts lots of fun events suitable for all different ages across a number of local venues.

These include Trinity Theatre, The Spa Hotel and Britten’s Music, and there will be a mixture of free and fee-paying attractions.

“The town will see a buzzing programme of events taking place day and night until July 16 with local support from The Hive, RTW Together, TN Card and the Langton Green Village Society,” a spokesperson for the festival told SO Magazine.

The TW Fringe Festival is the brainchild of Debbie King, Founder of the Talentz Musical Theatre Company, along with fellow organisers Nell Price of Arty Farty, Grace Simpson of Goupie and local performance artist, Aimee Cooper.

At their recent launch at the Grosvenor & Hilbert Park Hub Debbie commented: “TW Fringe is an exciting collection of events featuring over 200 acts made up of hundreds of local and national artists. It offers a host of performances across the arts, performing in over 46 venues in Tunbridge Wells.”

Having started on July 1, the event still promises a smorgasbord of comedy, dance, spoken word, children’s entertainment and live music.

“There really is something for everybody. There’s even a silent disco making its way around the town,” adds Debbie.

TW Fringe is also supporting two very special local charities: Taylor Made Dreams, which grants bucket-list wishes and offers holistic support to children with life-limiting illnesses in Kent and Sussex; and Fegans, which provides counselling to children and support to parents.

Some of the events this year are free to attend, some request a donation and others are ticketed.

A whole range of venues from traditional theatres to pubs, hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars, in addition to more quirky settings and outdoor locations will take part under the banner of TW Fringe.

Fellow co-organiser Nell Price added: “The idea is that everyone will benefit from the Tunbridge Wells Fringe Festival – local businesses will gain from increased footfall in the area.

“We have some brilliant award-winning acts who are touring the world fringe circuit and we can’t wait to bring them to your doorstep! Along with the local artists who can express their talents, audiences will once again get to enjoy a complete range of performances, rediscover local venues and maybe explore somewhere new.”

Grace Simpson from Goupie is also involved with organising the festival for this year. She told SO Magazine that the TW Fringe is all about community.

“It’s about that through and through and we’re so excited to be in our third, and biggest, year yet! The whole idea behind our event is to celebrate as many different venues and creatives that we can in two weeks. Everyone is welcome and there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. It’s the perfect way to support our local community.”

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