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The Crack Magazine

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Fringe benefits in Durham

From music to comedy to family shows, this year’s Durham Fringe Festival is packing treats wherever you look, and this year they’re also opening up new venues including the Grade II listed Dunelm House, which will become the festival’s first ever dance hub.

An ancient and beautiful city alive with the best that the performance arts have to offer. That’s Edinburgh each August, but Edinburgh can also be very expensive, very overcrowded, and very much in a different country. Nearer to home, however, is another ancient and beautiful city that is also thrumming with the best that the performance arts have to offer, and it’s not nearly as draining on your bank balance. Durham.

The Durham Fringe took its first bow in 2021, when Festival Director Stephen Cronin and a group of likeminded locals – driven by their love of the performing arts – got together to create something truly amazing in the city. “The dream was always to reflect the experience from Edinburgh, where you go from a brilliant show that you’ve looked forward to for ages, grab a bite to eat, and before you know it, you’re off to see something else that’s extraordinary and unexpected. Our hope for the 2024 festival is that it will inspire, entertain, surprise and allow people to explore something a bit different. Which is where our new dance hub comes in. With the Fringe fast becoming a significant player in Durham’s calendar, we felt the time was right to put a greater emphasis on dance. Performances range from Acroflex Acrobatic Arts (pictured), presenting a fusion of dance and acro, to intergenerational work from choreographer Lizzie Klotz whose piece ‘Abundance’ features performers aged from 15 to 75 years old. We want people to try new things, so we have included work from choreographers who are leaders in their field. For example Rambert-trained artist of age Dora Frankel MA is bringing her international ensemble of dancers and musicians with surrealist dance piece ‘Fragments of Poe’.” The dance stuff, which is running in partnership with regional leaders in the field Dance City, also includes Eliot Smith Dance and is just one part of this year’s festival. Also on the bill will be innovative theatre shows, uproarious comedy, children’s shows, and plenty of live music, too. Check out the website, below, for the full thrilling programme and then fill your boots.

Durham Fringe Festival, Wednesday 24-Sunday 28 July, various venues. Ticket prices remain at £9 (£6 concessions, £20 family ticket). There are also Discover tickets available that give access to three different shows for £20, encouraging audiences to try something new. Full programme, tickets, and other info from: durhamfringe.co.uk

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