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Hastings Fringe

Hastings Fringe

Stables doors open to Hastings Fringe Festival

The Stables Theatre will hold the inaugural Hastings Fringe Festival in September. Hastings Online Times sent reporter Zoya Mathison to meet the founder – actor, writer and director – Heather Alexander to find out more.

It’s a drizzly rainy old day when I meet Heather Alexander in one of the many delicious cafes in St Leonards, ‘Sorry I’m late…. I’ve been filming an ABBA spoof on the beach’ says possibly one of the busiest people I have ever met. Hastings has a wealth of creative people living and working here, Heather Alexander being one of them; she is an actress having appeared in many plays including Noises Off on London’s West End, she runs her own drama school, performs and directs for her own ‘Goddess in the Gutter’ Theatre Company, and now she has branched out to curate five nights of: music, theatre, dance and comedy at The Stables Theatre, it is the first ever Hastings Fringe Festival.

Heather came up with the idea of the Hastings Fringe to create a space in order to try out new works in front of an audience ‘I wanted to direct a piece that I had written to see how it worked so that I could edit and improve it. In my search I came across several writer-directors and performers who were in a similar position and needed a platform to try out various projects,’says Heather. I wonder whether Heather thinks the festival can become a success and Hastings answer to Edinburgh? ‘It has the potential, if it’s supported to grow and become an annual event… I’m hoping it will get established and it will draw more and more talent’.

I ask Heather what her favourite act in the Festival will be, she takes her time to answer and comes out with: ‘Well if we start on Tuesday…’ then proceeds to run her finger through the listings and points out everything. So here we go, a slightly condensed version:

The Festival kicks off on Tuesday 15 September at 6pm sharp, once you’ve been serenaded by music the Gallery and poetry in the bar, the evening then starts to look at local and international film and filmmakers; the film Protection was shot in Hastings on the West Hill and around Rock A Nore. Jail Caesar hails from an idea born 30 years ago and stars Derek Jacobi, Alice Krige and John Kani. The story of a young Julius Caesar had been juxtaposed with the drama of incarceration in the 21st Century. It was filmed in and around prisons with inmates playing many of the characters.

Wednesday 16th promises to be a night of theatre with In Transit which is a short comic piece by Heather Alexander dedicated to her late mother and father and will be shown just after Napoleon and the Fishwives. If that wasn’t enough for the Wednesday night audience, they can also be part of two different radio plays performed on stage in front of microphones.

Thursday 17th brings a night of music and history, from Edith the Fair; a romp through 1066 and Music Hall Milly as she shares her stories from 19th century Hastings. The evening also hosts poetry with performances in The Stables Bar followed by Jim Broadbent’s A Sense of History and fast-paced drama Zero Down in the main auditorium.

Which brings us to the penultimate night – Friday 18th. The evening kicks off with Penny Pepper and her new show Lost In Spaces and is followed by a Comedy Night with a host of comedy talent compered by The Lazy Guru. It is a night that promises to bring laughter and good cheer. What else do you need on a Friday night I ask you?

Kiss Off Saturday 19 September (L-R) Jane Brooman and Heather Alexander Photo © Maxine Simmonds

Kiss Off Saturday 19 September (L-R) Jane Brooman and Heather Alexander Photo © Maxine Simmonds

Finally we come to Saturday 19th, the Festival starts at 2pm with a free Mask Workshop followed by an afternoon celebrating youth performances. A very special evening follows with The Daily Mirror’s very own music critic and local resident Gavin Martin who shares his spoken word pieces inspired by His musical favourites. This is followed by a new one act play: A Day in the Life of a Woman  written by Lisa Harmer and directed by Heather Alexander in which Heather plays one of nine women who all share a harrowing experience. In the interval Miranda Gavin, a performer and raconteur, talks about lost and forgotten women. Next Heather Alexander takes to the stage again, this time in a play written by her and performed with Jane Brooman in the black comedy two-hander Kiss Off.

There is an exciting new addition to this Saturday Night line up with some top comedy acts closing the festival. This line up includes Chris Young and South Coast Comedian of the Year – Joe Foster. This, dear reader, is the tip of the performance iceberg. I already have my idea of what I’d like to see. If you need any more information, check out The Stables website or the Hastings Fringe Facebook page.

Hastings Fringe Festival at Stables Theatre, The Bourne, Hastings TN34 3BD from Tuesday 15 to Saturday 19 September. Admission £5 for members and £8 for non members.

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Posted 13:29 Monday, Aug 24, 2015 In: Performance

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