Hastings Fringe 2019 offers a daring programme of art and performance

Flo Vortex ' Natalie Stewart
Flo Vortex ' Natalie Stewart

Hastings’ biggest and most inclusive arts festival, Hastings Fringe, returns for a fifth year this summer.

Flaunting its spirit of defiance with a daring programme of theatre and performance, events take place from July 11 to August 11 at various venues across the town.

A spokesperson said: “Featuring work by genre-bending ‘Naked Punk’ Penny Pepper, poetry for the mind and soul with ​Flo Vortex and even more new theatre, music, film, dance and performance, 2019’s Fringe Festival programme is a vigorous shakedown of stereotypical storytelling, shot straight from the hip of talented artists in 1066 Country.

“The programme kicks off with a huge Launch Party at The Printworks​ on Thursday, July 11. The party features tasters of what’s to come and in true Hastings Fringe style it is open to everyone and free to all.”

Festival director Heather Alexander said: “It’s literally unbelievable how the most exciting venues in Hastings have been willing to support the raw creative power of our arts community, allowing artists to explore and, in turn, encouraging audiences to experience self-discovery and healing. Fringe is like looking into Hastings’ soul, right down to our deepest, grittiest depths and beyond our proud exterior. I urge anyone who hasn’t had this magical experience to give it a try. Just think of what you might learn about yourself.”

Established in 2015, Hastings Fringe has provided a platform for artists who may not otherwise be seen or heard because of basic challenges like getting a venue, financial issues, or having the right connections. Since then it has provided a safe space for exploration and development for artists across 258 acts, with Hastings Film Fringe​ adding many more filmmakers to that list.

Visit hastingsfringe.co.uk to find out more.

Free festival highlights

Festival launch party, The Printworks, July 11: Join Hastings Fringe Festival 2019 for a launch of massive proportions. There will be live performances with donations to the cancer support charity Sara Lee Trust.

Flo Vortex at The Printworks, July 27, 7.30pm, £5: A unique opportunity to experience the kinetic vibes of London’s most original and influential spoken word event. Hosted by Hastings-based International artist Natalie ‘The Floacist’ Stewart plus a vast selection from​ the FLO Vortex’ community of poets, including Luke AG.

Penny Pepper in Naked Punk – Raw and Uncovered, The Stables Theatre and Arts Centre​, August 10, 7pm, £8/£10: The queen of eloquent activism, Penny Pepper, presents a memoir of her own ‘raw beginning’ and the process of self-discovery that lit a fire under her passion for social justice and equality. The evening also features poet Andrew Graves.

Hastings Film Fringe presents The Firefighter, The Printworks, August 4, 7pm, £5: Roy Khalil’s short film centres around a moving poem written by young Firefighter Ricky Nuttall as he tried to come to terms with his experience with the Grenfell Tower fire.

Hastings cinema listings, Friday, June 28, to Thursday, July 4. Click here to read more.