Colchester hosts the town's first Fringe Festival

José Pedro Fortuna who will be performing at the first Colchester Fringe Festival from October 21-24

José Pedro Fortuna who will be performing at the first Colchester Fringe Festival from October 21-24 - Credit: José Pedro Fortuna

Colchester becomes one big party venue when it hosts its first fringe festival next week with events being staged right across the town.

Tickets are now on-sale for the first ever Colchester Fringe Festival which takes place at the Headgate Theatre, Coda, The Bull (Soundhouse), Best Days Vintage, Culver Square, Lion Walk from Thursday, October 21 to Sunday, October 24, 2021.

The four-day festival takes place in a host of different venues such as theatres, pubs, bars and shops all within walking distance of each other in the town centre.

The programme features theatre, comedy, drag, dance and family-friendly performances.

There will be 23 shows in total each performing up to three times over the four days.


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The programme is proud to feature homegrown talent with over half of the performers are from Essex. A number of national and international acts complete the bill.

Shar Cooterie who will be performing at the first Colchester Fringe Festival from October 21-24

Shar Cooterie who will be performing at the first Colchester Fringe Festival from October 21-24 - Credit: Joe Allen, Shoot Me Club

Some of the highlights of the programme include one of Colchester's leading drag performers Shar Cooterie who will be running her own Drag Bingo night at The Headgate Theatre.

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If drunken knife throwing, mind-blowing mind-reading and life-threatening tricks are your thing then the show Friendzy, brought to you by comedy magicians The Underdogs at The Bull (Soundhouse), will be for you.

There are also lots of options for the whole family including turbo-charged, chaotic award-winning comedy magic by SESKA or Chasing Fairytales: Japan who tell their unique stories through masks and puppets.

Alongside the festival, the Colchester Young Fringers skills development programme will work with 20 young people from 6-18 helping them learn and develop skills in reviewing, performing, stage photography and more. It has been supported by Arts Council England.

Colchester Fringe is an independent venture co-directed by Colchester-based producers Cameron Abbott-Betts and Steve Goatman. 

Cameron said:  “I am so excited to be showcasing such talent in my hometown. We have managed to attract top acts from all over the U.K and even as far as Italy and Portugal. We are hoping to create a real festive, fun atmosphere within that town over the four days and we believe that there is something for everyone within our programme”.

The shows last no more than 60 mins and tickets are £7. You can buy tickets online now by going to the website

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