We said we’d update everyone on our plans around the end of April: and here we are, and we don’t know an awful lot more now than we did then.
Whereas a month ago it didn’t sound altogether implausible for us to run a programme on our usual dates, it’s really not looking like that now.
• Most venues that we have talked to now see their re-opening dates weeks if not months on from the end of May, and that’s being optimistic.
• Fringe shows are early in the season and often fresh from devising and intensive rehearsal: with lockdown this work has simply been impossible to do. People have been doing amazing things over video-call apps, but there’s a certain point beyond which artforms that are about live performance can’t be prepared in isolation. Even a solo show work-in-progress needs to try out in front of colleagues before we the public get to see it. There is a strong likelihood that many of the shows we were all preparing to present simply won’t happen at all this year.
• Given all the disparate organisations, venues and artists involved, trying to get them all grouped again in a similar time period isn’t going to be possible without making an already complicated and precarious situation for the artists even more so.
• We have decided to refund programme fees that we had been paid for the 2020 festival. It’s only a little bit, but for artists who are literally struggling at the moment, every little helps.
OK that’s the bad news (hardly unexpected) – now for what we are doing
• When a show or a tour that would have been part of Bath Fringe 2020 comes to the city later in the year we will use our various online channels to tell you about them and urge you to support them just as we will be doing.
• We are looking at how to present Bedlam Fair & other outdoor artists in the city at some point over the summer, and at present our intention is to do this as quickly as practicable after lockdown procedures have been relaxed (as the work will still need the final stages of preparation this will not be immediate).
It is the part of our programming that does not actually involve getting people to crowd together in one indoor space: we should be able to put arts outdoors before indoor entertainment venues are even able to open – but all of this depends on regulations and good practice that are still being worked out, and changing as we go.
We might run over a single weekend or more than one, maybe in association with another city event. We will be utterly sure that all the good advice says that what we are planning is possible and advisable – we care about our artists and our audiences. We will not be drawn into any argument that claims that the country should be ‘open’ before it is safe to do so – but when it is open we want there to be art as well as shops open out there.
• We’re not going to be running an online performance Fringe, it’s not what we are about (and lots of other people are making you videos), but during what would have been the Fringe fortnight we will be celebrating Bath artists from our archive, recent and longer ago. You’ll be hearing more from us about that.
FAB – Visual Arts of course work well online (even if that’s not all of what they do, and no video screen yet does colours and texture like paint, etc.). Fringe Arts Bath visual arts fringe will be online soon!
Now read on…
Fringe Arts Bath festival is going virtual for 2020
Fri 22 May to Sun 7 June, free
Tune in to www.fringeartsbath.co.uk and @fringeartsbath on social media channels for live performances, online galleries, interviews, some surprises and look out for ways to take part. FaB’s mix of early-career Curators and Visual Artists are treating the festival as more of a test-bed for new ideas than ever before, filling our web spaces with the unexpected, tackling new formats, bringing it all to your front room.
For occasional updates join FaB’s mailing list here: www.fringeartsbath.co.uk/join-our-mailing-list
FaB Photomarathon 2020 special edition
Sat 2 May, 11am to 4pm, free
The mostly not going out (staying at home) Photomarathon: 10 photos, 10 themes set by the likes of Rankin, the Martin Parr Foundation and Heather Agyepong, a new theme will be released every 30min via social media @fringeartsbath or email. See full info: www.facebook.com/events/231855254566440
As Fringe 2020 events won’t necessarily be happening close together in time we think it’s not useful to publish a programme brochure for 2020 (especially galling when we had one of the best cover designs in ages – we’ll be using that somehow). We will likely be producing something altogether smaller to tell you about our outdoor arts events when we have a date for that (so not for some time yet). Pick it up when you see one!
This website and our facebook/twitter/instagram feeds will tell you about what’s happening when we know.