Cumbria Crack

Step Out of The Ordinary and into The Carlisle Fringe

L-R: Amy Petricca-Lear, Seb Coombe and Grace Ryder get excited about the Carlisle Fringe programme (Photo credit: Stuart Walker)

[T]oday one of the UK’s friendliest cities unveiled the third edition of one of the UK’s fastest growing cultural festivals, Carlisle Fringe, which takes place from 24th August to 2nd September.

Placing community and artistic collaboration at its core, Carlisle Fringe is centred around the historic city and its people. The jam-packed programme is a reflection and celebration of the city, showcasing the hugely creative local talent alongside national work, harnessed and embraced by the collaborative spirit and passion for cultural creativity over ten days and nights of cultural class.

Fringe audiences new and old are asked to Step Out of the Ordinary, take a punt on something new and delve into the diverse festival programme which explores a range of issues and themes such as female empowerment and disability across established and emerging theatre, music, comedy, dance and cabaret shows and events, the majority of which are free to attend.

Made in Carlisle is a fresh new addition to the programme for 2018 which features lots of locally produced shows, including exciting emerging artists who will present brand new shows exclusively for the festival.

We Know Now Snowmen Exist (Photo Stuart Walker)

We Know Now Snowmen Exist is a brand-new piece of theatre created by Cumbrian based director, Lexie Ward tells the story of four girls who go camping in the mountains and never return.  Inspired by the true story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, this new piece of theatre is created by an all-female cast and crew.

The Last Leaf is a piece of theatre created by Chloe Sturrock and Harri Elizabeth of emerging company Semiotic Theatre Productions.  The piece will continue the development of mixed form using BSL to combine hearing and non-hearing worlds through playful interpretation of visual performance.

Over Hear Carlisle is an interactive piece of performance technology that can be downloaded and accessed anywhere in the city, created by Amie Petricca-Lear.   Users will be able to take part in an immersive solo experience which will guide them through the heritage of the city as over-heard by generations of citizens from Carlisle.

These three new pieces have been supported and developed as part of the festival’s Creative Sparks programme which offers funding, creative space and support for new works being created from Carlisle.

Patchwork Soap Opera will be a live installation by local collective, Patchwork Opera, and is a show for one person at a time, using familiar images from around the city against a soundtrack of prose created by the energetic collective.  The show will run continuously throughout the festival and will take place in the city centre.

Arts Council England are proud to support a number of shows at this year’s Fringe. The Duke is a new solo show from Shôn Dale-Jones weaves together the tragi-comic fate of a family heirloom – a porcelain figure of The Duke of Wellington, the quandary of a scriptwriter stretching his integrity and an unfolding disaster as thousands of children flee their homes. KAYA explores human experiences of displacement through dance, drawing on the strength and resilience of those searching for belonging in a new community, while In Our Hands uses innovative puppetry, a striking set and an original score to transport you out to sea to follow the story of Alf the trawler fisherman.

An Outdoor Village and Container Theatre will run in the centre of the city for the ten days of the festival and will include free music as well as non-stop entertainment. There will be a pop-up café, licensed bar and open-air stage running throughout the day featuring forty different music acts. This includes fantastic local talents such as The MustangZ Trio (Whitehaven), Chris James Blues (Carlisle) and My Little Brother (Carlisle).

The March for the Unsung Woman, will take over the traditional Pageant to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of The Representation of People Act, and will be produced by Prism Arts.  Ten new puppets will help tell the powerful story of some of Cumbria’ strongest and most influential woman throughout history, together with ten pink boxes that will be hidden across the city that tell the story of each of the women.

Shows and events will take place across the city, including the Festival Village right in the heart of the city centre with a pop-up theatre, festival bar, and ten days of live music from all over Cumbria. Additional programme highlights include;


Circled in the Radio Times, a storytelling show from the creator of John Peel’s Shed and Sky 1’s After Hours about a box of old copies of the Radio Times and the changing nature of the way we watch television.

The Life and Soul, written by Chris O’Connor from acclaimed Red Ladder Theatre Company, the piece tells Jim’s story, a story he’s never told about coming to terms with not quite fitting in.

Hymns for Robots, innovative theatre company Noctium explore the life work of Delia Derbyshire – the unsung genius behind the Doctor Who theme tune and trailblazer of electronic music through their unique style of drama, comedy and Expressionism with the explorative use of analogue and digital music creation.

The Unknown Solider, a story of comradeship, betrayal and of promises both broken and kept following the carnage of World War One. A new theatre piece from Grist to the Mill by the award nominated writer of Casualties, Ross Ericson.

Luke Rollason’s Planet Earth III, is a low-budget, one-man nature documentary set in a future where our worst predictions came true – following ecological collapse, thousands of endangered species are extinct, including the BBC.  Who said an intern couldn’t make Planet Earth III??


Georgie Morrel: A Poke in the Eye, as heard on BBC Radio 4, join Georgie Morrell for her critically acclaimed debut solo show. Using her wit, charm and anecdotes, Georgie tells the story of how she went blind but now she can see… literally!

Ray Bradshaw: Deaf Comedy Jam, 1 in 6 people suffer from hearing loss. 2 of those people are Ray’s parents. Full of hilarious, eye-opening tales about growing up with deaf parents, Deaf Comedy Fam is a first for comedy as each show is performed by Ray simultaneously in both spoken English and British Sign Language.

Dead Man’s Chest, an interactive technological comedy adventure through a 1990s detective show, with comedian David Callaghan. Bring your smartphones and stupid heads.

Katie Pritchard: TSKETCHYWETCHYWETCHY, join self-appointed freelance historical tour guide, Katie Pritchard, as she takes you on a high-octane tour of her history loving brain. Katie will bring history to life LIVE before your very eyes with the use of some catchy music (because singing about history is snazzy).

Jamie MacDonald

Jamie MacDonald: Blinkered, razor sharp comedy brought to you by Jamie, Scotland’s best story teller. He’s charming, disarming and outrageous. 37-year-old Jamie MacDonald is a Glaswegian stand-up comedian, writer and voiceover artist who just happens to be blind.

Alfie Ordinary

Alfie Ordinary: Help! I Think I Might be Fabulous, with confetti cannons, LGBT anthems and puppetry, Alfie challenges the norm, questions what it really means to be a man, and presents a world where equality truly exists.


Velvet Petal, tough girls and pretty boys living life in the margins, dreaming about being at the centre. Velvet Petal explores the transformative power of beauty, created out of whatever is on the bedroom floor. This fresh new work from Scottish Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Fleur Darkin is inspired by the life-cycle of the monarch butterfly and Robert Mapplethorpe’s polaroid’s.

Mid Summer Nights Dream (photo Stuart Walker)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dance Ahead, Limbik Theatre and University of Cumbria are proud to present a unique adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Co-created by Zoë Leigh Gadd and Ben Samuels in February 2018 and reworked for Carlisle Fringe Festival the work offers a hilarious take on a classic, specifically devised to appeal to a younger audience 8+years.

Supported by Arts Council England

The Duke, a new solo show from Shôn Dale-Jones explores kindness, generosity and the value of what we do, and raises money for Save The Children’s Emergency Fund. Funny, poignant and playful, The Duke weaves together the tragi-comic fate of a family heirloom, the quandary of a scriptwriter stretching his integrity and an unfolding disaster as thousands of children flee their homes.

KAYA explores human experiences of displacement, drawing on the strength and resilience of those searching for belonging in a new community. Ceyda Tanc is a choreographer creating dynamic dance influenced by her Turkish heritage and highlighting the intersection of modern Britain’s diverse cultures. Ceyda’s work challenges gender stereotypes by utilising the virtuoso movements of male Turkish dancers for her all-female company.

In Our Hands

In Our Hands follows Alf, a trawler fisherman at the top of his game. But times are changing and so is the industry, will Alf adapt in order to survive? Follow a fish’s journey from sea to plate, watch a seagull’s ridiculous attempt to find food and witness a father and son reunite.

Graham Main, Executive Producer of Carlisle Fringe said: “It’s fantastic to see our wonderful city embrace the idea that Carlisle is capable of presenting a festival of this scale. The collaboration and community working together to create this magical festival is testament to the spirit that makes Carlisle unique.  We encourage local people and visitors to the city to go and support the programme and be playful with the festival.”

Tickets for the 2018 Carlisle Fringe are on sale now via, by calling 01228 812611 or by calling into the festival pop-up Box Office at Carlisle Town Hall.

Carlisle Fringe is produced by Elektronika, a cultural producer based in Carlisle and Dumfries with the generous support of Carlisle City Council, Arts Council England and Cito Services.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More