Rebuilding the Fringe

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for many people and some of you might be reevaluating what is really important in life. What changes are you seeking?

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It's becoming clear that one of the victims of the current COVID-19 is theatre. The 2020 pantomime season is not going to happen due to COVID-19 restrictions and pantomime is the main source of income and support for first class and professional theatre. Opportunities for work on the stage have all but dried up which means that hundreds of thousands of professional actors are suddenly without work and there are fewer opportunities for acting in film and television due to the current COVID-19 restrictions. COVID-19 and Brexit together may mean that we lose much of our film industry as many productions are now moving overseas where there are less restrictions when it comes to filming.

What this means

What this means is a loss of a major part of British culture, the loss of a major form of development of empathy, and the loss of the one place in the community where genuine freedom actually exists - the theatre. This means that the vast majority of theatres look set to close, like music venues, and they are likely to be sold off to property developers to become more blocks of flats, either luxury or so called 'affordable housing'. This also means the loss of most if not all drama workshops - one of the most efficient ways of helping people recover from such issues as mental illness, addictions and also in helping people to recover self-confidence, develop self-esteem, overcome depression and social anxiety. Therefore this has just made the struggle to recover from such issues as mental illness much harder.

The Fringe and recovery of theatre

This makes the Fringe the only realistic, viable means of recovery for the theatre, not for the first time. This was the case after the Second World War. The Battersea Barge, which was established in 1962 on the Thames in Nine Elms, a year before the first Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1963, was one of the first major Fringe venues in London. This was after taking the successful music venue of the Royal Iris, the famous 'Ferry Across the Mersey' as sung by Gerry Marsden and the Pacemakers, and creating the first theatrical version of theatre on a barge in London. This predates by several years Ramport Studios in Thessally Road which was owned by The Who where several hits from the 1960's and 1970's were recorded. Indeed Nine Elms has a very rich musical and theatrical heritage.

Qultura Fringe

Qultura Fringe is a developing Fringe community of people interested in the performing arts who together are working to rebuild the Fringe in Nine Elms. We eventually hope to stage Fringe performances at Circle Village West and the Duchess Belle and offer free drama workshops at the ROSE Community Centre for both adults and children. Due to COVID-19 these plans have taken a setback and we have been forced to put our plans for drama workshops, which many in the community are interested in, back until 2021. However we are still working to develop the Fringe community and have been organizing script readings online which are based on comedy. We are working with the comedy scripts of Stella Baker, the founder, who is seen by some as a leading comedy scriptwriter with a style of comedy not unlike traditional British scriptwriters such as Spike Milligan and Ronnie Barker.

Below we present a sample of Stella Baker's comedy, a short 5 minute comedy about booking an emergency appointment at a GP surgery during the COVID-19 lockdown. The receptionist is read by Louise Green and the patient is read by Charmaine Bourton. Click on the audio below and listen for yourself the style of comedy.



Are you interested in getting involved in comedy?

We are currently seeking people who are interested in taking part in a comedy scriptreading (such as the one above) either through Zoom or Whatsapp, or through a socially distanced scriptreading. We have two larger comedies which we are seeking to develop and need people prepared to take part in a larger scriptreading project. We are also developing plans for further drama projects both in comedy and drama so if you are interested in getting involved in the performing arts and participating in the Fringe this might be the opportunity for you.

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The ROSE Community Library

The ROSE Community Library, situated at the ROSE Community Centre, was developed in 2019 by Charmaine Bourton, who is a retired librarian and professional actress. This community library is our first completed project and prior to lockdown our most popular community project. The library will reopen shortly after the ROSE reopens.

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The Human Library Project

So you understand a library is where you can borrow a book, right? So how about borrowing another human being? The Human Library Project is a series of events where you meet with other people from the community and spend a couple of hours getting to know one another. We plan to start Human Library Project events from the autumn of 2020.

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Qultura Fringe

Qultura Fringe is our developing performing arts community set up for anyone who is interested in the performing arts, theatre, film making, acting and drama workshops. Together we're working to bring the Fringe back to Nine Elms and Battersea working with Circle Village West, the Duchess Belle and the ROSE Community Centre.

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Qultura Fallback

There's not much point in developing a community, any sort of a community, but especially an empathy based community, if there is no means of community support within that community. This is what Qultura Fallback is all about, making sure that nobody is made destitute or left starving, isolated, vulnerable, struggling or suffering.

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Cultural activism

Thanks to both COVID-19 and Brexit change is inevitable - but what sort of change? What sort of change would you prefer? Do you want change that is forced upon you by those in authority or would you prefer change with you come up with together with other people in your community? There's never been a better time for cultural change.

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Homeless Support

Qultura was set up at the request of a group of people who were street homeless. Back when we started there were just 42,000 homeless people in the UK. Today there's over 330,000. In London every 2 hours someone loses their home and is thrown out onto the street. If anyone needs empathy, then surely it's the homeless.

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