Greater Manchester Fringe is back!

Greater Manchester Fringe is back for its third year in July and looking for writers, artists, comedians, musicians, producers and event organisers to put on shows.

Phill Jupitus Greater Manchester Fringe 2014Eighteen venues around Greater Manchester participated last year, hosting more than 200 events, from innovative art exhibitions to award-winning plays and comedians. Big names mixed with new talent trying something out for the first time.

Scientist Rosalind Franklin's innovative experimental work on the structure of DNA is celebrated in Rob Johnston’s play An Extraordinary Light on July 17 and 18 at Taurus Bar on Canal Street, Manchester.

Franklin helped Francis Crick and James Watson win a Nobel Prize yet her contribution went unrecognised for decades. Rob Johnston won of The 2011 Kings Cross Award for New Writing for last year’s fringe play Einstein's Daughter.

Comedian Phill Jupitus is returning as Porky the Poet with two brand new shows Shrinking Progress and Juplicity on July 8 and 9 at the King’s Arms in Salford – and tickets are already selling fast.

Life Cycle, presented by Sticks Theatre at the Swan Inn in Saddleworth, celebrates this summer’s Tour de France in Yorkshire by using interviews with high profile cyclists to create a physical journey of a lone cyclist's past, and live music using bike parts as instruments.

Greater Manchester Fringe is not organised by a corporate body, it is grass roots performers and venues organising their own summer festival, without the mud. Festival directors Lisa Connor, Zena Barrie and Iain Scott give their time for free to coordinate it all and make it happen.

This isn't the first festival Zena has been involved with. Zena worked at The Edinburgh Fringe, in one guise or another for 11 years, from street performing to running box offices, then running venues to producing Perrier winning comedy shows.

Zena went on to launch the Camden Fringe in 2006, now well established as London’s alternative to the Edinburgh Fringe, with more than 700 performances and 20,000 tickets sold in 37 different countries.

Venues participating in Greater Manchester Fringe July 2014 include 3MT, Apotheca, Band on the Wall, Briton’s Protection, Castle Hotel, Eagle Inn, Fab Café, Frog and Bucket, Gulliver’s, Hatters Hostel, King’s Arms, KRAAK, Lower Kersal Social Club, Nexus Art Café, O’Shea’s, Retro Bar, Salford Arms, Satan’s Hollow, Sunshine Studios, Swan Inn, Taurus, Tiger Lounge and TV21.

Lisa said: “In 2012 Greater Manchester Fringe started with eight venues and has now grown to 23, and is still expanding. Last year we hosted over 200 shows bringing in an extra 2,500 customers into the participating venues throughout July.

“We have to raise a small amount of funds to cover costs. However involvement in the GMFringe doesn’t break the bank. Registration is only £10, whether a show is on for one day or 31 days, and for that new writers and artists get the extra push of publicity in our brochure, press releases, social media and website blog to promote their shows.

“The registered venues are all unique, enabling local talent to host new events without the financial risks. Established stars can also try out their new shows before going to Camden and Edinburgh Fringe. We are part of a growing fringe circuit.

“We are still looking for more venues within Greater Manchester to get involved so we can fill those spaces with exciting events.”

Last year’s successes included Norris and Parker’s show All Our Friends Are Dead, which moved onto the Camden and Edinburgh Fringe, and was selected for RE:Play Festival, playing to sold out audiences. 

New Dawn Fades: The Story of Joy Division, a new play by Brian Gorman, sold out last year’s Greater Manchester Fringe and is now going on a UK tour.

Life, written and performed by Carly Tarett, has moved on to the Oldham Coliseum on Friday 9 May, as part of the First Break New Writing Festival.



July 3: Mitch Benn, King’s Arms, Salford

Previous winner of the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year, Mitch Benn travels the UK with his guitar, creating laughter wherever he goes, and is also a writer, performer and the resident musician on Radio 4's The Now Show. “The country's leading musical satirist” (The Times). “Well crafted, well sung, his songs are just plain funny” (The Guardian). “Less of him could really turn out to be more than he ever was” (The Scotsman). “Mitch is a highly intelligent comic who fires out funny material at the speed of a machine gun. You really do have to pay attention to him, but do so because the content does deserve to be heard and appreciated” (One4Review).

July 7: Finding Me (Take Me As I Am), Taurus Bar, Manchester

Carol embarks on an amazing journey of discovery and coming to terms with her gender, using humour and poetry, including material from her first collection Words of Darkness and Light, plus new material specially written for this show. As she puts it “Take Me As I Am” and “Just Saying How It Is”. Carol will also be performing her show at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

July 8 & 9: Phill Jupitus double bill, King’s Arms, Salford

Shirking Progress: Phill Jupitus truth bombs his way through an hour of laughs. The clown-extraordinaire has been on Nevermind the Buzzcocks for as long as any of us can ever remember, but he’s so much more than a gold mine of pop quiz trivia and the UK’s greatest beard-face. In his new show, Jupitus rips out his beating heart and staples it to his sleeve in front of a mesmerised crowd.

Porky The Poet in JUPLICITY: Phill appears as his word slinging alter ego Porky The Poet, bringing a brand new hour of poetry and chat. This year his pencil is sharpened in the direction of religion, dieting, politics, hate, hipsters, love, parenthood, The Clash, baseball, death, Michael Gove and a slew other vital matters. 

July 9: Life Cycle, Swan Inn, Saddleworth

Created to coincide with the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire this summer, Sticks Theatre presents Life Cycle, using verbatim interviews with high profile cyclists to create a physical journey of a lone cyclist's past, forged into a highly physical and visual theatrical text. The music for the piece will be created live, using bike parts as instruments.

July 17 and 18: An Extraordinary Light by Rob Johnston, Taurus Bar, Manchester.

Scientist Rosalind Franklin's innovative experimental work on the structure of DNA helped Francis Crick and James Watson win a Nobel Prize. Yet Rosalind's contribution went unrecognised for decades. An Extraordinary Light celebrates the achievements and tragedy of Rosalind Franklin, who dedicated her life to science at great personal cost. Written by Rob Johnston, winner of The 2011 Kings Cross Award for New Writing for Einstein's Daughter. Performed by Katherine Godfrey.

July 20 & 27, Hamlet Private Eye, Sunshine Studios, Manchester

Glass Dagger productions presents Hamlet Private Eye. Shakespeare's play is re-imagined as a contemporary tale of ultimate noir and slapstick comedy. Free admission.

For more details visit