Norwich Fringe Festival set to return

Organisers of Norwich Fringe, Marion Catlin, right, and Paula Sanchez, at the Guildhall. Picture: De

Organisers of Norwich Fringe, Marion Catlin, right, and Paula Sanchez, at the Guildhall. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

The cultural offerings of the Norwich Fringe Festival are set to make a return this October.

The festival didn't run in 2012, but is being 'rebooted' for 2013 by two former organisers, Marion Catlin and Paula Sanchez.

The Fringe originally started in the late 1990s to run alongside the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, but when the N&N Festival was moved from October to May, in 2001, the two drifted apart.

Fuelled by momentum from the Norwich bid for the 2002-03 European City of Culture, the Fringe took on its own identity and between 2003 and 2007 Ms Catlin and Ms Sanchez were part of the organising team.

The Fringe will now return to venues around Norwich between Monday, October 7 and Saturday, October 19 and homegrown artists are being encouraged to put forward their work for the festival.

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Ms Sanchez, who is 45 and lives in the north of Norwich, said: 'I think Norwich is in a really good place for culture. The [N&N] Festival has been invested in significantly, we have the Unesco City of Literature status and plans for the Centre of National Writing at Gladstone House.

'We now have Norwich University of the Arts as the second university in the city, so we have a good cultural ecology that can definitely handle the Fringe.'

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Musician Ed Sheeran is among the big names to have previously performed at the fringe, alongside the likes of artist Colin Self and comediand Isy Suttie and Andrew O'Neill,

But Ms Catlin, who is 56 and lives near Trowse, is hoping the Fringe will see musicians, artists, dance groups, comedians and performers of all kinds come from around the Norwich area to get involved. It will also work closely with Norwich Sound and Vision, which runs during the Fringe, between Thursday, October 10 and Saturday, October 12.

'Norwich is a small place, but it has a lot going on,' said Ms Catlin.

'One of the things that used to be said when Norwich was going for the City of Culture status was that all the culture in Norwich was bubbling up, coming up through the cracks in the pavement, and you couldn't hold it down. That whole idea that the whole city is working together as one force and kind of making it up as we go along together is what we would like.'

The line-up for this year's festival will be confirmed later in the year but venues already confirmed as being involved include Norwich Arts Centre, The Garage, Norwich Playhouse, Open and Norwich Lanes hot spots such as Frank's Bar and the Birdcage.

Artists who would like to perform and get involved with the festival should contact the Fringe organisers through

- Are you organising a new event in the city? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or

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