I’ve got far too many good Barnstaple TheatreFest memories to pick any one event. Barnstaple was my first ever experience of appearing at a fringe event and as a result, I have measured every other fringe against the example set.
It’s scary to think how many shows I have brought to Barnstaple over the years, or been a part of. Two different Spectacular Vernaculars, Ping Pong Poetry, Juicy, The Two Robbies, In the Glare of the Neon Yak, Spout . . . And I would have been back this year, too.
But one thing that has always struck me about the fringe, (and this is my overriding memory of it), is the camaraderie between the performers. Over one long weekend we all become colleagues and friends, we watch each other’s shows, we help out with leaflets and publicity, we keep bumping into each other around the town and chat about how things are going, we go for drinks and meals. These friendships survive and flourish. And everyone is so enthusiastic about their art and the event as a whole. This is what struck me on my first trip, and it’s an ethos which survives and, indeed, has expanded over the years.
I’m looking forward to coming back, once the world is a little safer, and becoming a part of the community once again.