There are many underlauded people who are vital to making Fringe TheatreFest work. We’ll try to shine a light on some of them over the weekend.
Pete Burford has been an intrinsic part of Fringe TheatreFest from the very beginning and his contribution has been not just vital but also multi-faceted.
As a director, workshop facilitator and teacher he has inspired several generations of young theatre makers in Bideford and beyond to think beyond the obvious. And many of them have gone on to develop work for Fringe TheatreFest, getting experience not only in the creative process but also in the nuts and bolts of setting up a company and promoting a production.
Latterly Pete has assumed the burden of recruiting the Fringe tech team, assembling the equipment needed to turn empty spaces into studio theatres and supervising the installation of the equipment in just two days. It’s a monumental challenge.
From 2007, technical equipment and staffing were provided by North Devon Festival/North Devon Theatres with the support of North Devon College. The North Devon Festival came to an end in 2011. From then until 2016, North Devon Theatres provided the bulk of the support under the supervision of Glyn Allen at the Queen’s and with the invaluable Jo Hotchkiss as the lynchpin between Fringe TheatreFest and the theatre. But whenever we sneaked in another theatre we had to take responsibility for providing the tech, so Pete became , in effect, the Fringe technical manager. When we started flying solo in 2017 Pete suddenly had a huge job on his hands. It is the most difficult aspect of the whole operation and anyone else would have buckled but Pete has stuck at it and – with a lot of help from other (as yet) unsung heroes – he has seen us through.
Beyond that, Pete has been part of the committee and management team that have run TheatreFest for the last four years and his contribution to the continuous reimagining of the festival has been unstinting – including initiating the late-night cabarets that have become such a popular meeting place. His fingerprints are everywhere.