Mayfield Fringe Festival starts this weekend

THE MAYFIELD Fringe Festival takes place over three weekends starting on May 6.

It was set up just a year ago by people who thought if Edinburgh could do it, why not Mayfield?

The Fringe runs every other year from now on, alternating with the village’s main festival of music and the arts. It aims to embrace all aspects of the arts, including international as well as national artists but also inviting local people of all ages to take part, making it a real community project.

Ticket prices are kept within the reach of most people and several of the events are free.

The Fringe has the backing of Sussex Community Foundation, Wealden District Council and Mayfield Parish Council. This first Fringe offers a wide mix of cabaret, theatre, poetry, storytelling, film, music, discussions, visual arts ... and more staged at different venues throughout the village.

The first two weekends will showcase several Sussex artists with different styles and content in two exhibitions, on the Friday and Saturday, curated by Barbara Todd (Fridays 6-8pm, Saturdays 10-4pm, London House).

Opening the festival on Friday, May 6, is comedy award-winner Patricia Hartshorne from Manchester in a magical evening with Marlene Dietrich.

Larry Wilson is running a mask making workshop for children on the Saturday morning.

He’ll be introducing 7-12 year-olds to different techniques with masks to be displayed the following week in Mayfield High Street .

On Saturday evening is the film showing of ‘Letter from an Unknown Woman’, made in 1948 by great film maker Max Ophhuls with discussion afterwards lead by Tim Cornish, former film officer at South East Arts.

On Sunday, May 8, Agenda Poetry Journal will host a poetry reading ‘Poetry and Biography’ with poet/critic/translator Josephine Balmer, poet/translator Sasha Dugdale and poet Sian Thomas.

On Friday, May 13, the newly commissioned play, ‘Tell Me About Your Mother’, is directed by Larry Wilson. On Sunday, May 15, storyteller Hugh Lupton will perform ‘The Secret Commonwealth’ - exploring the nature of this otherworld with its strange, humorous, dangerous and erotic inhabitants.On Sunday evening, Agenda Poetry Journal’s poetry reading, ‘Poetry, Life’s Song’, will feature Steven O’Brien, poet and editor of the London Magazine, and poets Tim Murdoch and James Simpson.

Week Three starts on Thursday, May 19, with ‘Discussion in Pubs’ when all are invited to participate in a lively discussion about creativity in the community.

On Friday, May 20, Agenda Poetry Journal will host a reading of Mayfield poet Patricia McCarthy’s passionate sequence, ‘Rodin’s Shadow’, introduced by poet Sue Roe.

Also on the Friday, Music on the Meadow will feature this year’s finalists with some of the best youth bands in the Weald.

Saturday, May 21, sees a poetry and writing workshop ‘Writing in the Weald’ by Sian Thomas, for young people and adults.

For a grand finale on the Saturday evening, one of Chicago’s most celebrated musicians, Michael J Miles - hot from a sell-out concert in Beirut - will perform ‘American Songbag’ with guitar, clawhammer banjo and vocals.

Tickets available from Burnetts Estate Agents, Mayfield High Street 01435 874450, by post, or at the door.

For further information and full programme see website