Alton Fringe at the Festival

The 17 members of the cast remained on stage throughout and came forward for their contributions

As our contribution to this year's inaugural Alton Arts Festival we took the opportunity to celebrate 35 years of Fringe productions.

Although only a single evening event, this became a complex programme of extracts from no less than 14 productions, ranging from the first of all - 1988's Murder in the Cathedral - to ZigZag - the story of Gilbert White of Selborne staged in 2022. Almost everything was learned, and rehearsals took many weeks. But the audience reaction on the night made it clear that the effort had been abundantly worthwhile.

A particular bonus was that Patrick Sandford, the professional director who had been engaged by the 1988 Alton May Arts Week to direct that seminal production of Murder in the Cathedral , accepted our invitation to join us.

Members of the original 1988 cast of Murder in the Cathedral - Richard Fowler, Chris Chappell, Lesley Willis & Louise Dilloway - with Patrick Sandford

Our Next Production: Breaking the Code - Nov 2024

Our next full production will be Hugh Whitemore's powerful portrayal of the life of Alan Turing, the mathematical genius who played a key role in cracking the Enigma code and shortening the Second World War.

Performances will be on the evenings of 14,15 and 16 November 2024, in the Wessex Arts Centre, Alton College.

The production is now cast and rehearsals will begin after our Alton Arts Festival evening.

Tickets will be available in the autumn

The Cherry Orchard - Oct 2023

A triumph for Director Louise Biddiss with her bold and clear conception of how this play could be realised in the Fringe's characteristically intimate style. Through her skilful management of the rehearsal period she inspired exceptional early commitment from the cast and created a particularly happy and productive atmosphere throughout.

Michael Biddiss' special adaptation enabled the humour of Chekhov's 'comedy' to shine through in a way which delighted, and often surprised, the audiences.

Click here for information, photo-gallery, review, comments, etc

Sarah Castle-Smith as Lyuba Rayenevskya

The Plague
30th March - 1st April 2023

A powerful and timely production

Dr Rieux (Simon Brencher) shares his agony with the audience.

Conceived by Steve Gerlach and adopted as our next production by The Fringe three months before the COVID pandemic - that other plague - struck, this production, after three long and extraordinary years is at last accomplished.

Audiences emerged from the three performances moved - sometimes to tears - and deeply impressed by the quality of the production. You will find a gallery of Ian Dumelow's superb dress-rehearsal photographs, and Peter Allwright's wonderfully insightful review on the dedicated page HERE

About Us

Alton Fringe Theatre formed in 1988 when a diverse and talented group found themselves working together for an Alton Arts Week ‘all-comers-welcome’ production of Murder in the Cathedral, under the inspiring direction of Patrick Sandford.

Interested In Joining?

Alton Fringe Theatre is a local theatre group who take members from the age of seventeen upwards. There are no fees or subscriptions, just a willingness to get involved and contribute to whatever the group decides as the next project.