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. Since then The Fringe has produced one or two plays each year, occasionally in conjunction with other groups . It has also put together programmes of readings and songs.
For years its home was the now-demolished Amery Hill School drama studio but it also performed in a variety of churches, village halls, a marquee in St Lawrence churchyard, and in Jane Austen’s house in neighbouring Chawton. Recent productions have used the Wessex Arts Theatre at Alton College and the Alton Maltings Centre.
The productions are small scale, low budget and performed to small audiences, but always aspiring to high artistic standards. As a result the performances have a character of intimacy and privilege which makes them very special.
Plays are chosen to be as diverse as possible, and everyone is encouraged to direct when they find themselves with an enthusiasm for a particular work. As a result no less than fourteen members of the group have to date directed at least one play.
A full list of productions, some linked to photos and other records, is on the Productions page.
There is a core of ‘stalwarts’ who have been in from the start but a large number of other people, including many young performers whose lives have inevitably moved on, have been warmly included over the years.