VIDEO: Plans for Morecambe’s first fringe festival

“A fringe festival is like what Forrest Gump says about a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”

Matt Panesh lives and breathes theatre, touring across the world to bring performing arts to as many people as possible.

Photo Neil Cross
Matt Panesh, organiser of a new festival which is coming to Morecambe, the Morecambe Fringe Festival, at the Carleton club

Photo Neil Cross Matt Panesh, organiser of a new festival which is coming to Morecambe, the Morecambe Fringe Festival, at the Carleton club

Now Matt’s focus is upon Morecambe as plans get underway for the town’s first ever fringe festival.

The 44-year-old has applied for funding to bring Morecambe Fringe Festival to the West End this September.

Taking inspiration from Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, Morecambe Fringe will welcome acts from far and wide.

“What we have got so far is award-winning theatre performers and you come along and take a chance, from the bizarre to the bold,” said Matt, who has performed as a stand-up poet at Edinburgh Fringe for nine years.

“The West End is a undiscovered jewel, the architecture is spectacular, it’s a paradise.

“My father used to work at Heysham Power Station so I used to come up here in the school holidays.

“I decided I needed to leave the city and go somewhere with big blue skies and I found it here in Morecambe Bay.”

The festival’s opening night (free entry) kicks off at The Carleton on Friday September 8 with music and a performance of The Entertainer, by the West End Players.

Matt says it’s the “perfect way” to start the festival by revisiting the Entertainer film, more than 50 years after it was originally performed at the Alhambra Theatre, now the Carleton.

The festival will run to Sunday September 10 and will welcome performances from stand-up poet, Kate Fox, actor Pip Utton, Jackie Hagan, Nick Awde, Big Charlie Poet, Walter Michael DeForest, singer Sick Richard and more.

The Carleton and St Barnabas’ community centre on Regent Road will be the two main venues during the festival, which will include 12 shows over three days.

Matt has applied for funding to Morecambe Town Council and the West End Million Project.

Tickets are £5 per show or £20 for a festival wristband, which includes entries to all shows. To get involved or for tickets email morecambefringe@gmail.com. A meeting to discuss Morecambe Fringe Festival will be at St Barnabas’ community centre on Monday March 20 at 7.30pm.