A FRINGE festival has been staged across Colchester showcasing talent and captivating audiences.

After a year of hiatus due to the pandemic, the Colchester Fringe took over the town with 62 shows spread across four days at the weekend.

There were more than 1,700 tickets sold, with 23 theatre companies and 100 artists taking to theatres, shops, pubs and nightclubs and filling them with extraordinary performances.

The Colchester Fringe, which is part of the international fringe shows network, aims to support rising artists and introduce their work to communities.

Cameron Abbott-Betts and Steve Goatman, who launched the festival in 2019, said: “ There was a real fringe spirit and that is something we wanted to create, especially after being away for so long because of Covid.

“Half of the artist performing were from Essex and the festival really supports local and regional artists by giving them a platform to show their work.

“But artists came to Colchester from so many different places and they all said how much they loved it and they would like to come back and perform again.”

Gazette: Dancers iNk'd Photo:Jonathan DaddsDancers iNk'd Photo:Jonathan Dadds

The performances also highlighted important issues in the society, by representing the LGBTQ+ and BAME communities.

The organisers added: “It is important to highlight underrepresented voices and give opportunities to tell their stories.”

Best Days Vintage in Eld Lane, Coda in High Street and the Bull in Crouch Street were some of the venues brought to life during the festival.

Rising star Jaz Skingle of Colchester, was one of the artists who took part in the festival and wowed audiences.

Jaz, 17, scripted her first hit comedy during lockdown called Ghost Therapy the plot of which focuses around the life of Dr Soul, a counsellor supporting dead clients through their troubling non-existence.

Gazette: Ghost Therapy cast and director Jaz Skingle,17 (right)Ghost Therapy cast and director Jaz Skingle,17 (right)

The talented writer was lucky enough to have esteemed writer, Richard Dinnick, and British Theatre reviewer, Dr Paul T Davies provide feedback and advice.

Her show was put on stage twice during the Fringe Festival at the Headgate Theatre and the aspiring talent is now hoping to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe next year too.

She said: “Being an actor myself, the scariest part of the play was the first night of the performance when I saw my actors going on stage and I was just sitting behind it.

“I am honestly ecstatic and hearing the audience laughing and crying was one of the greatest feeling I could ever experience.

“I am really proud of my cast because they were fantastic and all did brilliantly.

“The end of the second performance really gave me the sense of achievement when I came onto the stage to thank the audience and hug my cast.”

Visit colchesterfringe.com