AS the curtain came down on the Colchester Fringe at the weekend, organiser Cameron Abbott-Betts can reflect on what can surely be regarded as a success for Colchester’s cultural scene.

The Colchester Fringe, which was held for only the second time last week, showcased all kinds of creative talent for four days from Thursday until Sunday.

With the dust now having settled on the event, Mr Abbott-Betts can now take stock on a festival which he now hopes will become a regular fixture in the calendar for residents, tourists, and culture vultures every October.

Mr Abbott-Betts said: “I feel it went really, really well – we increased the ticket sales from last year by 600 or so, which is great because people seem to be coming back [to the events scene].”

The programme saw performances from Colchester and Essex-based artists, as well as others from further afield, with some travelling from Gothenburg and Reykjavik to be part of the festival.

“Our programme was very strong this year; we had some really amazing acts [and] the venues were all wonderful.

“I got a comment from a Swiss performer who did a show called The Sensemaker – she said it was a really well organised show and said she loved the atmosphere around Colchester.

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“She had never been here before, but everyone was connected because of the Fringe.”

Support from organisations such as the Headgate Theatre and the Mercury Theatre have also been key to the festival’s success, with empty retail space in Lion Walk doubling up as a temporary office for the event over the four days.

“The Headgate Theatre does so much for us and the Mercury joining us was a massive boost for us because of their profile within the city," he said. 

“Another major thing this year was that we had an office which Lion Walk donated to us for the week – people would walk in past Red Lion Yard and talk to artists.

“We’re celebrating Colchester, and I’m really proud we have been able to facilitate that during the festival.”

Now, work is underway for the Fringe to return next year.

“I made a speech on Sunday night saying the Fringe will happen again next year,” Mr Abbott-Betts said.

“We have booked venues already for next year, so it’s happening – we will probably put out calls for artists and applications, and then we will get back to work."