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Fringe Festival for ‘hard times’ is about to hit Belfast.

The Belfast Fringe Festival 2010, starting on Friday, will run alongside the main Ulster Bank Festival for the first time in several years.

Venues include Ma Nelson’s on the Lisburn Road, the Culturlann on the Falls Road and even the Forestside Shopping Centre.

The ambition of the steering group is that the fringe festival that will grow into the stature of the Edinburgh Fringe.

Comedian Nuala McKeever, who launched the Fringe Festival brochure yesterday, said it was a festival for hard times, with the recession biting at our pockets, the admission prices from £2 upwards.

“At the Fringe you will see things you wouldn’t see at the Festival - a bit more leftfield. For the recessionary times that’s in it, the Fringe is also pretty good value.

“There is room for the huge official Festival and also room for something experimental”, she said.

There are 38 modestly priced events taking place over the weekend. Events are pay at the door.


1 The Inishowen Gospel Choir and local musician Joby Fox are performing on Saturday at 8pm at Berry Street Presbyterian Church should be a treat for music lovers of all ages. The choir has played Glastonbury and collaborated with Duke Special and the Hothouse Flowers. Joby Fox - who likes a bit like Mick Hanley and belts out songs like Christy Moore - is a singer/songwriter with interesting things to say.

2 The Sons of Robert Mitchum with their modern noir, neo cabaret show with adult themes at Ma Nelson’s on Saturday at 10pm.

3 There is a healthy and irreverent looking comedy session with Sean Hegarty – who performed at the Edinburgh Fringe last year after taking part in BBC NI’s ‘Find Me The Funny’ – performing his intriguingly named show “Don’t Be A Comedian in Northern Ireland while Drinking your Buckfast Under a Bridge”. The show is at the Safehouse Art Gallery on Donegall Street on Saturday at 3pm

4 Theatre on offer ranges from Circus Cabaret – contemporary circus and physical comedy featuring acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and magic – from the Belfast Circus School at 23 Gordon Street on Friday and Saturday at 8pm, to The Waiting Room, a new play by Vittoria Cafolla presented by the Skewiff Theatre Company at 23 Donegal Street, about the pain and joy of sisters brought together as their mother lies dying, The play will be performed every night of the festival at eight

5 The Fringe Benefits Theatre Company is taking poetry to the shoppers at Forestside Shopping Centre Poems by Rudyard Kipling to Stevie Smith will be performed by actors in the Live Poetry Jukebox on Saturday from 2-5pm.

6 Women in the street in pyjamas – what will the tourists think! Bronagh Diamond has written and directed Room For One, which will be performed at the Culturlann, Falls Road, on Saturday at 7.30pm.

7 For fans of Orson Welles 1938 recording The 39 Steps – and old time drama with an array of sound effects performed by the Wireless Mystery Theatre at No Alibis Bookshop, Botanic Avenue on Friday at 7.30pm.

8 Lorcan McGrane: Geekdom - in a hour the comedian will unveil the secret of the lifestyle craze that is apparently sweeping the world. The venue is the Safehouse Art Gallery, 25 Donegal Street at Saturday night at 7.30pm – be there or be square!

9 The Island Jazz Band tune up at the Dark Horse Café, 25 Donegal Street on Friday at eight for Miles Davies, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gerry Mulligan and Sonny Rollins fans.

10 The Jenny Kallen Swing Band - fronted by Jenny who takes her style from the pin up glamour girls of the 1940s and 1950s – perform at the Errigle Inn on Sunday night at 7pm

Belfast Telegraph