Arts Festival gets huge boost thanks to Shropshire Council recovery fund
An arts festival received vital funding to support its development from Shropshire Council’s Wider Economic Recovery Fund, part of the Council’s Covid 19 business support package of grants.
Ludlow Fringe Festival is in its ninth year and is rapidly building an international reputation. A diverse arts and community festival, it encompasses a wide range of performance, from dance and comedy to visual arts and theatre.
Director Anita Bigsby set up the Festival as a CIC (Community Interest Company) in 2013 with just £10. That year the Festival turned over just £17,000.
In 2021 there was a mixture of online and live performances and turnover has risen to £154,000 with 78 individual events over 30 days featuring 58 individual companies.
“Last year we had to move the entire event online because of the Covid crisis, but it meant that this year people could not wait to experience a live performance and we sold out.
“However, this year we still offered some online events and used performers from all over the world.
“The great thing is those performers now want to come to Ludlow and perform live. We had virtual performers from afar a field as New York, so we are now a truly international Festival and it’s a great vehicle to promote Ludlow and Shropshire to an international audience.”
The Festival content is eclectic, seeks to appeal to everyone, young and old, and sets out to engage the local community in every way possible.
“We were able to offer short term employment to people in a range of jobs from production and marketing to stewards. We ran a large number of community projects and also offered work experience for students and young people, an audience that we are looking to encourage for the future.”
The grant has been used to purchase vital equipment, including the technology to live-stream performances and a ‘trailer-stage’, a movable performance space that can be put to multiple uses.
Anita added that they would love to utilise this in the future to take performances out to local communities but also showcase the wealth of local talent and take a performance to the Edinburgh Fringe itself.
“We want to thank Shropshire Council so much for the money. It has been put to excellent use enabling us to grow and professionalise the Ludlow Fringe Festival both locally – by involving the local community and the rich pool of artistic talent we have in the area – but also nationally and internationally by helping us to engage with audiences and performers around the world.”