And so begins the first Greater Manchester Fringe Festival…

Following Edinburgh’s lead, plenty of cities throughout the UK now have a Fringe Festival, so why not Manchester? This thinking has led a number of venues throughout Greater Manchester, each already renowned in the local area for being great supporters of live comedy, drama and music, to come together and create the first annual Greater Manchester Fringe Festival this year.

The festival takes as its patron Arthur Bostrom (best known as Officer Crabtree, the language-mangling British spy/police officer in TV’s “‘Allo ‘Allo!”) and will be running throughout July, and showcase live talent under a unified banner – and considering that Manchester is the city that launched the likes of Rik Mayall & Adrian Edmondson, Steve Coogan, Ben Elton, Peter Kay and John Bishop, we can be sure that some of these acts will go on to do great things.

Comedy acts range from traditional stand-up performances from the likes of Iain Stirling (one of Scotland’s hottest new acts – and BAFTA-nominated CBBC presenter), deadpan geordie Gary Colman and the observational style of Joe Bor, into live comedy performance with the hilarious Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, the dark and surreal sketch comedy of Norris & Parker, the comedy-horror show “The House that Stank of Death” (in the perfect setting of rock nightclub Satan’s Hollow) and even stage adaptations of classic episodes of Porridge, and onto the more esoteric likes of Freestyle Fictionary’s rapping comedy improv-games. Rest assured, there is something here for everyone; and with any luck it should grow year on year!

For a full list of fringe festival acts, and to buy tickets, check out the official website at


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