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Fringe Week at Rugby Theatre

Rugby Theatre launches week-long arts festival. Fringe Week runs from 18-26 May 2024.

Preview by Rosie Fuller


Rugby Theatre is launching its first ever festival, with a range of drama, music, hypnosis and magic taking to the stage from 18-26 May.

Fringe Week will see a variety of acts appearing at the historic Henry Street venue, with tickets starting at just £5.

“We are thrilled to be showcasing an exceptional selection of home-grown acts, music and groups from the Rugby community here on our theatre stage,” says Rugby Theatre’s joint artistic director Emma Bright.

“Having re-established our thriving theatre at the heart of Rugby following the covid years, we have been looking to present an event that celebrates the wealth of talent here in the town, to sit alongside our normal programme of shows and films.”

The week starts with professional actor and entertainer Sally Jones returning to her hometown of Rugby to perform her critically acclaimed one woman show Piaf – The Life Story & Songs of Edith Piaf (Saturday 18 May, £15). The show tells the moving and inspirational story of the ‘Little Sparrow’ who rose from the backstreets of Paris to become the highest paid female entertainer in the world.

Next up is the Rugby Irish Community Drama Group, performing an abridged version of the iconic Irish play Sive (Sunday 19 May, £5). Written by Irish playwright John B Keane, Sive is set in rural Ireland in the 1950s, and explores themes such as poverty, exploitation, marriage, greed and love, as well as a prevailing set of attitudes that underpinned the battle between the generations.

Completing the drama offering is a trio of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues, performed and directed by Rugby Theatre’s members (Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 May). Darkly funny, poignant and uplifting, the monologues delve into the lives of seemingly everyday people, with gripping twists and turns. A Chip in the Sugar; A Cream Cracker Under the Settee and Her Big Chance will each be performed both nights, with tickets just £10.

Angus Baskerville. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Magic and hypnosis are on the bill on Saturday 25 May, with magician and mind-reader Angus Baskerville teaming up with master stage hypnotist Poldark (£15). Angus will open the show with sleight of hand trickery and impossible predictions, while Poldark, who appeared at the Benn Hall in February, will amaze and astonish in the second half.

The closing act will be an easy-listen jazz set lead by saxophonist Ian Hill, with special guest vocalist Roy Forbes (Sunday 26 May, £10). This blend of talented local jazz performers from across the county will present their tribute to ‘The American Song Book,’ to sooth audiences after a busy week.

Ian Hill. Photo courtesy of the artist.

“Our Fringe Week not only gives smaller and more diverse talent an opportunity to take to our stage, but also to be able to perform to a wider, local audience,” says Rugby Theatre’s joint artistic director Emma Bright. “We hope that both our loyal theatre patrons and those who are yet to discover us will come and enjoy this exciting and unique selection of shows.”

Rugby Theatre’s Fringe Weeks runs from 18-26 May, with tickets ranging from £5 to £15. Tickets are available from the Rugby Theatre box office on 01788 541234, or



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