Premieres, new performers, and over 100 productions for the festival's 11th year

It’s no secret that Manchester is brimming with performers, creatives, and great initiatives that champion the work of local and regional talents alike. Over the past decade, the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival has therefore acted as a springboard for new productions, writing, and just general cool shit from in and around the city region. 

Greater Manchester Fringe also hosts events in spaces like camper vans, tents, Roman forts and a crypt

With many showcasing their work at the Manchester Fringe before taking it to the iconic Edinburgh festival later in the summer, July is a month to clear some space in your diary and immerse yourself into a packed programme of impressive spectacles. Staging over 100 productions of drama, comedy, music, kids shows, visual arts, spoken word, tours, and even puppetry, the Fringe offers affordable ticket prices and accessible entertainment for all.

Not just a fest for your bog-standard theatre venue or a stage at the back of a pub, Greater Manchester Fringe also hosts events in spaces like camper vans, tents, Roman forts and a crypt. Basically, the weirder the better. 

Read on for a full rundown of the dates, acts and programmes for the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival 2022.

Greater Manchester Fringe Festival Highlights 2022
Performances range from comedy to crisp eating Image: Greater Manchester Fringe Festival

What’s the crack? 

The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival has been operating as an open-access and inclusive festival since 2012, with the aim to create and promote an arts community across Greater Manchester. Over 10 years old now, the festival has gone from strength to strength each year with many productions moving to established spots like The Lowry, HOME, and The Royal Exchange. 

This year the venues include more traditional spots like Frog and Bucket, Gullivers and The Kings Arms, with some unusual ones thrown into the mix like the GM Police Museum, Twenty Twenty Two in the NQ, and Whitworth Locke. 

Ticket prices are low and sometimes free, with the Fringe aiming to “provide greater access to a non-traditional theatre-going audience”. We can definitely get behind that. 

Adam Evans The Crisp Review Greater Manchester Fringe Festival 2022
The battle of the cheddars Image: Adam Evans via The Crisp Review

Crisps at The Kings Arms

You don’t have to tell us twice that you love crisps, we saw your reactions to the crisp butty menu at the Stalybridge Buffet Bar. Adhering to the crispy hype, Adam Evans’ production The Crisp Review sees him taste a load of different potato snacks and rate them on their T.A.S.T.E (texture, amount, satisfied?, taste and economy). You can expect actual crisps, a documentary about crisps, games involving crisps and, hopefully, a free packet at the end of it all if Adam can find a crispy sponsor. 

Tickets for The Crisp Review are only a fiver and the show is taking place at The Kings Arms from Tuesday 5 July - Saturday 16 July. Walkers don’t run to get tickets, and start cramming in some crisp butties for lunch so you can contribute to the debate. We recommend Monster Munch and McCoys. 

Greece Lightning Greater Manchester Fringe Festival 2022 1
Lets talk about Uranus Image: Greater Manchester Fringe Festival

From Greece to Greater Manc

Santorini might be a bit ambitious for your summer break, but Salford definitely isn’t, and this performance sees one “overzealous idiot” attempt to perform all of Greek Mythology in less than 60 minutes. As the show’s synopsis assures us: “Never before has Medusa been looser, Achilles more sillies, or Uranus so heinous”, and leading lad Garry Starr has won a load of awards with Greece Lightning since its conception back in 2018. 

This Fringe feature also won Best Comedy at the Adelaide Fringe earlier this year and tickets are £12. Get your God geek on with Gary this July. 

Leo And Hyde Virtual Reality Musical Manchester Fringe Festival
Virtually impossible not to love Image: Leo & Hyde

Music in the Metaverse 

"Guy is gay. Guy is a gamer. And Guy is looking for love – in virtual reality." What a synopsis. Double Life is a brand new fusion of live musical theatre and VR that's coming to the Fringe for a full week. As you literally immerse yourself into the story of Guy and his games, this show is suitable for people with and without prior VR experience. 

A proper unusual approach to musical theatre, this production is the brainchild of theatre company leo & hyde, a company that aims to explore "the impact of technology on everyday life through innovative and immersive storytelling." 

Note on COVID-19: Each audience member will have their own headset in a 2m space, thoroughly cleaned in between performances. 

Arcadia 87 The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival 2022
Get your game face on Image: Greater Manchester Fringe Festival

A load of other stuff

If crisp reviews and virtual musicals aren't really your bag, the Fringe has a programme chocca with other stuff too. A Shakespeare classic is set to be re-created 80s-style by theatre company Time & Again at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation with a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream - dreamy. 

There's also a feature-length film strongly influenced by the likes of Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, a comedy about going out with your mates, and a show set in an arcade. Variety is the spice of life and the Fringe is a pot of extra-hot red pepper flakes. 

Sticking to potato-themed theatre, Potatohead is our final recommendation. A "starch raving mad adaptation of Doctor Faustus and the Seven Deadly Sins" (of course), the show has puppets, physical theatre, and a load of spuds. Potatohead is also at The Kings Arms and tickets are a tenner. 

The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival July 2022
Giving Edinburgh a run for its money Image: Greater Manchester Fringe Festival

Up the North

As the director of The Greater Manchester Fringe, Lisa Connor, highlights, "Some of the greatest performers, actors, poets, bands, artists and creative writers have come from the North West, so it is fitting to have our Fringe Festival in Greater Manchester as a host for exciting, emerging talent. We can't wait to see all the exciting shows lined up for next month" - take that bonnie Scotland.

The full rundown of all the events, venues and performances for this year's Greater Manchester Fringe Festival can be found online. The festival runs from Friday 1 July until Sunday 31 July with events on every single day in different spaces and venues across Greater Manchester. 

Read next: Top things to do in and around Manchester: June 2022

Read again: A modest show - food and art festival comes to Manchester

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