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3rd July 2019

TUNBRIDGE WELLS is to get its very own version of the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival that brings in close to 100,000 visitors to the city each year.

The inaugural Artsbox Festival 2019 will feature art, comedy, music, and theatre and is the brainchild of Jocelyn Cheek in association with the Trinity Theatre.

Jocelyn said she was inspired to bring a fringe festival to the town after visiting the Scottish capital’s world famous annual comedy and arts festival.

“I have spent many summers at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, caught up in the infectious energy of a city transformed by arts events happening on every corner,” explained Jocelyn.

She continued: “Tunbridge Wells has such a wealth of local talent and ArtsBox is a great opportunity to give these artists a stage.

“There will be something for everyone, and many free events running across the week, from bug hunts to improv comedy.

“I have laughed, cried, and seen things I never thought I would see at fringe festivals – I would like the Tunbridge Wells community to have the same opportunity.”

The seven-day event, which launches on Saturday August 10, will feature local and national artists, including live music hosted by Sean Fennessey, featuring local favourite Cyrano, as well as an introductory watercolour painting drop-in with local artist and tutor Julie King.

For younger festival-goers there’s a Churchyard Safari led by Dr Ian Beavis, a unique opportunity to explore Trinity churchyard, and discover the smaller wildlife that live there.

For adventure on much a larger scale, BBC Radio 4’s John Pilkington, one of Britain’s most experienced explorers, will recount his travels through the Balkans, and along the Silk Road.

Trinity’s signature Comedy Café also returns, with national acts keen to get on stage in Tunbridge Wells ahead of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Alongside these events, Fresh Paint, a visual arts competition for 5-18 year olds, sponsored by Giggling Squid, aims to celebrate the creativity of local young people.

Jocelyn Cheek continued: “I am hopeful that the success of the inaugural year of ArtsBox will demonstrate that Tunbridge Wells is a significant artistic hub in Kent, and that in the future ArtsBox will take over other venues and spaces.

“I’ve got ideas for shows on buses, in pubs, car parks and more.”

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