Scenes from the Fringe II

The Kinema returns to near its original spot – upstairs at the Manor House – for a showing of Maxine Peake playing Hamlet

A couple more tastes of the Fringe, from some of the various events which have already been going on this week.

Guerrilla gardener Marian Temple tells the tale of bringing spots of neglected Wanstead into full colour

Tuesday sees a clutch of events, including a social media workshop at the Duke, a masterclass in brewing coffee at Bare Brew, a quiz at the Nightingale, a showing of housing-crisis documentary Dispossession at the Wanstead Tap (sold out).

One interesting event for teens will be a writing workshop at the Oxfam Bookshop on Tuesday evening, led by YA author Chloe Seager, left. We thought it might be useful to know a bit about Chloe – and encourage anyone who has teenagers who are interested in reading or writing to take a look at the event.

Chloe Seager grew up in Wanstead with her Mum and much-loved cat, Katie. She studied English Literature and Drama at the University of East Anglia where she sadly realised she couldn’t act, but did rediscover her love of children’s books. She is now an author for teens and her debut novel Editing Emma came out from HarperCollins in August.  She also works as a YA/Children’s literary agent at Diane Banks Associates. You can find out more about her at She says:
A lot of aspiring writers don’t realise the importance of a literary agent, but publishers no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts and so to get published a writer must have a literary agent. The event will cover not only advice on writing, but will also offer industry perspective e.g. the current book market and tips on cover letters and how to catch a literary agent’s attention. Come along and get advice on every aspect of how to become a published writer.
* Saturday’s Jumble Trail now has 40 stalls signed up. Organiser Jane Clapton writes that the most successful stalls tend to be in streets where there are clusters of stalls. So anyone interested in these roads, where more stalls are needed to make a cluster, are particularly welcome: Langley Drive, Selsdon Road, Draycot Road, Nutter Lane, Addison Road, Rutland Road, Rectory Crescent, Victory Road, Halstead Road, Highstone Road.

Scenes from the Fringe

The Duke Street Party once again truly got the Fringe off to a good start, even though it had to dodge various short sharp showers.

It followed the largest yet Wanstead Makers’ Market which showed some of the creative talent around here.


On Sunday there are three Fringe events to enjoy.

M&S to open in October

M&S has announced its new Simply Food shop is going to open in Wanstead on Thursday 10 October.

As well as ready meals and lunches the shop says it will have an in-store bakery serving artisan breads such as sourdough and spelt loaves, and will serve takeaway coffee.

People have been wondering for some months now whether the shop would actually open following a long period with no news. But the shop manager Deborah Cunningham today said: “We are really excited to become part of the community here in Wanstead and look forward to welcoming our new customers on 10 October as we unveil the new store. We’ll have some fantastic new products from the autumn range, ideal for when those chillier nights start to draw in, as well as providing busy commuters and professionals with convenient Food on the Move options throughout the day – from takeaway coffees to healthy lunches and snacks.”

M&S said 42 people would be employed at the shop. It will provide Click and Collect. Opening hours will be from 7am – 10pm on Monday to Saturday and 9am – 7pm on Sundays.



Food and drink at the Fringe

The game is on

This year’s Wanstead Fringe, which starts on Saturday, is the first to have such a focus on food and drink. Perhaps that’s explained by the growth in restaurants and cafes in Wanstead, but for whatever reason it’s good news for foodies.

Newcomers Bare Brew have thrown themselves into the Fringe spirit with a wine tasting on Tuesday night, except that it’s with coffee rather than wine. It’s nearly a sell-out too.

A similar idea has been taken up by Vincenzo Cossaro at More Italy who is running a workshop on tasting the differences between olive oils, on Thursday night. What difference does oil make to taste and cooking, how to spot a good oil, and first hand experience from an olive farmer will leave participants’ knowledge 100% more oleaginous than before.

Bombetta’s Ben Milne and wine blogger Zeren Wilson will join Wansteadium’s favourite historical novelist Geraldine Roberts, author of The Angel and the Cad, for an evening of fine cheese, wine and tasty anecdotes at the Cherry Tree on Wednesday.

Signature Brew who have been making a range of music-inspired beers in Leyton since 2011 will be taking over the Duke on Wednesday 13, and Hackney Downs’ based vodka producers Our/Vodka will be explaining their local flavours on Friday, also at the Duke.

The Duke is also running a four-course taster menu, using produce sold on Wanstead High Street, in a tent on Christ Church Green on Saturday 15th.

Tickets and more information about these and other Fringe events are available at

  • The Wanstead Fringe starts on Saturday 9 September with the Wanstead Maker’s Market in Christchurch, a session on portrait painting by Jason Rose, the mighty Duke Street Party, and a concert for Organ and Saxophone by two international music masters. A true day of Fringe variety.

The cream of Wanstead

Wanstead milkman Steve Hayden must have loved this profile of him and his round in this week’s Time Out. Wanstead, the piece says, is one of the areas which has halted the decline in doorstep milk delivery – thanks to the work of Steve and the other milkmen in Wanstead and Parker Dairies.

Couple of funny lines in the piece – including the description of one Wanstead road as being “so middle-class its litter consists of a sole packet of Cauldron falafel”.  Read the whole thing here.

Steve and fellow milkman Dave (pictured) take on the grim task of being out at work at 3am come rain or shine. But all the bottles are recycled, and the vehicles are electric – how modern! You can sign up at this page.


Films at the Fringe

This year’s Wanstead Fringe has three films on offer – and tickets for them are already on sale.

The Wanstead Kinema is swinging back into action for the big family night in the grounds of Christ Church on Saturday 16 September. It’s always a special evening and this year’s attraction is Disney’s Moana. The critics’ consensus about the film was this: “With a title character as three-dimensional as its lush animation and a story that adds fresh depth to Disney’s time-tested formula, Moana is truly a family-friendly adventure for the ages.” Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave it a 96% rating – but with the family Kinema night it’s always as much about the atmosphere as the film itself. Refreshments will be on hand too. You can get tickets from the Fringe site here.

The Kinema is having a second film this year – a fantastic opportunity to see Maxine Peake play Hamlet in a version of the staging at the Royal Exchange Theatre. And as an extra bonus, the screening is taking place just about as close to the site of the original Kinema as possible – upstairs at the Manor House. It’s taking place this Sunday at 6pm – tickets here.

And on Tuesday night at the Wanstead Tap, London’s housing crisis is taken apart in the documentary Dispossession, which has been described as the most important British film since I, Daniel Blake. The screening will be followed by a discussion about how the housing crisis can be tackled. Coincidentally it also features Maxine Peake. Tickets can be bought directly from the Wanstead Tap.