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Wanstead Fringe

Remember last year’s Wanstead Fringe? Hundreds – if not thousands – of people attended events which included the Secret Garden, comedy, the Jumble Trail, the Wanstead Kinema, talks and demonstrations and more.

Planning is now under way for Wanstead Fringe 2019 – which will take place between 7 and 14 September. We would find it very useful for anyone who attended any events to take this short survey – just eight questions.

As in previous years, Wansteadium will be featuring every twist and turn of the Fringe, so keep in touch by getting our e-mail newsletter.

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The past week has been the most amazing Wanstead Fringe yet, with nearly every event sold out. We had nearly 800 people at the theatre, more than a hundred at the opera, three sold-out comedy nights, one sold out comedy afternoon for kids, 120 Jumble Trail stalls, 300 people at the Kinema (above), talks, demos, live music (below) and more and more and more…

The point of the Wanstead Fringe, which is run by volunteers, is to support and encourage cultural activities in Wanstead. On behalf of the Fringe Association, Wansteadium hopes people will agree that has certainly been the case this year.

And because it’s impossible to mention every event, or thank every person who was involved, here is a selection of visual memories of the week.

Nathan Nicholson from The Boxer Rebellion headlines at the acoustic night Keep the Freak Flag Flying



Podcast star Annabel Port

Stargazing at Overton Drive

Croon River at the Wanstead Tap on Friday evening

It’s been an amazing Fringe week with an awesome range of cultural events – nearly every event has been sold out – and today is the day it reaches its climax. Events today include:

    • There are more than 130 stalls for the Jumble Trail (compared to last year’s 47, which was itself a record).  It runs from noon until 4pm. Printed maps of the trail are available to be picked up from More Italy, the Oxfam Bookshop, and La Bakerie – and you can see a mobile-friendly Google Map version of the trail including some stall details by going to

    • A workshop for writers wanting to learn the dark arts of fictional crime, hosted by author Isabelle Grey at Wanstead Library

    • Geoff Wilkinson is leading another photo walk (sorry – sold out)

    • A recital entitled Sea Pictures by international performers mezzo-soprano Ulrike Wutscher and  pianist Marzia Hudajorova, which will include music by Schubert, Lehmann, Robert and Clara Schumann and which will be followed by a cream tea. This will take place in Christ Church from 2pm, and tickets are available on the door, priced £15 for adults and £12 for concessions.

    • Events taking place on Christ Church Green, including a barbecue run by the Duke

    • Wanstead’s first ever Comedy for Children with Britain’s Got Talent star Johnny Awsum (a few tickets left at the time of writing)

    • The mighty mighty Kinema – for many people the highlight of the Fringe – returns with Paddington 2 (sorry – completely sold out)

    • The traditional acoustic night featuring local talent, at the Manor House from 7.45pm (details here). We haven’t made a huge deal of this yet but the line-up is fantastic, including The Boxer Rebellion,  Gordon Taggert, Ali MacQueen and Mick Terry, whose new album is out, including this single:

    • And then to round things off, a Pop-Up Party Disco night at the Cuckfield, and DJ Mollywood at Luppolo.

After all that, it’s time for a deep breath.

And then on Sunday from 11am there’s the event which was the original inspiration for the fringe,  the Wanstead Festival on Christ Church Green.

This is your year to get involved in the Wanstead Fringe.

The event, the sixth, will be taking place between 8 -15 September, and will feature many of the favourite events such as the Jumble Trail, Kinema, comedy, live music and talks. There will also be some never-seen-before events to make it the biggest and best Fringe yet.

The Fringe is put together by a group of Wanstead residents who have the single goal of encouraging and supporting cultural activities in Wanstead. It’s a not-for-profit organisation, generously sponsored this year by a noble triumvirate of Petty Son and Prestwich, Edwards Duthie solicitors and THP accountants.

But it only happens because people get involved in staging their own events – and now is the time for you to organise one. That talk you’ve always wanted to give, or that workshop, or play, show or gig. Whatever it is, Fringe organisers can help with venues, advice, and certainly with publicity. With something like this, it’s the more the merrier.

Get in touch through the Wanstead Fringe site , follow it on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up to become a patron of the Fringe at the Patreon crowdfunding site.  As ever, full details of the Fringe will be published here on Wansteadium.

But now is the time to get organising and get in touch.


Wansteadium decompressed last week following the Fringe, which was a great success all round, with many events selling out. The Wanstead Kinema once again was an atmospheric triumph, as the picture above demonstrates, and the whole week was a great demonstration of the potential of Wanstead for cultural revival.

Anyone who would like to be involved in planning next year’s Fringe, please do get in touch with the Wanstead Fringe Association at

Giles Wilson, chair of the association, said: “It takes a village to raise a fringe – so thanks to everyone who was involved either as a venue host, an event organiser, an attendee, a sponsor – Petty Son and Prestwich and Edwards Duthie especially – or as a member of the Friends of the Wanstead Fringe. Thanks also to Wansteadium for its stalwart support.*

“This was the biggest and best Fringe yet, and we’re determined to make 2018 even better. But we need people to join in – and now would be a good time to express interest (not least because we’ll hold you to it).”

*private joke

A great Fringe Thursday saw sell-out crowds in three places at once across Wanstead. Here are some of the images:

Squeeze’s Chris Difford talks to Dan Clapton at the Wanstead Tap in a sell-out event

Sinnerman Paul Sinha regales another sell-out crowd at the Wanstead Comedy Night at the Golf Club

Vincenzo Cossari at a packed More Italy reveals secrets of Olive Oil

A couple of images from earlier in the week – the coffee tasting workshop at Bare Brew

More from Bare Brew

Friday’s Fringe activities are almost under way ATOW.

*Two Jingle Bop sessions took place in the Cherry Tree, thanks to Fringe stalwart Suzi Harnett.

*The pop-up restaurant by Ali Noor, also in the Cherry Tree, is a sell-out and is setting up now.

*Jazz night with Martin Wheatley and Julie McKee is starting at the Wanstead Tap at 7.30pm. Just a few tickets left.

*The traditional and celebrated Fringe Acoustic Night, featuring Mick Terry, Ben Kelly, David Bird, James Healey and more besides will take place in the Manor House from 8.15. Free entry.

*A cocktail night at the Duke will feature the intriguing story of Hackney Downs-based vodka producers Our/Vodka.

A few words about Saturday

*Fringe favourite Tree Yoga – meet Kat at the Cherry Tree for yoga on the park – and help raise money to plant more trees. Meet at 10am.

*JUMBLE TRAIL – Nearly 50 stalls will be joining in the 2017 Fringe Jumble Trail. Here is a map for your reference, but you can also see a live map on your mobile at the Jumble Trail site… The weather forecast seems to be improving all the time, so a good day should be in store.

*Young musicians will play on Wanstead High Street around lunchtime.

*The Taste of Wanstead will take place on Christ Church Green at 2pm. Details here. It will be followed by a pre-Kinema BBQ for all those lucky enough to have Kinema tickets.

*The KINEMA – for many the highlight of the Fringe – swings back into action from 6.30. Bring something warm, something waterproof (just in case) and something to sit on. If it’s pouring, it will be held inside. But we don’t want to do that! We want another amazing Kinema evening.

*Ollie and Alex will round off a packed day with live music at the Nightingale.

*The Wanstead Festival – the event which gave the Fringe its inspiration – takes place on Christ Church Green on Sunday from 11am to 6pm – free entry.