Bradford Fringe Festival is back with a bang, packing punches from the likes of Armando Iannucci and Drag Race UK Stars Tayce & A’Whora.

Bradford Fringe Festival (BFF) is launching into its third year on Saturday 3rd of July with local punk poet group Poetry’s Not F**king Boring, followed by a programme of inclusive comedy with Laugh-Able, the UK’s leading showcase for talented comedians with disabilities and mental health conditions, radical mathematical theatre from ANTS Theatre and Marcus du Sautoy and ‘Art In’t Park’ featuring De Nada Dance Theatre and Spin Arts.

After a year spent hosting a virtual stage, BFF is now once again taking over the city’s independent venues. This July the festival is bringing its energetic programme of theatre, comedy, dance and poetry back to festival-goers across the district. BFF hopes to reignite people’s passion for live work by bringing show-stopping performances that will provide a sense of freedom, catharsis that will bring back to Bradford, the exhilarating experiences that audiences and artists have all been missing.

A highlight for opening week, on Tuesday 6th July, the festival welcomes Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK Superstars Tayce & A’Whora for an evening of cheek, nerve, gall and gumption at St George’s Hall. Bradford Fringe are thrilled to be the Welsh lip-sync assassin, beans on toast lover and season 2 finalist, Tayce alongside Final 5 Shade Slaying Fashionista, The Willy Wonka Wannabe, A’Whora. Tickets go on sale Friday 16th of April on Bradford Theatres website.

Another event not to be missed, taking place on Thursday 15th of July will see Oscar nominated Satirist, Armando Iannuci joining Bradford Fringe virtually in conversation with Bradford Filmmaker Javaad Alipoor discussing film, screen and politics alongside a live Q&A with the audience.

Armando Iannucci is a writer and broadcaster who has written, directed, and produced numerous critically acclaimed films, television and radio comedy shows. His screenplay for the film 'In The Loop' was nominated for an Oscar in 2009 and his iconic BBC series 'The Thick of It' was nominated for 13 BAFTA Awards, winning 5 of these during its four series run. Among his own award-winning shows, he is also the co-creator and writer of the popular Steve Coogan character Alan Partridge.

Armando's HBO comedy 'Veep' has picked up numerous awards, including four Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series over the last four years. His film adaptation of Charles Dickens' 'The Personal History of David Copperfield' was released in January 2020, which that year won Best Screenplay at BIFA, was also nominated for a Golden Globe, and won a 'Seal of Distinction' from the US Critics' Choice Association.

In 2017 he published 'Hear Me Out', a new book on classical music, and released the feature film 'The Death of Stalin', which was nominated for 2 BAFTAs and won Best Comedy at the European Film Awards.

His latest HBO series, 'Avenue 5', which stars Hugh Laurie and Josh Gad, aired on SKY in January 2020, and he has now commenced upon writing the second series.

Javaad Alipoor is an artist, writer and Artistic Director of The Javaad Alipoor Company. He is a former ACE Changemaker and was Resident Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres (2017/18) where he directed a new adaptation of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest for The Crucible, and prior to this was Associate Director at Theatre in the Mill from 2015 to 2017.

In 2017, Javaad began writing a trilogy of plays about how technology, resentment and fracturing identities are changing the world. The Believers Are But Brothers (2017) opened in Edinburgh where it won a Fringe First Award, before transferring to London’s Bush Theatre. It has toured nationally and internationally, and in 2019 was commissioned for television by the BBC and The Space, and adapted and produced by the Company as its first screen project. The play’s sequel – Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran (2019) – premiered at the Traverse Theatre, winning a Fringe First Award. Its London transfer and subsequent national tour was postponed by Covid-19, inspiring the creation of a new digital version for online audiences. This version went on to tour online, including at the Public Theater's Under The Radar festival and Sundance Film Festival

As well as these star-studded guests, the festival is immensely proud to be showcasing local talent and works such as Thyme Cafe by Kerry Wright, The Bull and The Moon by Carlos Pons-Guerra of DaNada Dance Theatre, Khoogi by Kauser Mukhtar and Mythical Beasts by Cecil Green Arts. Created in Bradford in 2020 and funded by Bradford Producing Hub, Laura Brooks, Bradford Fringe Director says “Bradford Producing Hub are doing a fantastic job supporting artists to produce live performances in the city and it’s a privilege to premiere four new productions created in our city”.

As well as supporting local artists and creatives, the festival is not-for-profit and is this year collaborating with Bradford and Keighley Pride. Profits made from the live show at St George’s Hall will be donated in support of both Pride events in 2021, and with the help and generosity of our amazing guest Armando, we are also able to donate funds to Bradford charity Nightstop. There will also be a night dedicated to supporting male mental health with up-and-coming theatre piece A Mighty Fall From Grace by Jake Thompson and The Rag and Bone Man Comedy Show hosted by Graeme Rayner, with proceeds from both shows going to support a local male mental charity. Part of BFF’s vision is to support charities and great causes in any way possible, by means of sharing profits and experiences in order to support and give back to the wider community.

Highlights from the Bradford Fringe Festival programme:

  • Tayce X A’Whora Live - at St George’s Hall.
  • In Conversation with Armando Iannucci hosted by filmmaker Javaad Alipoor.
  • Debut performances from Kauser Mukhtar with Khoogi and Thyme Cafe by Kerry Wright.
  • A night dedicated to supporting male mental health with up-and-coming theatre piece A Mighty Fall From Grace by Jake Thompson and a Rag and Bone Man Comedy Show hosted by Graeme Rayner.
  • Mathematical Experimental Theatre with ANTS Theatre and Author of The Creativity Code, Professor Marcus du Sautoy.
  • Lockdown Live Lounge from Lava Elastic - The UK’s leading neurodiverse performance night.
  • An incredible evening of entertainment that spans the decades - Opening with a 70’s Disco Diva Show hosted by Bradford legend Marigold Addams, followed by Recall, an 80’s themed immersive theatre experience from Falling Stars Theatre Company, accumulating in 90’s Indie night, Resurrection.
  • A 5 day outdoor arts in the park tour, taking in Keighley, Saltaire, West Bowling, Manningham and Bradford Moor with Dance performances by Spin Arts and De Nada Dance Theatre, Puppetry from Cecil Green Arts and the opportunity to get sustainably creative with The Rubbish Clowns from No Outcome Arts.

Laura Brooks, co-founder and festival director said: “We are really looking forward to BradfordFringe 2021 and we're really hoping that covid doesn’t get in the way of us providing what we think is going to be a hilarious and electrifying month of pure comedy, theatre and performance delight. The festival is a grassroots event, and is self organised by volunteers in Bradford, by and for the people, and we hope people will be excited and inspired by the programme.”