THE organisers behind the Swindon Fringe Festival credited the town’s supportive community and appetite for cultural events with making their event a success.

Budding actress Mollie Campbell joined the festival’s organising committee in 2015 after moving to Swindon from Hong Kong with her partner and was overjoyed to find plenty of appreciation for art and culture.

She said: “I only ever knew Swindon as a town where my aunt lived so when my partner and I first moved here, we explored as much of it as we could and I was surprised to see there was a fringe festival, it really appealed to me,

“Swindon is brilliant, it has so much to offer for so many different niches but no-one talks about it loud enough and I felt like my mission was to shout about it as much as possible so that people knew that art does happen here, it’s not a cultural wasteland, it has plenty of things happening.

“This festival helps nurture local talent and gives people with new ideas a chance - we’ve seen shows start out as support acts here and go on to headline at Edinburgh.

“Venues like the Brunel, the Victoria, Artsite and Swindon Dance have been incredibly supportive. We and our technicians do this unpaid because we love the arts.”

Playwright Matt Fox founded the first Swindon Fringe Festival in 2013 after being surprised by the high turnout for Swindon The Opera, which he helped create, at STEAM the year before.

He said: “I thought no-one would come but we could have sold out three times over, it went really well and I got the impression that Swindon might be interested in more cultural events like that. One of the problems was that that audience wasn’t clearly visible but it did exist, and the people here are down-to-earth and unpretentious.

“I told Barrie Hudson about my idea for the festival and five months later I’d pulled together a long weekend of shows written by my friends because we didn’t know anyone else. Seven years on, we get people from Swindon, the UK and abroad performing and our audience numbers keep going up.

“I don’t think I’d have been so successful anywhere else. Swindon’s small and supportive community gave me the opportunity to try out new things that I wouldn’t have been able to do in London or Bristol, where you can easily get lost in the crowd and hiring venues is more expensive. Now my work’s done all over the world but it started here so this town is really important to me, I can’t thank it enough.”

The festival returns from April 5 to 14. Visit