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Greater Manchester Fringe Festival 2022: five gigs you won’t want to miss at the July arts event

There’s everything from hard-hitting drama to locally-shot feature films to events for children.

The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival is back and preparing to fill the month of July with a spectacular celebration of arts and culture.

More than 100 events are on the packed programme for the 2022 edition of the Fringe, which is now in its 11th year.

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Shows and premieres are being staged at venues across the city-region from 1 July to 31 July with everything from drama, comedy and music to mime, puppetry and walking tours on the bill,

We’ve taken a look at the calendar and picked out five shows we don’t think you’ll want to miss out on.

What’s on at the 2022 Greater Manchester Fringe Festival?

Organisers are promising a hugely-varied schedule of different artforms and shows throughout the entire month of July.

The programme includes children’s shows, storytelling, visual arts, spoken word and running tours among an array of hard-hitting drama and rib-tickling comedy.

The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival has become known as something of a hotbed for developing new talent, with many shows premiering in the city-region then going on to events at the likes of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Organisers also say that making culture as accessible as possible is also important, with efforts to keep ticket prices low and put on a selection of free events too.

The festival has also gained something of a reputation for taking art out of the usual spaces, with shows previously taking place in camper vans, tents, Roman forts and even a crypt.

To browse through everything that’s on and book tickets for any of the events, visit the official website here.

Five shows on the schedule

Bessie, at Midnight Alone - The premiere of a new one-woman play starring Janelle Thompson which is being brought to the Fringe by Manchester-based company Blue Masque Theatre.

Written by Mancunian playwright Derek Martin, it tells the story of a harlot waiting outdoors for a late client before jumping around the centuries, refusing to be pinned down by fixed ideas of time and space.

Bessie, at Midnight Alone

It’s on at the Salford Arts Theatre from Thursday 14 July to Saturday 16 July at 7.30pm, with tickets £10 at full price and £8 for concessions.

Garry Starr: Greece Lightning - Comedian Garry Starr returns with a hilarious attempt to perform the whole of Greek mythology in less than 60 minutes to save a Hellenic homeland from economic ruin.

A winner at the Adelaide Fringe 2022, this show is on at The Kings Arms Theatre from Monday 18 to Friday 22nd July at 7pm, with tickets priced £12 and £9.

After Shark - Lita Doolan’s play is based on actual events that start when a rare Greenland Shark, which has not been seen in British waters for nine years, is spotted on a Cornish beach.

What follows jolts environmentalists and locals alike as protests, insurrection and breaking the law all occur.

After Shark

This is a digital event available to view for free through the whole of July.

The Forgotten - Oldham Coliseum associate artists Dare to Know Theatre present a new play looking at the difficult and harrowing subject of the abuse of vulnerable people.

It tells the story of George, an early-onset dementia sufferer who moves into a new care facility, and the trauma that the experience brings up for him as he tries to speak about what the care staff are doing. The play also raises thought-provoking questions about what the truth of George’s allegations is.

This is being performed at Salford Arts Theatre on Saturday 9 July at 7.30pm, with tickets priced £7 and £5.

Double Life: A VR Musical - Award-winning leo&hyde are preparing to take Manchester audiences on a dazzling trip into the world of virtual reality with their innovative new musical.

Gay gamer Guy is looking for love using VR and will take audiences wearing their own headsets on an immersive trip through technology and music in which he surrounds you with his virtual world and shares his favourite high-tech games.

This unusual experience is being put on at Whitworth Locke from Wednesday 20 July to Thursday 28 July and a range of time slots can be booked. Tickets are £14 and £12.50 for concessions.

What has been said about this year’s festival?

Lisa Connor, director of The Greater Manchester Fringe, said: “Some of the greatest performers, actors, poets, bands, artists and creative writers have come from the North West, so it is fitting to have our Fringe Festival in Greater Manchester as a host for exciting, emerging talent.

“We can’t wait to see all the exciting shows lined up.”