Easter is sure to get Swindon’s shoppers ‘hopping excited’ with a busy line-up of events throughout the school holidays, including exclusive international performers and workshops as part of Swindon Fringe Festival.

Starting with Easter weekend, on Friday 30 March and Saturday 31 March, the Easter Bunny will be hopping into the shopping centre to greet children and to give out free Easter treats  The Easter Bunny will be meeting children and handing out Easter gifts at intervals between 11am and 3pm on the upper level of The Brunel Plaza, between Marks & Spencer and Boots.  Children will also be able to attend free craft sessions on the lower level of The Arcade between 10.30 am and 3.30pm.

Friday 6 April sees the Swindon Fringe Festival start in style at The Crossing, The Brunel Centre’s new food hub.  Swindon Fringe is an annual 12-day festival of performing arts, with over 40 performances and acts ranging from films and plays to spoken word performances, poetry, comedy and family theatre.

Swinge 2018 Opening Night takes place from 7pm at The Crossing and will feature live music from Gilmore n’ Jaz and Canutes Plastic Army, plus stand-up comedy from the award-winning Tony Cowards.  Opening Night is free to attend and The Crossing’s food outlets will be open for people to be able to enjoy some food at the same time.

Across the rest of the week, there is a packed line-up of performances, workshops and family fun, including a number of acts travelling across the world just for Swindon Fringe Festival.

El Diablo of the Cards is an award-winning magician and clown who is travelling from Brazil to Swindon exclusively for Swindon Fringe Festival.  El Diablo has thrilled audiences across the world with his unique card and magic style that combines improvisation, a clown’s foolishness and amazing magic skills.  As well as a performance on 14 April at 10.30am in The Brunel, El Diablo will also be holding a magic workshop at 11am on 9 April, suitable for budding magicians aged 8 – 16 years.

Also coming from across the pond will be juggler and San Franciscan multidisciplinary theatre artist Madi Worthington.  On 9 April from 1pm until 2pm Madi will be leading a workshop for all abilities to learn how to keep scarves, balls and even clubs in the air.  Madi will also be performing later on in the Fringe as part of the San Francisco Shelton Theatre, which will be putting on two shows, Nowhere Man on 14 April 2018 at 2.30pm at the Phoenix Theatre, New College, and the Lady Killers on 15 April 2018 at 7.30pm at Town Hall Theatre, Regents Circus.

Music is also high on creative agenda at The Brunel.  On 11 April from 11am until 12pm there will be classical music for all to enjoy from Yvette Cummings, who will also be performing the world premiere of locally inspired songs ‘From the Vale of the White Horse’ by Jeff Joseph.  On 13 April between 3pm and 4pm, native New Yorker Damon T will be performing a free foot-stompingly good Americana and Blues show on his blues guitar, and on Sunday 15 Flame&Co will be giving a show-stopping flamenco guitar performance.

New to this year’s Fringe are two days of arts and crafts workshops by John Richie.  Taking place on 10 and 12 April between 10am and 4pm there are two exciting projects to take part in.

In ‘Post-a-Picture’, attendees will create your own postcard masterpiece, with the opportunity to  have your postcard sent to a random person and receive a random one back.  There will also be a ‘Swindon Fringe Festival Wall’ where people can recreate their face to build a wall of those who have attended the Fringe.

Jane Stewart, Deputy Manager of The Brunel, said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Swindon Fringe Festival to The Brunel and we’re looking forward to the wide variety of excellent workshops and performances that will be taking place in both The Brunel Arcade and The Crossing.  All of these are free of charge and ideal for families looking for great entertainment over the school holiday.”

The Swindon Fringe Festival started in 2013 and is organised by Matt Fox, who in 2012 wrote the acclaimed sell-out show, Swindon: The Opera.

Matt said: “This is the sixth Swindon Fringe Festival and in this time it has built up an excellent international reputation on the fringe circuit and so we can bring the best international acts to Swindon for people to enjoy.

“Everyone, performers and audience alike, enjoy coming to Swindon Fringe and for the performers this is often the start of their Fringe tours, which will culminate in the big shows in Edinburgh and Camden, so this is a great chance for the people of Swindon to see the headliners early.”

All of these events are free to attend and booking is not required.  For more information visit Swindon Fringe Festival’s website at www.swindonfringefestival.com or www.thebrunel.co.uk.  All events held at The Crossing and in The Arcade at The Brunel and are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thebrunel.

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