WAF In Your Living Room

The show must go on!

Make your place the Main Stage this May

What’s happening to WAF 2020?

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, on 20 March 2020 it was with a heavy heart that Wandsworth Council announced the cancellation of this year’s Wandsworth Arts Fringe (WAF), in order to protect the wellbeing of its artists, audiences, community, and partners.

Since last September, hundreds of local and international artists have been preparing for this year’s edition of the festival, which has been the jewel in Wandsworth’s cultural calendar for eleven years. With around 150 events in the programme, WAF 2020 was set to be another jaw-dropping example of what WAF does best: cutting-edge theatre and comedy, exquisite music concerts, art exhibitions, experimental performance art, outdoor art extravaganzas, and everything in between, all taking place in a surprising variety of venues across the borough.

But while the festival cannot take place as planned, the Fringe spirit remains strong and the show must go on! Since the lockdown period began, WAF artists have been their typical ambitious, passionate and innovative selves, and have been busily developing or adapting work for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own armchair.

Make your place the Main Stage

WAF 2020 will now take place as ‘WAF In Your Living Room’, an existing strand of the WAF programme that was introduced a couple of years ago as a provision for housebound audiences. This of course now includes us all, and it is from our longstanding commitment to champion artists and help make their work accessible to as many art-lovers as possible that the festival will continue. This year, your living room will become The Main Stage, and your sofa The Front Row!

Just as usual, WAF in your Living Room will be the place to catch the hottest new talent and find some inspiration, light relief and a bit of escapism, to keep you and your family stimulated, creative and laughing during lockdown.

From 8 May, this website will host a new digital platform to showcase a variety of projects. These will include livestreams and recordings of the freshest theatre productions, online murder mystery games, visual art and creative storytelling to transport you and the kids away to distant times and places. There will also be a Do-It-Yourself offering to kickstart your creativity, including dance workshops, sketching masterclasses, and even an opera and movement class (maybe do something nice for your neighbours afterwards!)

How can I tune in?

Suitable for all ages and artistic tastes, the programme will run on this website between 8 – 24 May 2020. Due to the exceptional circumstances, artists are rapidly developing or adapting their work for the festival. Further details of their events will be announced on this website on 1 May 2020.

Stay updated:

Additional content from local artists and partners will continue to be hosted and promoted on this website throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period, so you can continue to enjoy the latest content by local artists and organisations, broadcast from their living rooms to yours. 

Why WAF matters more than ever

Like many festivals, we could have postponed the festival entirely until next year, when we can all be together in person again. But WAF has always had, and always will have, the people who make up Wandsworth at the heart of everything it does.

Now, more than ever, our connection and collaboration as a community is vital, and the unique ways in which art helps us express what matters to us as individuals, families, and communities, will be invaluable. 

The prospect of WAF not going ahead was of course unthinkable only a few weeks ago, when thousands of beautiful new festival brochures were delivered hot off the press to our offices, ready to be distributed across the city (these have since been recycled!). We are immensely grateful for all the hard work and resources residents, artists, organisations and community groups have already invested in the festival, and cannot wait to be with you in person again in 2021. But we are also incredibly excited to deliver WAF directly to you this year – closer to home than ever before and where it really matters.

Are you a local artist, creative producer, or arts organisation who has been involved with WAF before?

If you are a local creative practitioner or arts organisation that has participated in WAF before, we would be delighted to talk to you about whether any elements of your WAF project could feature in this programme. Please get in touch with Wandsworth Arts Fringe Producer, Cath Mattos, as soon as possible on cath.mattos@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk

Artists participating in Wandsworth Arts Fringe 2020 will receive full refund of their registration fee and recipients of WAF grants have received their awards in full.

The team is working hard to support local artists and cultural organisations with the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their practices and businesses. Please get in touch with arts@wandsworth.gov.uk if you are being affected and would like advice on what support might be available. A list of support currently available to arts organisations is also available on the Council website.