The show must go on!
Making your place the Main Stage in 2020
What happened 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 Wandsworth Arts Fringe (WAF), in order to protect the wellbeing of its artists, audiences, community, and partners.
Since September 2019, hundreds of local and international artists were preparing for 2020’s edition of the festival, which has been the jewel in Wandsworth’s cultural calendar for over a decade. 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 couldn't take place as planned, the Fringe spirit remained strong! Since the lockdown period began, WAF artists have been their typical ambitious, passionate and innovative selves, and were busily developing or adapting work for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own armchair.
WAF 2020 took 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. In 2020, this included us all, and it is from our longstanding commitment to championing artists and helping make their work accessible to as many art-lovers as possible, that the festival could continue.
WAF in your Living Room was 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.
Last May, we launched a new digital platform to showcase a variety of projects. These included 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 were also Do-It-Yourself offers to kickstart your creativity, including dance workshops, sketching masterclasses, and even an opera and movement class.
Suitable for all ages and artistic tastes, the programme ran between 8 – 24 May 2020.
Content from local artists and partners will continue to be hosted and promoted throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period on our channels, so you can continue to enjoy the latest content by local artists and organisations, broadcast from their living rooms to yours.
Like many festivals, we could have postponed the festival entirely until 2021, 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.
During 2020, our connection and collaboration as a community has been vital, and the unique ways in which art helps us express what matters to us as individuals, families, and communities, invaluable.
The prospect of WAF not going ahead was of course unthinkable in March 2020, 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 that residents, artists, organisations and community groups have already invested in the festival, and cannot wait to be with you in person again in 2021.