In May 2020 ‘UK Grad2020 Fringe Festival’ was launched once the first national Lockdown was announced. 2020 Graduates lost out on so many opportunities, including final year performances cancelled, with drama schools having no option but to move online, not to mention entering an industry that came to a painful halt.
After chatting via social media (though never meeting in person) Alice Croft and Liam Gartland wanted to create a platform and safe space for graduates to continue, create and connect through the unpredictable time we found ourselves in.
The Fringe Festival was more than the team had ever anticipated, with over 300 graduates involved, performing to a wide audience across a variety of social media platforms.
In July 2020, the festival made such an impact on so many graduates across the UK, that Liam and Alice founded The Grad Fest. Over the past six months the team have worked so hard to continue to create as many performance opportunities as possible: The Reunion, Spooktacular, Next Thing You Know and Grad Tidings along with countless online opportunities, too.
We are so thankful for the response the industry has given to this brand new company. The encouragement and support we have gained from so many professionals is spellbinding, many of which now hold a very special place in our hearts.
On Tuesday 15th December 2020, the government announced the closure of theatres across London, with many other regional theatre having to close their doors earlier over the festive period; however, we were very lucky to have been welcomed by Southwark Playhouse to hold their final live performance of 2020. Our community is left with a heavy heart, as we are still trying to find a light at the end of the tunnel. But there are a number of creatives who will continue to not let this defeat us. This is not a ‘goodbye’ to theatre but a ‘see you soon’.
For any graduate who may feel alone during this time, we want you to know that we are here to support you, to chat and to guide you in the right direction.
2020 has been a very uncertain year, but The Grad Fest are eagerly planning away for 2021 and we cannot wait to share our plans with you all. We will be back and we will conquer.
For now, we would like to wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas and we can’t wait to work with you all again in 2021.
With love and best wishes,
Liam, Alice and the rest of the The Grad Fest team.