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Drug resistance, Disability and Drama: The Sick of the Fringe comes to London

17 January 2017


The Sick of the Fringe presents a weekend festival of theatre, performance and ideas exploring the connections between health and art in London from 17-19 February 2017. From subversive hip hop to sound therapy to drag cabaret, over 30 events will take place across four central London venues: Wellcome Collection, Camden People’s Theatre, Conway Hall and The Place.

Following two successful summers championing science and medicine at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Sick of the Fringe (TSOTF) is expanding to bring its unique collaborative programming to new places and spaces, to spark debate in the heart of London.

TSOTF London will feature a diverse line-up of Fringe artists old and new whose work places the human body, with all its problems and possibilities, front and centre stage. Performers including Jess Thom (Tourette’s Hero), Le Gateau Chocolat and FK Alexander will entertain and provoke with shows, talks, music and workshops inspired by health, illness and everything in between.

At Wellcome Collection, a new commission from sequin-clad satire artists Bourgeois & Maurice will explore sex and drug-resistant infections, using musical comedy and guest experts. Objects in the Medicine Man gallery will be subject to a post-colonial critique by Kim Bowers, aka Busty Beatz of Hot Brown Honey, a standout show from 2016’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. With the Fringe itself turning 70 this year, seven comedians spanning seven decades, from 14-year-old Grace the Former Child to octogenarian Lynn Ruth Miller, will each have seven minutes to talk about growing old disgracefully.

Commissioned by Wellcome, TSOTF London is conceived by artist, performer and Wellcome Engagement Fellow Brian Lobel. It is co-directed by Tracy Gentles of In Company Collective, who have developed and produced the programme.

Brian Lobel said: “The performances and conversations in The Sick of the Fringe are all at once overwhelming, disparate, funny, traumatic and sexy, just like our human bodies can be. We are thrilled to be coming to London, opening exciting possibilities for performers and allowing ideas to thrive in new ways and new spaces.”

Other highlights include a musical about depression My Beautiful Black Dog by Brigitte Aphrodite, Liz Richardson’s solo show Gutted based on her experience living with colitis, and a comedy about incontinence, Gusset Grippers, from pelvic health physiotherapist Elaine Miller.

TSOTF will also run events aimed at performers, including Starring Your Pain, which will feature an expert panel discussing the implications for making autobiographical work about health, trauma or the body.

David Cahill Roots, Arts Manager at Wellcome, said: “In just two years The Sick of the Fringe has built an enviable reputation for bringing together artists and audiences for the most wide-ranging conversations about health. But the Edinburgh Fringe shouldn’t be the only place you can find the likes of Gusset Grippers alongside Bourgeois & Maurice. Bringing the spirit of the festival to London gives us another chance to hear these unique and vital voices.”

TSOTF London runs from 17–19 February 2017 at Wellcome Collection, Conway Hall, The Place and Camden People’s Theatre.

The full programme is available from The Sick of the Fringe website.

Events at Wellcome Collection are free but some are ticketed. Tickets can be booked from the event page from 27 January.

For further press information and images please contact:

Emily Philippou, Media Manager

T +44 (0)20 7611 8726 | E e.philippou@wellcome.ac.uk 


Natalie Hodgson, Media Officer

T +44 (0)207 611 7290 | E n.hodgson@wellcome.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

Wellcome Collection is the destination for the incurably curious. Located at 183 Euston Road, London, it explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. The newly expanded venue offers visitors contemporary and historic exhibitions and collections, lively public events, the world-renowned library, a café, a shop, a restaurant and conference facilities as well as publications, tours, a book prize and international and digital projects. Wellcome Collection celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2017.

Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. Both politically and financially independent, we support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.

In Company Collective work in arts development, collaborating with mid-career artists and activists concerned with raising awareness and discussion around taboo issues, such as, mental health, assisted suicide, sex, race and ageing. We build resources, contexts and networks, nurturing organisations and arts managers, aiming for systemic change towards a more diverse, care-focused and socially conscientious sector. Current supported artists include Split Britches, Le Gateau Chocolat, Liz Carr and Brian Lobel.