Maddie is an award-winning feminist theatre maker
and local activist. Madz created FemFest after becoming frustrated by the male dominated fringe landscape. She wanted to create the antidote to
this with FemFest.
Annie is an established Director, Playwright and Copywriter in Brighton. Annie has been the brains behind multiple award-winning shows as well as being a very talented writer in her own right.
Bertie is a multi-award-winning performer and theatre-maker. They bring a brilliant and crucial insight of the queer theatre landscape and what changes need to be made within the industry to accommodate for queer artists to ensure their needs are met.
Sally has been a mainstay of the Femfest team since 2021. Sally has created a lasting brand for FemFest with our distinctive pink flamingo. Sally is also an artist and creative workshop leader and she brings an electric creativity to all of FemFest's design work.
Jesse and Maddie have been working in partnership since 2019. They formed a bond over their mutual passion to create female-run fringe spaces with excellent communication and no gatekeeping. Jesse has worked with FemFest since it's inception to ensure artists don't feel intimidated when putting their shows on.
We are delighted to be hosting FemFest 2023 at The Actors. The pub's mission statement is "to provide a safe, welcoming space for everyone". We are so excited to be bringing the festival to such an inclusive space which has such a rich history of championing new and marginalised voices in the arts and for creating safer spaces for LGBTQIA+ folks
We have worked with The Feminist Bookshop since 2021 where we run a poetry night annually during the week of the festival. Their space is a haven for feminist and socially-conscious groups in the city and we are so pleased to count them as part of the Femfest family.
Set up in 1975, Switchboard has been listening to and informing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in Brighton & Hove and beyond. Originally a helpline they have developed additional services to meet the needs of the LGBTQIA+ communities. 2023 will be our first year working with Switchboard and we are really excited to showcase outstanding LGBTQ creative work for their service users and being a loud advocate and promoter of the great work the charity does in the city.
The Rape Crisis Centre for Sussex, based in Brighton. Survivors' Network is an inclusive charity which offers support and help for survivors of domestic abuse and violence. We have worked with the charity since Femfest's inception in 2020 and have fundraised for them throughout the festival. This partnership is a major contributing factor to why we run the festival annually as our financial support for them and the chance to give our audiences the tools and empowerment to access the charity is at the heart of the festival.
FemFest is an antidote to the white-cis-het-male dominated fringe theatre landscape of the UK.
The festival takes place over the week of
International Women's Day. We are inclusive of all marginalised gender identities including but not limited to: trans women, trans men, trans feminine and masculine people, people who identify as trans, non-binary, genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, bigender, two-spirit and any other gender non-conforming identities. Trans-exclusionary or gender-critical language and behaviour is not tolerated here.
Our founder, Maddie Ross, has worked extensively across Brighton & Edinburgh Fringe since 2016. In 2020, she was uninspired by the lack of female, non-binary and trans involvement in decision-making at fringe festivals. She was (and still is) disappointed by the lack of accessibility and safeguarding for audiences carried out by fringe venues across the industry. Frustrated by the lack of a safe and accessible fringe festival, she decided to set up FemFest.
FemFest is Brighton's only fringe arts festival run by and for women, non-binary and trans people. Since its launch in 2020 we have seen FemFest grow exponentially, 2023 has been our biggest year yet, seeing us move to our new home, The Actors. A venue with a long history of championing and centering queer narratives. We held 17 events across our 2023 festival and also launched our Early Career Artist scheme. FemFest hosts multiple art disciplines including cabaret, comedy, theatre, workshops, life drawing and more.
One of our aims is to ensure that the arts are not gate-kept from our audiences or artists. Here's how we try to facilitate this:
For our audiences:
Providing fundraised free tickets for those with economic barriers, as well as service users of our partner charities
Offering a tiered ticket structure (£5 - £15) to ensure that our artists are paid fairly whilst giving all audience members a chance to enjoy FemFest
Holding some of our events downstairs at The Actors (where possible)
Offering transparent and clear content and trigger warnings to all events, from ticket-buying right up to their entrance into the event space
For our artists:
We make sure there are no registration fees for our artists - allowing them to take part in the festival without a significant risk to their finances. All print and technical costs are deducted from ticket sale payouts to eliminate upfront costs to artists
We welcome anyone from the female, non-binary and trans community to take part in the festival and ensure that our programme is a platform for both established and emerging creators
We offer three artists an early career opportunity which gives them access to mentoring, free technical support, free printing, costume design support and access to networking opportunities with our large network of creatives