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The Wonderush Roundup: September

September is upon us again. It’s crazy how fast this year is going, and we’ll miss Summer. At the same time, though, we’re super excited for the season of jumpers, blankets, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (seriously, we’ve had at least one a day since they came out on September 1st and have only risen from our sugar coma because there’s so much cool stuff going on and we were getting FOMO). There’s some awesome stuff happening this month, so we thought we’d give you the rundown of some of the events that caught our eye.

Dinner at The Twits

Most people will remember the Twits. They were the gross pair in Roald Dahl’s eponymous book, who eventually got what was coming to them and ended up shrinking into nothing. Well, now they’re back and they’re inviting everyone to dinner. Share their questionable food, enjoy grizzly cocktails, and meet the man and woman themselves in this immersive experience from the people who brought us Alice’s Adventures Underground.

Proms in The Park

The Last Night of The Proms is an excuse for a little bit of pomp, ceremony, and Union Jack waving. While it’s quite tricky to get a seat in the Royal Albert Hall to experience the full ‘posh mosh pit’ effect in all of its (land of hope and) glory, anyone can buy a ticket to watch the spectacle on the big screen. Your neighbours will thank you for doing that instead of belting Jerusalem out loud in your living room. Um, if that’s what you do. Everyone does, right?

Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival

Have you ever wondered what the Thames would have looked like back in the day? And by ‘back in the day’ we do, of course, mean several hundred years ago. Well, now’s your chance to find out as Sail Royal Greenwich bring hundreds of awesome ships to the Thames. Whether you go as an onlooker, or actually opt to take a cruise on one of the vessels, it’s sure to be a spectacular day.

Future Fest

Do you ever wonder about the future? This is an ideal chance to hear from experts in all kinds of fields – from tech to the arts – about what it might look like. You’ll be able to hear talks on a huge range of topics, as well as sharing your opinions. There’ll also be installations and the chance to network and meet fellow future fans.

Astronomy Photographer of The Year

We think space is super cool, and we don’t care who knows it. When we’re stressed out and it feels like the world is conspiring against us, it’s nice to look up and remember exactly how small we really are. The photographs on display at the Greenwich Observatory are a great way to remember exactly how beautiful pretty much everything is. Y’know, if you were in need of a bit of inspiration.

The Museum Depot Open Weekend

The London Transport Museum is pretty great. But the thing is, London transport is really big, and they can’t fit everything they have into one little museum. There’s a depot in Acton where lots of brilliant (and mostly huge) articles are stored, and they’re throwing open the doors for one weekend in September. If you’ve ever wanted a behind-the-scenes peek at a bit of history, grab this chance.

Pearly Kings & Queens Harvest Festival

Everyone claims to be a proper Londoner, and it’s usually worth taking that with a pinch of salt. However, the Pearly Kings and Queens are the absolute real deal, and this September they hold their annual harvest festival. The event includes morris dancing, maypole dancing (not just a Spring thing!), marching bands, drummers, and lots of character.

Open House London

You know what our favourite hobby is? Besides all of the awesome activities we let you try, of course. It’s snooping. We bloody love it. There’s nothing better than looking around places you’re not normally allowed, but it tends to be more trouble (and definitely more illegal) than it’s worth. But with Open House London you can take a look around some of the most interesting buildings in the city without having to worry about being arrested for trespassing once.

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The Wonderush Review of Reviews: Part Two

We love our partners. We really do. And you guys do too, which is fantastic. We’ve been struck by the number of positive reviews you’ve been giving out, so we decided it was high time to showcase some of your favourites and an example of some of the love that they’re getting. You can find all of these guys running a whole range of awesome sessions, from acroyoga and cocktail-making classes, to super-fun workouts and crafty classes.

Uplifting Stunts

Acroyoga

Uplifting Stunts are an awesome husband and wife team who are on a mission to run inclusive and super-supportive classes that show people how to work together to form amazing shapes with their bodies. Check out their reviews:

“This was my first acroyoga class and I absolutely loved it! Really amazing experience, thank you Jayme and Rick – you wonderful teachers and humans!” -Boryana

“Amazing class can’t believe how much I learnt in 2 hours with great teachers! Would definitely recommend!” -Sarah

GOAT Chelsea

Cocktail Making

The guys at GOAT Chelsea run brilliant cocktail making classes, which combine practical skills with a heavy and very enjoyable element of tasting. Good times all round! Check out their reviews:

“Absolutely amazing night. Such a casual vibe with everyone just mucking in and enjoying themselves. You get to try all of the cocktails and the welcome cocktail was the bomb! We ate there afterwards too and the food was so good! Definitely recommend” -Pippa

“Such a fun evening!! Great location and teacher! Definitely recommend :)” -Christie

The London Bicycle Tour Company

Bicycle tour

The London Bicycle Tour Company run a range of bike rides around London, which are great for visitors and old-hands alike. You’ll get to see the city from a totally different perspective, and maybe even learn a little something. Check out their reviews:

“Great opportunity to try cycling in London! I was a little nervous at first – but it was super fun and felt safe cycling in a group! Our guide Tarik had loads of really interesting stories and it was a great way to experience the city. Highly recommend.” -Mel

“The tour guide Olly was witty, knowledgeable and passionate about his work. A very enjoyable morning ride around central London to rediscover the city I’ve been living in the past decade. :)” -David

Shake That Zumba

Zumba

Zumba is an amazing workout (hello, 500-1000 calories in an hour!) and Shake That Zumba are determined to make sure that it stays fun throughout. They guarantee to keep you smiling while you sweat. Check out their reviews:

“It was so much fun with the Steven, he’s absolutely crazy. Great exercise as well, can’t remember last time when I was sweating so much. Thanks!;)” -Angelika

“Fantastic! Absolute fantastic!. Steven is a fantastic instructor. This class is great fun for everyone. All shape, all age. It is a party and a really hard work. Left me buzzing with energy, happy and really really sore on muscles I didn’t know I even had.” -Agnes

Gabriela Szulman

Decoupage Taster

Once you’ve learned the art of decoupage, the world is basically your oyster whenever you decide you want to decorate something. From shoes to walls, Gabriela Szulman knows how to do it all. Check out her reviews:

“Really fun class and a good introduction to decoupage. Gabriela was a great instructor and had an excellent range of papers and inspiring projects to show what can be done with decoupage.” -Kirsten

“A great taster for trying decoupage. Artist Gabriela and her studio were both very nice. Highly recommended, especially for paper lovers.” -Pf

Have any of these whet your appetite? You can find all of these activities and thousands more on Wonderush. Why not pay a visit to one of our featured partners and add to their reviews. Don’t forget to let us know what you get up to!

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The Wonderush Spotlight: China Exchange

Sometimes there are days when we all need a little bit of inspiration, and there are only so many motivational quotes you can read, before you start to get a tiny bit bored. So what else can you do? You could stalk the people you admire online (we strongly discourage you from doing that in real life) or by up half of the ‘self help’ section of the nearest bookshop. Or, you can get yourself to China Exchange. As part of their Prudential series of speakers they invite people with “extraordinary lives and achievements” to take to the stage, talk about their experiences, and to answer questions. We’re talking people like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tessa Jowell, and Jude Law in their most recent season. With other activities like Orchestral Concerts and their upcoming wire rabbit making workshop they’re also offering you the chance to step out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons. Or, to put it another way, China Exchange are great, and we love what they’re setting out to do. As such, we couldn’t resist catching up with Becca, their co-ordinator, to find out more.

What’s the story behind China Exchange?

China Exchange had a royal opening in February 2015. Set up by Sir David Tang in the old BT Telephone Exchange building, China Exchange is a Chinese cultural exchange charity in the heart of Chinatown. Our aim is to host activities and events that stimulate a greater understanding of, and curiosity about China’s impact on the world. Hopefully I don’t need to explain why China is important (it’s the second largest economy, stupid!) and we think that having access to a better understanding of the country and culture is a positive thing. We don’t shove China down anyone’s throat – instead, we hold dance, concerts, exhibitions, pop-ups, talks and lectures, some focused completely on China and some not. We keep what we do accessible – most of our tickets are £10 and under. It’s a wonderful environment to be in!

Who is the best guest you’ve had for your Prudential Talks?

That’s a tough question! I’ve had 3 favourites so far: Alain De Botton, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cherie Blair. Each very different, and each incredibly inspirational, empowering, funny and warm. We get such a wide variety of speakers for the Prudential Series that there really is something for everyone.

Why would you recommend your activity?

I would recommend our activities because they offer an affordable way to experience new things and hear from extraordinary people.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

I can whistle and hum at the same time!

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I like to try different beers (I’m definitely a ‘craft beer’ head), watch live music and try new things. As it’s summer now, I’m making the most of beer gardens!

 What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?

I love my local area, Peckham Rye. There’s a brilliant brewery called Brick Brewery and you can get the best burgers in London there (honest!) from Slow Richies.

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

To go to india and stay in a national park and see a wild tiger! And then eat all the food.

What does the future have in store for China Exchange?

We’ve got an exciting summer and autumn of events coming up! The Prudential Series will take a break for August, but will be in back in September with the likes of Joanna Lumley and Sarah Ferguson. We’ll host The Battle of the Noodles – team Italy (AA Gill and Giorgio Locatelli) Vs team China (Ken Hom and Sir David Tang). In September it’s the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, which we’ll be celebrating with music and classes. Don’t miss our wire rabbit making workshop on Saturday 17 September, too!

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7 Al fresco activities to get you outside this Summer

It is Summer. We’ve all been around long enough to know that there’s never any guarantee that the nice weather is going to last, but at time of writing we decided we were going to take a chance. After all, if you can’t be optimistic about the weather in August, then when can you be optimistic about it? So with our natural optimism in mind, we decided to round up some of the best activities on the Wonderush website which’ll allow you to get your Summer on and spend time outside. You might be the running around type, or you might prefer to take things more gently. Trust us when we say there’s something for everyone.

Good Gym

Good gym

If you like fitness, this is the activity for you. If you like volunteering, this is the activity for you. If you like multitasking- Look, just believe when we say that you’ll want to be all over this. It’s outside, it’s a workout, and it’s an opportunity to do a good deed.

Pop-up Screens

Pop up screens

Everyone loves a movie, right? With pop-up screens you get the chance to watch al fresco films in a huge variety of locations across the city. From action to comedy, and everything in between, this is the ideal outside entertainment for movie buffs everywhere.

Jack The Ripper Tour

jack_the_ripper_tour

Jack the Ripper was a bad man. This much most people know. But how much else do you really know about him, aside from the whispered half-truths people discuss when they’re in East London pubs? This is the chance to really learn more about London’s macabre past.

GB Active Boot Camp

green park bootcamp

If you’re into exercise, this is the session for you. It’s suitable for all levels, and you’ll have the chance to capitalise on your probably-recently-contracted Olympic Fever by training with a real life professional athlete. Plus the fresh air is at least a thousand times better than a sweaty gym.

Love London Bicycle Tour

Bicycle tour

We all love London. That’s why we’re here. But sometimes we’d love to be able to see it in a different way, and that’s where London Bicycle Tours come into it. Cycling in London is often seen as scary, but you’re in safe hands (pedals?) with the pros, and it’s a great way to make the most of a Summer’s day.

Laughter Playshop

Laughter Yoga

Picture the scene: You’re hanging out on the Southbank. Someone near you laughs at nothing. You join in. And suddenly everything is hilarious. Laughter yoga is growing in popularity and is a great activity to do outside. We guarantee that  people will look at you like a weirdo, and we guarantee even more that after a while you won’t care.

Tai Chi

Taiji Chi Kung Wednesday

If you’re in need of a little bit of relaxation, there’s nowhere better to look than nature. Tai Chi is a great way to slow down, and to really connect with your surroundings, and there’s no nicer time to do it than when it’s nice and warm outside and there are, like, birds and stuff.

So have we whet your appetite? If you’re still on the lookout for stuff you can do outside (or indeed stuff you can do inside if the weather takes a turn for the worst) don’t forget to check out the Wonderush website for more inspiration!

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The Wonderush Spotlight: Shorts on Tap

Shorts on Tap is a great company. Through their themed screening nights which show a selection of short films, they’re giving Londoners the opportunity to find out more about an art form we might otherwise never really hear much about. After all, they’re not exactly regularly screening shorts at the local multiplex. At least, not where we live. In the spirit of discovering new things, we sat down with Filippo, who started Shorts on Tap, and asked him loads of questions because we have no chill:

How did you get into what you do?

Shorts On Tap started in late 2013 in a small basement venue called Juno, in Shoreditch, East London. I needed a place to screen a sci-fi short of mine called Time&Space and ended up screening 10 works from other filmmakers instead. The demand for more nights was so high I simply kept organising more screenings.

How would you describe your nights?

Our events are quite eclectic: the films take the central stage, of course, but we’ve also got live performances, crowdfunding campaigns, panel discussions, special guests. It all rotates around a central theme which changes from night to night. The vibe is incredibly friendly and relaxed, it definitely facilitates dialogue and great Q&As and discussions after the screenings. We usually keep in touch with most filmmakers we meet at the events: a great platform for networking, too.

How do you choose the films that you show? Why would you recommend your activity?

We constantly accept film submissions and we watch all the films we receive. We then sort the them into different categories and pick the best ones for the screenings. There’s a lot of filtering involved as each night needs a certain balance, a certain ‘colour palette’ to be conveyed. We curate our nights in collaboration with other filmmakers and people from the film industry. Our selection is usually made up of 5 to 7 films per night and the quality of the work presented is breathtaking. The talent out there is incredible and we’d like to give exposure to as many filmmakers as possible. The end result is a top quality event, this is how we’ve built our following and reputation.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

Despite the name of the event ‘Shorts ON TAP’, I hardly ever drink during a screening night.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

Meeting creative people, spending time with friends or simply walking and getting lost in the vastness of London. Did I mention watching shorts? 😉

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?

I have recently moved to Streatham Hill, this area’s got a great vibe about it: not too pretentious or arty, not too busy or overcrowded, yet full of great cafes, parks and juice bars! A few minutes and you’re in Brixton or Balham or Clapham. It can’t get any better than this. South of the river is THE place to be.

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

I’d go on a road trip across South America.. months travelling, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina.. the places, the faces, the people.. that’d be my #1 experience.

If you can’t wait to get down to a Shorts on Tap event (and, frankly, who could blame you?), their next event is now available to book here. We’ll see you there!

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The Wonderush Review of Reviews: Part 1

We love our partners. We really do. And, as it turns out, you guys do too. We’ve been struck recently by the number of positive reviews you’ve been giving out, so we decided it was high time to showcase some of your favourites and an example of some of the love they’re getting. You can find all of these guys running a whole range of awesome sessions, from tea tasting and art classes, to pole dancing and pottery.

Tea Studio

tea brewing

Tea Studio run activities from tea tasting to Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon teas, and everything in between. Basically, if you like tea, you need to pay them a visit.

“Amazing little place, lovely atmosphere and the owner is very passionate about tea. I really enjoyed the experience and I’ll be going there for more!” – Natalia

“Lovely guy and very knowledgeable. If you like your tea, don’t miss his events!” – Penelope

To and TO

Drink and Draw

ToandTO run the ever-popular Drink and Draw, which is fairly self-explanatory. During the course of a really relaxed and creative evening you’ll meet loads of new people as you show off your artistic ability (or lack thereof – there’s no pressure here.)

“What a brilliant concept! Dragged a friend thinking it would be less awkward to meet absolut strangers that way, but what a fantastic casual way to mingle and meet cool people, and best of all, forget about the stresses of daily life by getting creative and sketching! Will definitely recommend to friends and go back, with or without them! P.S. You get to keep the sketchbooks and I’m gonna be framing one of the portraits!” -Sahar

“Very fun experience even if you can’t draw at all! :)” -Kate

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The Wonderush Spotlight: Gabriela Szulman

Gabriela Szulman teaches brilliant decoupage workshops. We know they’re brilliant because the reviews for her sessions on Wonderush are overwhelmingly positive, and our members are a discerning bunch. So, given the fact that she’s so popular, we decided it was high time to catch up with Gabriela to find out more about her:

How did you get into decoupage?

My work is all about the reassembling and layering of images through a combination of media including collage, but I got into decoupage in a big way a couple of years ago when one of my sisters showed me how to upcycle an old pair of boots with just paper and glue. Soon I was hooked and started decoupaging trays, picture frames, chairs and even old suitcases which I use for display at craft fairs and other selling events. I recently finished decoupaging a wall with an old French dictionary, my biggest project so far.

How would you describe your teaching style?

I know what works and feel it’s important that people get the basics of decoupage right, so quite directive, at least initially. At the same time, I’m passionate about bringing out creativity in everyone that comes to one of my workshops which means I also encourage experimentation and play once participants get to grips with the technique.

Why would you recommend your activity?

Decoupage is a very affordable and easy way to upcycle and personalise anything from a pair of shoes to a wall: anybody can do this at home with just paper, brushes and glue. No special set-up or tools are required, which gives it a great advantage over other crafts: the two main things you need in order to succeed at decoupage are time and patience. There is a meditative quality to this kind of work, and the end result is often very satisfying.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

Aged 11, I was almost expelled from primary school for writing an essay criticising the teachers. Not many people know that…

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I’m a film addict so I go to the cinema as often as I can – a couple of times a week and even a couple of times a day during the London Film Festival.

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there?

I love South London where I have lived for a long time. Brixi, Circus, and Diverse are fabulous independent shops in Brixton. My favourite local food haunts include The Camberwell Arms, Shrub & Shutter and Peckham Bazaar, and I can’t resist bread from The Hill Bakery.

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

I’d love to visit Nek Chand’s Chandigarh Rock Garden in Northern India: Chand was a road inspector with no formal education who spent two decades creating a sculpture garden in secret, using rubble collected from the city’s building sites. A real pioneer who saw art and beauty where others saw junk, something which is very current now but not in in the 1950s when he started his amazing project!

We can’t wait to get down to another on of Gabriela’s sessions. Tickets can be found here. We’ll see you there!

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Wonderush Spotlight: Mindfoldness Origami

The world is a busy place these days, and we’re all getting increasingly frazzled. Sometimes it’s nice to take some peaceful time out, and mindfulness has become all the rage. But if yoga and colouring books aren’t your thing, how about a bit of Mindful Origami? Yes. That’s a real thing. We caught up with Sam Tsang from Mindfoldness to find out more:

How did you get into origami?

It was probably due to my primary school teacher who folded me a flapping bird. It wasn’t until after university that I got more serious. I placed a bouquet of origami flowers on gumtree.com on a whim, to see if I could sell it. It sold, and the number of sales slowly began to escalate until I got banned from the site for using it as a selling portal. Then I set up my own website. From  there I regularly sold origami bouquets for weddings and first anniversary presents. A customer asked me to teach them how to make a flower as a paper anniversary gift for his wife, and from there I started to teach. At first it was just individuals, and then it was  for groups, and corporate workshops, and hen-dos.
In April 2015 a journalist from The Guardian contacted me for a quote about origami being mindful for an article she was writing. In September a book publisher saw the article and asked me if i would be interested in writing a book about mindful origami! I naturally said yes and that book, The Book of Mindful Origami, was released on the 7th April. My second book – The Magic of Mindful Origami – will be out on 8th September.

How would you describe your teaching style?

My teaching style depends on the workshop I’m running. I teach several different kinds. There’s a team building one with a modular origami model, a hen-do origami flower bouquet workshop, a mindful origami workshop which focuses on the use of origami as a relaxation and meditation aid, and a general fun and educational origami workshop. In all of these I try to make it as relaxing, fun and as entertaining as I can but at the same time tell you some interesting facts and encourage you to learn a new craft.

Why would you recommend origami?

In recent years there has been an immense uptake of people practising Yoga, Pilates, Tai-chi and meditation. There has also been a massive resurgence of the arts and crafts fields – the immense popularity of Etsy and adult colouring books is testament to this.  I believe that the increase in popularity of both of these fields is due to a reaction to our digital lives. Many of us spend over 8 hours a day sitting in front of a computer screen creating virtual documents that are read once and never seen again. From the moment we are awake to the moment we sleep we are connected to the world, answering queries on multiple devices or glued to social media.

We all need to be able to quieten our minds and to find some inner peace to balance out the constant noise of our modern digital lives.  Many of us also need to have a creative outlet to express ourselves, and to make something tangible, something we can touch. Origami is a relaxing and peaceful hobby, a beautiful art, a craft, a science and a meditation all in one. When you are folding paper, there is stillness, calm and an inner peace. There is something beautiful in turning a plain, flat piece of paper into an amazing three dimensional object with just your own hands.It’s one of the simplest art forms in that it just requires a piece of paper and your hands – there’s no need for tools such as pens, brush, inks and paints.

I call origami ‘yoga for the mind’ as it allows you to stretch and exercise the creative and artistic areas of your brain that most of us don’t utilise on a day to day basis.

Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?

My other passion is cooking and I have actually appeared on three TV cooking programs the first series of Masterchef Goes Large, Chef versus Britain with Gino D’campo and Britain’s Finest Dish. I did want to pursue a career as a celebrity chef but found that Origami was far more interesting.

I was also the main organiser and adjudicator for the Guinness world record for the largest origami elephant display.
We had 34,000 of them and it took six hours to count!

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not at work?

I actually have a daytime job working at a Bank! So origami is very much my hobby. I might consider switching careers one day, but at present I enjoy the stability of a day time job alongside my fun and entertaining origami hobby that has led to my own business, being involved in a world record, and publishing two books!

What’s your favourite part of London? Any places you’d recommend there? (Shops, businesses etc)

Tricky question as I have lived and worked in a lot of London. As a foodie Soho and Hoxton are close to my heart as it has such a diverse restaurant scene. In Soho, I like Patara for the best Thai food, and Joy King Lau and Hakkasan for the best Chinese. Atari-ya has the best sushi. In Hoxton, Taydo cafe does amazing Vietnamese food. Stickywings on Brick lane do the best buffalo wings, and I like Beigel Bake for 24-hour salt beef beigels!

If you could try any experience in the world, what would it be, and why?

I’d probably go to Japan so that I could visit the Tsukiji Tokyo fish Market and eat the freshest sushi on the planet, and also do origami!

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8 Childhood rules we can totally help you break

Once upon a time, we were all children. For most of us – unless you were Harriet The Spy, one of the kids from Goosebumps, or a character from the Beano – there were at least a few childhood rules to stick to. These obviously varied by family, but there were at least a few old favourites that cropped up time and time again. The great thing is that now we are adults and we can do what we like. With that in mind, and because we are super mature grown-ups, we came up with a few ways that you can stick it to the adults in your life who were always telling you what not to do:

Childhood rule #1: No fighting

Boxfit

Actually, childhood authority figure, I can fight as much as I like. It’s called Boxfit, and I do it to stay active. Remember when you used to tell me off for sitting around all day and not going outside? You can’t have it both ways.

Childhood rule #2: No staying up late

1 big night out

I see your point, rulemaker, but I bet you’d prefer to see me on a pub crawl at 10pm rather than 10am. Am I right? I mean, of course you’d rather not see me on one at all, but you don’t own me!

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6 Edinburgh Fringe 2016 acts you can see in London first

The Edinburgh Fringe brochure was released yesterday. It was a momentous occasion. The Gimp Owl (Just wait until you see the cover) looked majestic, and the over 3000 shows happening this August comprise the usual mix of the genuinely brilliant-sounding, and the so-bad-it-might-be-great. Luckily for us some of the acts in the programme will even be performing in London in the next few weeks as they get ready for the Fringe, so we put together a list of the ones we can’t wait to see.

The Miserables

The MiserablesWe’ll declare our bias right now. Our very own Community Manager Nicola is bringing a show to Edinburgh. The Miserables is a parody of Les Miserables, which is set in an office where the employees hate their jobs. She has promised us it is not about us and we have decided to trust her. The Miserables can be seen at Just The Tonic at The Caves. Or, for those not travelling to Scotland, it’ll be at The Etcetera Theatre in Camden in July.

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