The Camden Fringe returns for its 17th season with a feast of comedy, theatre and entertainment at north London venues for as little as £5.

What started in 2006 as an alternative to the annual trek north to Edinburgh, has grown from a handful of Camden Town venues, to 28 spaces hosting scores of shows throughout August. 

Despite the name, acts are popping up at Hackney's Village 512, the Cockpit and Canal Cafe Theatres in Westminster, Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate, and a raft of Islington venues including The Bill Murray, Hope, Hen&Chickens and Little Angel.

This year the new Queer Comedy Club in Junction Road, Archway is taking part, alongside several small West End venues. Running July 31-August 27, the eclectic line-up takes in everything from experimental theatre to stand up, children's shows, magic, dance, musicals, poetry, and cabaret - by newly minted and seasoned performers. We list some highlights but find the full line-up at

‘This Girl’ The Cynthia Lennon Story July 31-Aug 2 Upstairs at the Gatehouse. 

Ham & High: This Girl tells the story of Cynthia Lennon through the testimony of those who knew her.This Girl tells the story of Cynthia Lennon through the testimony of those who knew her. (Image: PA)

The story of Cynthia Powell, a shy student who fell in love with John Lennon at Liverpool Art College in 1957, has remained largely untold. Writer Mike Howl has interviewed her closest friends and surviving classmates to explore her emotional journey through the people who knew her during and after Beatlemania. With original songs by BBC Radio Merseyside’s Frankie Connor, Billy Kinsley of The Merseybeats, and Alan Crowley.

Ashley Barnhill: Texas Titanium July 31-Aug 12, Museum of Comedy, The Bill Murray, Hen & Chickens, West End Comedy Club.

The Texan actress and stand up who has toured extensively with Dave Chappelle, tells how she was hit by a car, spent time in a coma, had five brain surgeries and got a titanium skull. Come on the journey with her, but don't get hit by a car, y’all!

INVASION! An Alien Musical, Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society, July 31-August 3, Camden People's Theatre.

Hit musical SiX was famously commissioned by CUMTS, and past outings have garnered five star reviews and an award nomination for last year's The Man Who Wouldn’t be Murdered. When Johnny Fox discovers magical theme park Lotus Land is run by alien invaders, he embarks on a quest to save the earth, in a toe-tapping tale of courage that channels Back To The Future and Little Shop of Horrors.

Phil Green Four Weddings and a Breakdown July 31-August 1, Aces and Eights

After attending four weddings from four different generations, Phil finally figures out the reasons behind his breakdown. Following a sell-out debut at last year's Edinburgh Fringe and a night at London's Soho Theatre, TikTok comedy sketchmaster Phil's highly personal new show asks 'did the internet make or break us?' And 'Is a midlife crisis really even a crisis?'

Camden Comedy Club Extreme Improv August 8,9, 15,16.

A hit at last year's fringe, the stage version of the YouTube Show Extreme Improv Xstreamed sees improvisers and comedians go head to head to win the Extreme Improv Championship belt. Competing in challenges and creating scenes, songs and stories based on audience suggestions, it's equal parts organised chaos and mad genius, courtesy of director David Pustansky creator of the Dreaded Gemini Game and the Improv Wheel of Doom!

Ham & High: Jan Noble performs verse theatre Body 115 at Hope Theatre, Islington.Jan Noble performs verse theatre Body 115 at Hope Theatre, Islington. (Image: Camden Fringe)

Body 115 Hope Theatre August 20-26.

Written and performed by poet Jan Noble this mini verse drama is a homage to Dante’s Divine Comedy in which the long unidentified victim of the 1987 King's Cross fire - Body 115 - becomes Virgil to Noble’s Dante. A voyage of discovery and recovery, embracing decay and gentrification, ancient rebellion and civil strife, it sees Noble travel from London to Calais, Flanders to Paris and Italy in a European odyssey of the soul.Ham & High: Dad Playboy and Me sees comedic storyteller AG Norton talk about her father's photos and the Playboy ClubDad Playboy and Me sees comedic storyteller AG Norton talk about her father's photos and the Playboy Club (Image: Kit Norton)

Dad, Playboy and Me: Not Your Average Slide Show, The Water Rats August 13.

When comedic storyteller AG Norton discovered 10,000 images of the Playboy Club in dad Kit's New Jersey basement during lockdown, it started a father daughter conversation. Never displayed before, she believes the queer influence of photography teacher Berenice Abbott on her father's lens, made them more interesting than other Playboy images. Featuring anecdotes and interviews with Playboy patrons, AG subverts the narrative on service and sexuality.

Ham & High: AG Norton performs at The Water Rats as part of The Camden FringeAG Norton performs at The Water Rats as part of The Camden Fringe (Image: Courtesy Amanda Norton)

David Lee Morgan Poems on Gender Etcetera August 6, Hen&Chickens August 12 and 13.

Morgan is a UK and BBC Poetry Slam Champion, whose 40 minute show on sex, gender stereotypes, women's liberation and revolution has been both praised and cancelled including by the Frigid Fringe Festival in New York who deemed the line 'There are two sexes, male and female,' anti-trans. He says "Gender is a controversial and even dangerous topic today. All the more reason for each of us to speak about it with honesty, heart and intelligence." If you disagree, there's a 20 minute open mic at the end to have your say.

Ham & High: The Marilyn Monroe Burlesque stars Cindy FlingThe Marilyn Monroe Burlesque stars Cindy Fling (Image: Courtesy Sindy Fling)

The Marilyn Monroe Burlesque Show, Canal Cafe Theatre, August 8,9,10, Water Rats, August 15.

When Covid shut the pubs, mimic, singer and dancer Sindy Fling took her cabaret show on tour around her neighbourhood to cheer up the isolated, performing over 300 socially distanced pop-up shows from hen parties to 100 birthdays. She unwraps the divas of pop – from Monroe to Madonna via Dolly Parton, debuting her strip-a-gran act and baring all in a cabaret show that packs in entertainment and laughter.

Ham & High: Jaden Adams performs Transparency Upstairs at the Gatehouse in HighgateJaden Adams performs Transparency Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate (Image: Courtesy of The Camden Fringe)

Transparency - a northern tale of transition, Camden People's Theatre August 15, 16, Upstairs at The Gatehouse August 20.

Jaden Adams is a 29-year-old former gas engineer who shines a light on working class trans lives in a solo show about a young forklift driver whose mum discoveres he is trans before he is ready to come out. Jaden grew up on an Oldham council estate and was a promising drama student who was unaware of his body dysphoria and dropped out to work as a gas engineer and plumber. At 25 he realised he was a transgender man and three years into a transition which he has self funded due to lengthy NHS waiting lists, has now co-created a drama about the vulnerability, humour and sobering journey of a transgender life. While it's not autobiographical Jaden says "the misgendering, the transphobic slurs, coming out at work in a traditionally male environment, and constant intrusive questioning - that's all my lived experience."

Holly Star's Birthday, Phoenix Arts Club, August 7.

For one night only the drag queen stand-up comic and writer of hit west end show Death Drop, performs her new solo show about turning 40. She might be on the fast-track to middle age, but nothing’s going to slow her down and when her nightmare neighbours try to stop her from organising the party of her dreams, it's war.