Looking ahead to Edinburgh Fringe

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The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world’s largest arts festival with over 50,000 performances of around 3500 productions taking place each year. It’s a jam-packed month of comedy, cabaret, improv, dance, and theatre which attracts thousands of people to its 300 venues all across Edinburgh. Amongst the multitude of shows every year, students from across the country take their productions up to the Fringe in the hope of sharing their upcoming talent with larger audiences. It’s a tough job trying to stand out amongst the thousands of shows on offer but eight groups from Durham are going this year in the hope of bagging a successful run.

I spoke to Gabbie Sills, producer of DUCT’s ‘Hamlet’, to understand why the Fringe is such a goal for student productions and what she hopes to gain from her experience:

“The range of audience you get to show your work to and receive feedback from at the Fringe always feels valuable to a student company as you want to know how to grow, develop, and potentially take the piece onto a professional level. Meeting others of a similar profession, gaining experience from and collaborating with others always seems essential to the Fringe and is one of the reasons I always love going back because it is a hub of diverse and interesting people.”

students from across the country take their productions up to the Fringe in the hope of sharing their upcoming talent with larger audiences

Although many students choose to take productions of published plays to the Fringe, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is also a honey-pot of new writing. With huge successes such as Fleabag, Six, and Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour making their debuts in Edinburgh, the Fringe is a great place to premiere new works with scouting talents and producers often on the look-out for what could potentially be the next big hit. I spoke to Rosie Dart, one of the creators and performers of Tappuccino, on why she chose to transfer her show (which has already had a successful run in Durham) to the Fringe and what she hopes to achieve:

It’s a tough job trying to stand out amongst the thousands of shows on offer

Tappuccino is a super quirky show about a tap-dancing coffee bean which is told through original songs, circus, and tap dancing so the Fringe seemed like the perfect place for such a different production! We’re developing the show for children with a focus on the environment and sustainability which is extremely reverent with the recent extinction rebellion protests and we are so excited to educate children in a fun and creative manner.”

Tappuccino is not the only new piece of writing that is heading up to the Fringe this year. Three pieces from the Durham Drama Festival – Ophelia is Also Dead, Ladies who Lunch and Poseidon’s Playhouse – are also making the journey in the hope of receiving critical praise. Of course, the Durham Revue will also be making a return to the Fringe, having gained much support over the years from their unfailing ability to amuse audiences.

If you are heading up to the Fringe this summer, do check out the many Durham shows that will be up there! Here are the details:

Bedlam, Wrong Tree Theatre – 2nd-18th August (not including Sundays)

The Wheel of Improv: Musicals Edition!,
Durham Improvised Musical– 19th-24th August 

Unnatural Disaster,
The Durham Revue– 1st-25th August (not including the 12th)
Hamlet, DUCT1st-10th August

Ophelia is Also Dead, Sightlines Production11-26th August

Ladies who Lunch, Fourth Wall – 2nd-16th August

Poseidon’s Playhouse,
First Theatre Company and Suffragette Theatre Company2nd-10th August

Skylight,
Lion Theatre Company19-24th August

Tappuccino,
Brunch Bunch Theatre Company– 30th July-26th August

 

Photograph: Ian Woodhead via Flickr Creative Commons

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