July 28, 2009
Deborah Pearson came to the Edinburgh Fringe as a student performer in 2006, but has quickly gone on to found and develop the “free” Forest Fringe, a miniature festival-within-a-festival, which is now in its third year. Read more
July 25, 2009
For the 2009 Edinburgh Festival, we’ve appointed a collective of more than a dozen bloggers to give you a broad, insightful and highly entertaining perspective on life on this year’s festival frontline.
- BABA BRINKMAN – Baba is a rapper and performer returning to the Fringe for the fifth time. His previous Fringe hits include The Rap Guide to the Canterbury Tale and The Rebel Cell. This year, he’s reviving The Rebel Cell (Underbelly’s Hullabaloo, 7-31 Aug) and also presenting his new show The Rap Guide to Evolution (Gilded Balloon, 8-31 Aug). Both are being produced by the team behind Fringe and West End hit Into the Hoods.
>>Click here for Baba’s blogs
- COLIN HOULT – An acclaimed writer-performer who recently appeared in Al Murray’s Multiple Personality Disorder (ITV1) and the play Pete and Dud: Come Again (West End), Colin makes his Fringe solo debut with Carnival of Monsters (Pleasance Courtyard, 8-31 Aug). The new show – combining theatre, comedy and storytelling to evoke a strange twilight world of inimitable creations – follows sell-out runs for Colin as one half of comedy double act Colin & Fergus, and last year’s action-terror-comedy-adventure Zimbani. (What’s more, Fergus of Colin & Fergus is also blogging for us this year about his solo debut – scroll down…)
>>Click here for Colin’s blogs
- CHRIS GRADY – Chris was undoubtedly our most prolific and committed blogger from Edinburgh 2008 so we begged him to return this year. When not blogging, he’s the programme director for the Musical Theatre at George Square, working closely with the University of Edinburgh and Pleasance Theatres. The three-auditoria venue, now in its second year, is the first space dedicated totally to musicals at the Edinburgh Fringe. Grady is also the founding chair of the professional theatre network organisation Musical Theatre Matters, which runs the Musical Theatre Matters Awards. Now in their third year – and sponsored by Whatsonstage.com – the MTM:UK Awards are the only prize-giving specifically dedicated to the musical genre at the world’s largest arts festival. Click here to read our recent festival countdown interview with Chris, and visit the theatre’s listings page for further details about the George Square programme.
>>Click here for Chris’ blogs
- EDMUND DIGBY-JONES – Another Fringe alumnus, Edmund is appearing this year in the world premiere of The Play About Charlotte (C soco, 7-31 Aug), care of Dark Horse Theatre. Set in 1968, Hannah C Patterson’s play revolves around the gifted Cathy, whose battle with mental illness is alleviated only by her close friend and muse Charlotte. Edmund has patented his technique for flyering on the Royal Mile…
>>Click here for Edmund’s blogs
- FERGUS CRAIG – The winner of the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year 2009 award and star of Channel 4’s hit comedy Star Stories admits to still watching Neighbours and happily takes audiences on a very personal guided tour around Ramsey Street in his new solo show Carnival of Monsters (Pleasance Courtyard, 8-31 Aug). The new show follows sell-out runs for Colin as one half of comedy double act Colin & Fergus, and last year’s action-terror-comedy-adventure Zimbani. (What’s more, Colin of Colin & Fergus is also blogging for us this year about his solo debut – see above…)
>>Click here for Fergus’ blogs
- HANNAH SPENS-BLACK – Hannah hasn’t let the fact that she’s an Edinburgh virgin daunt her from mounting four new productions with her Tangram Theatre Company (www.tangramtheatre.co.uk): Almost 10 (Pleasance Courtyard, 8-31 Aug), Art House (Zoo, 8-31 Aug), F**ked (Assembly @ George Street, 8-31 Aug) and The Origin of the Species (Pleasance Courtyard, 7-31 Aug). Hannah trained as a chartered accountant with Deloitte and then worked in the Young Vic finance department, before joining Tangram full time.
>>Click here for Hannah’s blogs
- JENNIFER ROWLAND – Jennifer is a Los Angeles-based playwright whose US credits include The Indians are Coming to Dinner, The School Plays and Ice Girl in Bungalow B. She makes her UK debut, and her first trip to Edinburgh with the world premiere production of The Contest (Gilded Balloon, 8-30 Aug), fresh from a critically acclaimed, sell-out US run. Set in New York’s art scene, the play charts the journey of three characters from hopeful youth to disillusioned adulthood over 15 years.
>>Click here for Jennifer’s blogs
- LISA WELLS TURNER – Lisa returns to Edinburgh this year with the world premiere of The Opposite of Waiting (Venue 13, 8-30 Aug), her new physical theatre solo show, which combines movement song and text. Locked in, Rebecca dreams of escape and adventure. Who are we and who do we feel we should be? Lisa’s previous self-penned show, an adaptation of Iphigenia was mounted at Zoo Venues in 2006. >>Click here for Lisa’s blogs
- MARK MATTHEWS – Mark, an Australian actor and director, is the course director of the Sydney Theatre School. He’s bringing a cast of his graduate students to the Fringe with This Mortal Coil (Quaker Meeting House, 10-15 Aug), which was devised by the group through a Mike Leigh-style of improvisation. It’s directed by Mark who also penned the script. This is the first time Mark has brought a production to the Fringe (although he attended as a visitor last year) and, for most of his cast, it will be the first time they have ever left Australia.
>>Click here for Mark’s blogs
- SAMMY J – Following an extended sell-out season in Edinburgh last year and a stint at the West End’s Leicester Square Theatre, Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams (Udderbelly, 14-30 Aug) is back at the Fringe ahead of a UK tour. In the cult-adult-comedy-musical, Sammy J and his fellow puppeteer Heath McIvor embark on an adventure in a magical forest with a cast of 14 puppets.
>>Click here for Sammy J’s blogs
- TRIONA ADAMS – A former showbusiness agent – and still an occasional Whatsonstage.com reviewer – Triona has written and performs the new one-woman show Nun the Wiser(Gilded Balloon, 8-31 Aug), in which she tells her own true, and truly hilarious, story of how she swapped premieres for prayers and spent a year in a nunnery trying to get into the habit. The experience was also Triona’s inspiration for the BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play The Lemon Squeezer, premiered earlier this year.
>>Click here for Triona’s blogs
- MICHAEL COVENEY – Whatsonstage.com’s chief critic and contributing editor will be at the festival from 7 to 16 August and blogging regularly – as well as reviewing and tweeting.
>>Click here for Michael’s blogs
- WOS EDITORS – Whatsonstage.com’s other key editorial staff – editorial director Terri Paddock, deputy editor Theo Bosanquet and Scotland editor Joe Pike – will also be contributing to a joint blog.
>>Click here for the WOS Editors’ blogs
July 23, 2009
Kath Mainland is about to experience her first festival as chief executive of the Fringe Society, following the resignation of Jon Morgan in the wake of last year’s ticketing crisis (See News, 28 August 2008).
Mainland’s impressive CV includes four years spent as the administrative director of Edinburgh International Book Festival, serving as general manager of the Assembly Theatre, one of the highest profile venues at the Fringe, and work on other Scottish events including Burns And A’ That, the Champions League Final, the opening of Harvey Nichols, the MTV European Music Awards, Hogmanay (over the Millennium period) and the Beltane Fire Festival. Read more
July 21, 2009
Founded in 1985 as two theatres around a deserted courtyard-come-car-park, the Pleasance has become one of the biggest venues at the Edinburgh Fringe. In this, its 25th anniversary season, it will present 225 shows across nearly 30 performance spaces at the Pleasance Courtyard, the Pleasance Dome and other site-specific locations.
Anthony Alderson, who grew up in Edinburgh, has had a long association with the Fringe and particularly the Pleasance, performing almost every position available over 23 years, including, for the past four, director of both the Pleasance’s Edinburgh empire and its year-round sister venue in north London, which was opened in 1996. Read more
July 17, 2009
Calling all musical theatre trivia experts! Do we have a challenge for you. As part of our activity at next month’s Edinburgh Fringe, Whatsonstage.com is sponsoring a University Challenge-style musicals competition at the Musical Theatre @ George Square, the only venue at the world’s largest arts festival specifically dedicated to the genre.
The organisers need to generate an awful lot of questions that will get the teams of student-contestants reaching for their buzzers – and they’re asking for input from some of the most knowledgeable musical theatre experts in the world: Whatsonstage.com readers. And what’s more, the best contributor will win a great prize, including tickets to not one, not two, but THREE blockbuster musicals: Hairspray, Sister Act and Disney’s High School Musical 2! Read more
July 16, 2009
Underbelly was first opened in 2000, as a small performance venue for five shows brought to the Edinburgh Fringe by the long-running Fringe company, Double Edge Drama. Double Edge directors, Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, now directors of Underbelly, had heard of the venue through a production of Gargantua, performed by Scottish company Grid Iron in the vaults below the city’s central library. The vaults proved the perfect location for all five of Double Edge’s offerings that year, and the company went on to attract sell-out houses and win a Fringe First for its productions of Bent and Marat/Sade.
The next few years saw the Underbelly rapidly grow into one of the most popular venues on the Fringe. Read more
July 14, 2009
Chris Grady is the programme director for the Musical Theatre at George Square, working closely with the University of Edinburgh and Pleasance Theatres. The three-auditoria venue, now in its second year, is the first space dedicated totally to musicals at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Grady is also the founding chair of the professional theatre network organisation Musical Theatre Matters, which runs the Musical Theatre Matters Awards. Now in their third year – and sponsored by Whatsonstage.com – the MTM:UK Awards are the only prize-giving specifically dedicated to the musical genre at the world’s largest arts festival (See News, 13 Jul 2009). Read more
July 13, 2009
As part of our significantly increased activity at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Whatsonstage.com has signed up to sponsor the third annual Musical Theatre Matters: UK Awards, the only prize-giving specifically dedicated to the musical genre at the world’s largest arts festival, which runs next month from 7 to 31 August 2009.
The Awards, run by the professional theatre network organisation Musical Theatre Matters, were established in 2007 to champion the next generation of musical theatre producers, writers and shows. While musical theatre is not excluded from many other Edinburgh awards, the artform did not seem to be achieving the plaudits deserved by the creatives. In the first two years, 11 shows were selected for commendations and awards, and many of those pieces have moved on – six have had presentations in London, one is heading to the New York Summer Play Festival, and three have had UK tours. Read more
July 10, 2009
|Poster image for the Michael Clark Company (EIF)|
The Edinburgh Festivals are back and they’re (just about) bigger than ever. We may be in the midst of a global financial crisis, but that hasn’t stopped the mighty cavalcade of actors, writers, directors, street performers, critics, photographers, bloggers – oh, and some audience members as well – from making the summer migration to the Scottish capital. Read more
July 10, 2009
Whatsonstage.com is heading to Edinburgh! It’s less than a month to go until the world’s largest arts festival, and we’re getting ready on our dedicated festival microsite – www.whatsonstage.com/edinburgh2009.
This year’s 63rd annual Edinburgh Fringe runs from 7 to 31 August and involves some 18,901 performers from over 60 countries giving 34,265 performances of a record-breaking 2,098 shows in 265 venues. It’s followed, from 14 August to 6 September, by the Edinburgh International Festival. Read more