Written for the British Council Edinburgh Showcase blog, edited by Eleanor Turney.
Postcard from England
Postcard from England
And suddenly it’s mid-July, and the Edinburgh festivals loom massively on the horizon. Venue teams are already up there converting rooms into theatre spaces. It’s just a couple of weeks away, rather than a couple of months.
As What I Heard About the World is a well toured show, performed recently, it has slipped into the background for a bit. The set (including exotic/stuffed animals) is already in Edinburgh, collected by our touring Tech Manager, Craig, from our storage space in Barnsley, taken to Newcastle by van, loaded on to one of Northern Stage’s three wagons, taken up to Edinburgh and finally unloaded into St Stephen’s, where it will hide behind 7 or 8 other sets until we need it in Week 3 of the Fringe. We use a lot of “stuff” in What I Heard About the World, so the shopping list has been updated: party cannons (8), baby shampoo (4 ltrs), food colouring - red (15 bottles), decorators’ overalls (5 + 1 spare).
Rachael’s been down to London to meet with the British Council and do an interview for this promo video. And people are starting to book, which is great – real audiences, and promoters we’ve worked with before. Hopefully the promise of free pastries (and a great show…) is helping to motivate people to come along at 9.30am. Theatre! For breakfast!
But at the forefront of our minds is Cape Wrath. This is the first time we’ve opened a show at the Fringe – mainly because when we’re opening a show we occupy a space full time, and continue to work on it during those first performances – so we like to have the space to ourselves. (Hundreds of companies open shows in Edinburgh every year, so I understand it is possible…). But Cape Wrath will tour with its own space – a 17-seater minibus - so I’ll have that option. That said, though, Cape Wrath has been made, part time, over the last two years (I did this real-life journey in 2011), so it feels… well developed? Ready for an audience? Last week was our last full-time week on it – working on it as a minibus show, letting go of elements that were designed for a work-in-progress on a stage. And it works. I’m looking forward to welcoming people into the minibus. Yes, ready for an audience. By which I mean it’s at the point where we’ll learn more about it from giving it to an audience than we will from rehearsing it without one.
We’re aware it is Edinburgh rehearsals and preview season all around us. Over the last few years Third Angel has been doing more mentoring of other artists and companies. This mentoring is bespoke and responsive – what do they need for this project? What do they need for this point in their careers? Often this means the privilege of visiting their process, asking questions, giving feedback, and this month I’ve been lucky enough to visit the making processes of St Stephen’s stable-mates Daniel Bye (How to Occupy An Oil Rig) and Fallen From Grace (When We Embraced), and to spend a week with St Stephen’s alumni, RashDash (just trying stuff out).
Sometimes mentoring means collaborating on their show with them, being the other person in the room, which is how we’ve worked with Hannah Nicklin on her show, A Conversation With My Father (also at St Stephen’s), which has been on a mini preview-tour this week – Leicester, Leeds and London, meeting its audience, getting match-fit for the Fringe.
And suddenly it’s the end of July and over social media people are asking if any vans or cars are heading to Edinburgh with a bit of space in them, teaming up, helping each other out. And all over England, (and Scotland and Wales), those vans are being loaded with sets and props and heading north. It’s nearly August.