Theatre picks for Shedinburgh fringe festival

Mark Ludmon previews theatre coming up as part of this month’s online Shedinburgh fringe festival.

Shedinburgh Fringe Festival

With Edinburgh Festival Fringe unable to go ahead, artists have joined together for Shedinburgh, a festival of theatre and comedy to be broadcast live from sheds across the country. It offers a chance to catch acclaimed shows via Zoom every night from 7.30pm between 14 August and 5 September. ShedidTicket sales are limited and performances will not be repeated.

Some of the acts will perform from their own garden sheds but most will do so from sheds built especially at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre and London’s Soho Theatre. The programme has been put together by producers Francesca Moody and Harriet Bolwell and writer and performer Gary McNair.

Theatre highlights include Kieran Hurley’s 2012 play Beats in a special reading by Lorn Macdonald who starred in the 2019 film adaptation. It tells the story of a teenager living in a small suburban Scottish town at the time of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act – a new piece of legislation that effectively outlawed raves.

Apphia Campbell will perform a reimagined version of her powerful award-winning show, Woke, which follows two women’s journeys in the civil rights movement. One is notorious real-life Black Panther Assata Shakur, the other, a present-day university student enrolling as the Ferguson riots begin.

Adam – a hit of the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe – will be performed by Adam Kashmiry who created the play with playwright Frances Poet and director Cora Bissett. It tells his own story of being a young trans man compelled to leave Egypt for Scotland, fighting across borders and genders to find a place to call home.

Leading playwright Tim Crouch will perform his first play, My Arm, about a boy who puts one arm above his head and never takes it down. It opened in Edinburgh in 2003 and has toured on and off ever since.

Chris Thorpe will perform his acclaimed show Status, which explores ideas around national identity and our place in the world – with songs.

In Fragments of Home, Annie George connects family memories of her writer grandfather in Kerala in India, who died shortly before India’s independence in 1947, with her own story as a first-generation immigrant to the UK.

The Archive of Educated Hearts is an award-winning production crafted from verbatim stories of families facing breast cancer, written and performed by Casey Jay Andrews. It debuted at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe in a garden shed at the back of the Pleasance Courtyard.

Writer Deborah Frances-White, creator of The Guilty Feminist podcasts, will perform her award-winning show, White Rolls the Dice, based on the discovery of information about her birth mother which draws her into the past and the story of her adoption.

James Rowland will present his fringe favourite, Team Viking, the remarkable, hilarious, heart-lifting tale of how James and Sarah set out to fulfil their best mate’s last wish to be given a full Viking burial.

Ahead of a scheduled run of live performances at London’s Bridge Theatre in October, Yolanda Mercy will perform her solo show, Quarter Life Crisis, which mixes addictive baselines and spoken word. It tells the story of a young woman, born and bred in London with Nigerian heritage, grappling with finding love and being an adult.

Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour will present his show, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, in which a different actor each night finds out what they are performing only when they open an envelope. With no director and no rehearsal, it is a reminder of the transgressive and transformative power of theatre. The identity of the actor has not yet been revealed.

Three-time Fringe First winner Gary McNair will tell the incredible true story of the notoriously bad Dundonian poet, Sir William Topaz McGonagall, in what is described as a “tragic comedy”.

Joe Sellman-Leava will perform his show, Labels, another fringe favourite. It is a funny, moving story about heritage, migration and family that charts a childhood in Devon, resurgent nationalism and a global refugee crisis, tackling the familiar question, “Where are you from?”.

Playwright Inua Ellams – whose work includes Barber Shop Chronicles and last year’s adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters at the National Theatre – steps into the spotlight for his audience-led poetry event, Search Party. Prompted by audience suggestions of random words, he will mine his extensive archive of work and perform a reactive and spontaneous selection.

For dates, the full “shed-ule” and tickets, visit  Tickets can also be bought through Crowdfunder, Traverse Theatre and Soho Theatre’s websites on a “pay what you can” system for a minimum donation of £4 to go to the A Shed Load of Future fund to support new artists to bring their work to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2021.


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