Elete, who has been involved with Re:Con since October last year, gives us her run-down on all things Fringe.

Last month she went to Edinburgh Fringe for the first time with the Contact programming team. Now she wants to go every summer!

I was expecting lots and lots theatre! 

Apart from that, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that there would be a lot of venues offering a variety of live performances, so before travelling I took note of the shows that piqued my interest. I hoped to catch them all while in Edinburgh, but I knew time would be of the essence and the ones I didn’t get to see, just gave me the excuse to look out for when they toured the UK!

My first big lesson at Edinburgh was that some shows only have a short run and others sell out immediately so never hesitate on booking your place!

I enjoyed preparing for the Fringe

Generally, I try to stay up-to-date with the latest shows and reading through the Fringe lineup was a great opportunity to see what people are working on throughout the world.

Seeing how much I could fit into the week and organising this into a schedule was really fun task and on my first night in Edinburgh, I saw Splintered and thoroughly enjoyed it (see my review below!) I also learned about the Canada Hub who showcases contemporary Canadian performances, particularly work by Indigenous artists, that I wouldn’t usually have a chance to see.

Visiting Edinburgh Fringe allowed me to put into practice everything we worked on during my time on Re:Con Programming, which is one of the strands of Contacts Young Programming and Producing teams. Since being a part of the team, I can now think and reflect on seeing theatre from a programming perspective. I consider factors I wouldn’t have naturally been attune to, such which space at Contact a show would work in, whether it is financially viable, what the audience would be in Manchester and how we could organise community outreach around it.

Shows to look out for

Even though the Fringe is now over, it’s so important to keep up with notable shows and performers so as to find out about their next steps. So, I have listed below 3 of my favourite shows from my time in Edinburgh.

Parakeet

This show was a complete surprise for me! From the description, I was expecting a show about one character’s relationship with nature and birds, but Parakeet is, in fact, a warming ode to friendship, the importance of protecting the natural world around us and bringing this natural world into the personal universes we create for our safety and wellbeing. Not to mention the excellent original music that features throughout the show.

Splintered

I felt uplifted by throughout this performance. Splintered is the kind of show keeps your spirits high long after it’s over.  It’s a cabaret with sketches of painfully and humorously relatable experiences of Caribbean queerness. There is music, crushes, uncomfortable phone calls, dancing and laughter, but the trio also address some of the harsh realities that queer communities in the Caribbean face.

Tokyo Rose

This show surprised me. I had no idea it was a musical before going in. Tokyo Rose tells the story of Iva Toguri, who was accused of treason against the US. It is a captivating and lively show that conveys the emotions of a young girl who faced a life-changing turn of events, all to the tune of a song. It reminded me of Hamilton in that it told the story of the Americans who are often left behind in the mainstream ideas of what it means to be a citizen of the US while giving the audience a new story to research and songs to hum on the way home.

 

Interested in Re:Con?

Previous Re:Con members have gone on to amazing roles as artists, producers, programmers and theatre directors.

‘Re:Con gave me the boost that I needed to begin a career in the arts. I gained countless skills and grew an incredible network over the year. Since finishing the programme, I have worked exclusively in the arts.’

Rowan, Artist and Facilitator

‘Re:Con was undoubtedly the catalyst to my career as a Producer. Being supported throughout to explore your creative voice and most importantly, the licence to make decisions and representing Contact, was for me, a career changing year that made me pursue it professionally.’

John Tomlinson, Associate Producer, York Theatre Royal