Edinburgh Fringe is considered the world’s biggest arts festival, and has a history of launching the international careers of some of the world’s most influential theatre-makers, comedians and cabaret artists.
Last year, there were almost 2.5 million tickets issued for performances at the Fringe, across 3269 shows.
As is always the case, this year’s Fringe takes place during August, and will feature the work of plenty of Australian artists. But getting a show up in Edinburgh is particularly tough and incredibly expensive for independent Australian artists, who have to take their whole productions to the other side of the world.
One of Sydney’s greatest theatre directors, and a wonderful proponent of independent theatre, Kate Gaul is taking three productions over to Edinburgh with her own Siren Theatre Company.
Gaul told Daily Review: “Australia is isolated, small, insular and culturally rather conservative. Edinburgh — being the biggest English-speaking performance festival in the world — should be an incredible melting pot of folk who love making and seeing theatre. We want to play on the largest stage on the planet, with our own tribe, and see what and how they are making theatre, whats turning people on elsewhere, and how we stack up.”
Melbourne-based queer theatre company Sisters Grimm is taking their recent hit Lilith: The Jungle Girl to Edinburgh for similar reasons.
Ash Flanders, who stars as the titular jungle girl and co-created the work with Declan Greene, told Daily Review: “From the outset, we always hoped Lilith was our muddy ticket to a larger audience. That’s why we knew I needed be naked… it’s a global – if not universal – selling point. Seriously though, we spent last year building relationships with international presenters which is why we’re so stoked to have one of Edinburgh’s premier venues invite us into their coveted program! It’s our hope that we can indoctrinate more people into our specific brand of theatre, and showcase a different kind of new Australian writing.”
Here are just some of the artists presenting work at Edinburgh Fringe this year, and how you can help them:
Sisters Grimm have created some of the most exciting theatre in Australia over the last few years. The queer theatre duo started off working in found spaces (e.g. garages in Melbourne suburbs) but have since produced work for some of the country’s biggest theatre companies. Lilith: The Jungle Girl premiered as part of Melbourne Theatre Company’s NEON program last year to rave reviews, and will be part of a curated season at a rather prestigious (but as yet unannounced) Edinburgh venue.
And if you want to be sure your money will go a long way, every dollar donated to the campaign will be matched by Creative Partnerships Australia.
Check out their hilarious Edinburgh trailer below, and find out how you can donate to the Pozible campaign here.
Kate Gaul’s Siren Theatre Company is taking three works to Edinburgh this year: its spectacular, award-winning production of Enda Walsh’s one-man play Misterman, Australian writer Noëlle Janaczewska’s new play Good With Maps, and Thomas Campbell’s stand-up show, One Hander, which recounts his experiences as an actor with one hand.
Siren Theatre Company held a successful Pozible campaign earlier this year, but their next fundraiser is a short season of the three shows at Belvoir’s Downstairs Theatre.
Even if you don’t care much about supporting Australian artists in Edinburgh, we’d recommend you pick up tickets to see these three wonderful shows as a treat for yourself. See ticketing details for Good with Maps, Misterman and One Hander.
Mother’s Ruin is one of the best Australian cabaret shows of recent years: an absolutely brilliant, funny and incisive show all about the colourful and chequered history of one of the world’s most controversial liquors — gin.
The show has had successful seasons at Adelaide Cabaret Festival, in Melbourne, Perth, Tasmania, and Sydney Festival. It stars Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood, who have been core members of the feminist cabaret group Lady Sings it Better for several years.
Maeve and Libby are throwing a fabulous fundraiser party at Giant Dwarf in Sydney in early July, promising “live music, dancing, gin-themed snacks, parlour games, a costume competition and a few surprises”, plus a free Four Pillars G&T on arrival. Find out more about the Hot Gin Punch fundraiser here.
What would Cathy do? is a monologue by Australian writer Chris Aronsten, performed by Australian actor Skye Wansey. It’s about 50-year-old Cathy, who “looks very much like a hardcore junkie. Only – she says she’s not a junkie at all, but an actress, preparing to PLAY a junkie in a film. Which of these is true?”
Chris and Skye have already invested $20,000 of their own money to take the show to international festivals this year, but are raising $6800 for airfares to Edinburgh and venue fees. Their Australian Cultural Fund fundraiser is here.
ALPHA is a queer performance work which premiered at Melbourne’s La Mama and had a successful season at Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival last year. It incorporates “original spoken word poetry, physical theatre, dance and sex — telling tales from inside the Australian queer closet.”
The work was originally created by Sebastian Jamal Robinson and Tamara Natt, but singer-songwriter Eliza Fawcett and international sign language artist Andy Dexterity have joined for the new iteration. They’re raising $9999 through a Pozible campaign.
Morgan Stern is a new one-man Australian play by Sydney-based AWGIE-award-winning playwright Gina Schein, performed by by Graeme Rhodes and directed by Goldele Rayment. It explores schizophrenia, family and the search for internal peace.
The creative team are raising $10,000 to take the show to Edinburgh and are hoping to secure touring opportunities throughout the UK on the back of the festival. Read more about their IndieGoGo campaign here.