Are you Edinburgh-bound? The festival looms so large over CPT’s world of theatre, we’re prone to forgetting that not everyone’s summer revolves around flirting with bankruptcy in the rain-soaked Scottish capital. For the artists we work with, the Fringe often takes on an almost magical significance: it’s an initiation rite for first-time artists and companies, it’s where careers – and new friendships – can be made, it’s where new projects throw themselves onto the springboard that can lead to tours and transfers further down the line.
While we at CPT have yet to realise our dreams of establishing a physical presence in Edinburgh (one of these years…), we always feel present there – if only through the heroic efforts of our community of artists, some of whom are Fringe legends these days, and several of whom are presenting bold new work at the 2017 festival. This year’s crop include well-loved CPT friends such as High Rise Theatre, with their hiphop/Kipling (Kip-hop?) fusion The Concrete Jungle Book, the great Jamie Wood with I am a Tree and Powder Keg with their acclaimed gig-theatre event Morale is High (Since We Gave Up Hope).
We warmly recommend those projects, and the many more on the Fringe by artists that have graced our stages in recent months and years. Even more warmly, we want to big up the handful of Fringe shows that have been developed with our direct support. Two of them are by CPT associate artists. The mighty Barrel Organ, whose first two shows justifiably made great waves at the festival, return with a new work about debt and indebtedness. Part road movie, part haunted house tale, Anyone’s Guess How We Got Here is at Zoo Venues before a CPT run in the autumn.
At Summerhall, our buddies – and associates – Sh!t Theatre launch DollyWould after repeated try-outs at CPT, and a trip to Dolly Parton’s US theme park to boot. You know as well as we do that whatever the Sh!ts do in Edinburgh ends up being a highlight of the Fringe, and beyond – so don’t miss it. Also at Summerhall, Louise Orwin presents A Girl and a Gun, her cool interrogation of masculinity and femininity in movies, an earlier version of which headlined our Calm Down, Dear festival back in 2015. And Rachel Mars presents Our Carnal Hearts, a gloriously unlike-anything-else song-cycle about jealousy, co-commissioned by CPT and which made a splash here as part of our gig-theatre fest All the Right Notes last year.
Both Louise and Rachel are graduates of our Starting Blocks artist development scheme. So too is Grace Gibson, who used the programme to develop her odd and beguiling solo show How to Drown a Fish as far back as 2014. That excellent project – about childhood dance competitions and that electric moment when things go wrong in public – now reaches fruition on the Fringe. Back at Zoo Venues, meanwhile, Running Dog’s Wanna Dance with Somebody – part physics lecture, part dance lesson and part school disco – tackles social anxiety.
We couldn’t be more chuffed to have been involved in the development of these exemplary projects – every one of them proudly possessed of its own theatrical language; every one bold and questing, playful and engaged. We wish all of our friends (and everyone up there ignoring the odds, the cold, and the penury to try something new) the best of luck on the Fringe, and we heartily encourage you to check out their brilliant new shows.