And so the Edinburgh Fringe rolls around again – despite stiff competition from CPT, still the most intense hit of new theatre and performance, anywhere. Team CPT is girding itself for a trip north – although how that will square with our general manager James’s new veganism is anyone’s guess. The shows we’re stoked about are too many to list here. The ones we’re supporting – or have supported in the past – we’re thrilled to recommend.
One or two first appeared on CPT’s stage more than two years ago – in spring 2017, when we unleashed our never-to-be-forgotten ‘festival of sex’, Hotbed, on an unready world. For that festival, we supported the great Louise Orwin to create Oh Yes Oh No (Summerhall, July 31 to Aug 25) which – daringly and delicately – looks at the clash between one’s politics and one’s sexual fantasies. Two years on, it’s back – and likely to take the festival by storm. For the same festival, Rachel Mars first developed her hit show Your Sexts are Shit (Summerhall, Aug 13 to 25) a scrap-book of explicit letters from famous lovers of old. It moved on to the Yard Theatre last year, and now pitches up on the Fringe. See it.
Also in Edinburgh, several shows seed commissioned by CPT, including Rachael Young’s cool-as-hell Nightclubbing (Summerhall, July 31 to Aug 11), which brought Grace Jones and Afro-futurism to CPT for a week’s run in 2018; and Seke Chimutengwende and Alexandrina Hemsley’s equally sci-fi Black Holes (ZOO Southside, Aug 19 to 25), a funked-up, like-nothing-else history of the universe. We also supported Caroline Horton’s All of Me, a stark and tender deep-dive into mental health and the suicidal impulse, which now pitches up – and isn’t to be missed – at Summerhall (July 31 to Aug 25).
CPT’s partnership with the National Student Drama Festival goes back 6 or 7 years now; the last two winners of the festival’s CPT Award (and associated support) are both on this summer’s Fringe. The first was Hatch (Underbelly Cowgate, Aug 1 to 25), Sarah Carton’s prison-set solo gig-theatre event with her company Rose Eye. The second is Pigfoot’s buzzy How to Save a Rock, winner of multiple awards at 2019’s NSDF (including ours), both a playful journey to save a polar bear and a bicycle-powered inquiry into climate change. You can – and really must – see it at the Pleasance Pop Up @ Dynamic Earth, from Aug 13 to 25.
You’ve had the eco-apocalypse, Afrofuturism and sex. How’s about conspiracy theories? – the subject of YesYesNoNo’s third show The Accident Did No Take Place (Pleasance Courtyard, July 31 to Aug 26), part-developed here and now adding to Sam Ward and co’s big-hitting canon of Edinburgh shows. (On the same subject, our associate artists Barrel Organ launch CONSPIRACY at Underbelly Cowgate.) We took theatre-maker Edalia Day on our ‘Come As You Are’ tour last year with their comedy / spoken word and all-round smashing solo Too Pretty to Punch. You can see it at ZOO Southside (Aug 2 to 26).
There’s a special place in all CPT hearts, meanwhile, for Hannah Maxwell’s I, Amdram (Pleasance Courtyard, July 31 to Aug 26) – developed on our Starting Blocks scheme, a hit here on its 2018 debut, and returning again in our autumn 2019 season. It’s an absolute gem – entertaining, compassionate, hilarious – about Hannah’s deep family roots in amateur dramatics, and how that relates to her queer, performance-art-loving adult life. Speaking of which – our beloved associates Sh!t Theatre are returning to their spiritual home of Summerhall (July 31 to Aug 25) to launch their newbie Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats (which previewed here this spring). From the eye of the Brexit storm, it unearths mystery and murder in the fight to be European. How could it /not/ be terrific?
In small ways and big ways, we’ve been involved in the journey these shows have made from twinkle in the artists’ eye to the stages of the world’s greatest arts event. We recommend them with all our hearts and wish all our artists and friends a fantastic Edinburgh!