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For the second year running I’m not planning to be in Edinburgh during the festivals. It’s bittersweet; I love Edinburgh and I love Edinburgh (in a different way) during the festivals, but the thought of being ready to either take a show to Edinburgh or even just visit so soon after we made Inherited Cities (and The Desire Paths and The Journeys) is impossible. 

We do have a summer project, of course – it’s already up and running. We’ve co-curated Self Build Utopias with Northern Stage and the Experimental Architecture Group for the Great Exhibition of the North. We made THE DESIRE PATHS as our part of it: 


The map of hopes and dreams is being incorporated into a group performance installation that already features the beautiful work of Hannah Fox’s SHACKLANDS, 154 Collective’s CITIES IN THE SKY, Fabric Lenny’s DOODLETOPIAS, and EAG and Culture Lab’s HERE BE MONSTERS. 

This week and next Sonia Hughes & Lisa Mattocks are in the installation with the lovely conversation piece,  WHAT DO WE WANT? WHEN DO WE WANT IT? making plans and designing placards with the public. 

Unfolding Theatre are re-imagining their BUILDING PALACES (16 – 19 August), and Northern Stage’s Young Company’s bring WHERE WE STAND to Utopia 29 August – 2 September.

154 Collective and Hannah Fox at Self Build Utopias

So my August trips will be to Newcastle to see those artists’ work and other stuff in the Great Exhibition. Please do come see us if you are in or passing Newcastle/Gateshead. We’re open 10am-6pm Tuesday – Sunday and there is always something to see. You can follow the Great Exhibition’s Arts and Innovation trails to find us, or simply go straight to Northern Stage.

However, if I was going to be in Edinburgh during the Fringe, these are the shows that I would be making a bee line for:

Footprint Theatre: SIGNALS (Photo: Benjamin Thapa)

Footprint Theatre’s SIGNALS (Pleasance). Exciting young Sheffield company making a show about interstellar contact? Obviously right up my street. I’m really looking forward to seeing this on tour.

STATUS (Summerhall) by my good friend and Third Angel collaborator Chris Thorpe and the brilliant Rachel Chavkin. From what Chris has told me, this sounds like it is as smart, fascinating, challenging and funny as their last show Confirmation – but this time with added electric guitar. If you’re planning to see this – book early.

ADVENTURERS WANTED: REBELLION (Sweet Novotel) – they’re just doing 100 hours this summer, not 250 like last year (slackers). What I love about this project is how they have reclaimed Role Playing Games as story telling. If you’re not in Edinburgh to see them live, you can always catch the live stream or follow them on Twitter.

Live Art Bistro bring their Leeds brand of genre-busting, convention-defying performance programming to the Fringe for an unmissable one day, two venue festival, ALL THESE THINGS (Zoo Southside) on 15 August. Drop in a few times, or stay the whole night – this should be brilliant.

PRICKS (Pleasance) by Jade Byrne in association with LittleMighty sounds great:

I’m a big fan of Michael Pinchbeck’s work, and he has two pieces on at the Fringe this year: A FORTUNATE MAN (Summerhall) and SIT WITH US FOR A MOMENT AND REMEMBER (Zoo)

My brilliant Leeds Beckett colleagues are in the Richard Demarco archive in Summerhall 14 - 16 August. Oliver Bray, one of my favourite stage performers, is presenting URSONATE POST TRUTH, a re-performance of Kurt Schwitters’ seminal piece of sound poetry, Ursonate, and Teresa Brayshaw’s Cinage brilliant group are performing TALKIN ‘BOUT MY GENERATION which I saw an excellent early version of in Leeds.

I’ve heard great things about Molly Taylor’s work, and so would be checking out EXTINGUISHED THINGS (Summerhall) if I could.

Volker Gerling’s PORTRAITS IN MOTION is back at Summerhall – one of my absolute favourites a couple of years ago, massively recommended.

Breach Theatre’s new one, IT’S TRUE, IT’S TRUE, IT’S TRUE (Underbelly) looks great.

I loved 2 Destination Language’s Near Gone, so would definitely be seeing FALLEN FRUIT (Summerhall).

Paul O’Donnell’s Bon Jovi musical WE’VE GOT EACH OTHER (Pleasance) sounds like it could be amazing.

And Kieran Hurley & Gary McNair’s SQUARE GO (Roundabout @ Summerhall) is a must see. In fact, Summerhall, as ever, is full of “must sees”. Sh!t Theatre’s DOLLYWOULD, Valentijn Dhaenens’ UNSUNG… just camp out there for a few days. 

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