Where else in the world do you get the chance in the space of a few hours to see the legendary theatre director Ken Campbell, a team of 1st class Musical Theatre performers presenting a Crop Circle Musical, see a top flight very English lighting technician deliver a rap celebration of Chicago Shakespeare Company, cheer a dance-off between top Korean dancers and a company of young British actors, and feel part of a world of performers and technicians who have just created 38 productions, 500+ performances, 3 theatres, and enough 4&5**** column inches to help launch many careers and new works. Well Musical Theatre at George Square of course. The party was hosted by the University of Edinburgh Festivals Office for all of us, and it was quite a party. This morning it is a tribute to all involved that the place looked spotless, the box office opened on time, and the crash tests of Dr Bunhead started on time at 10am. Continue reading
After our fantastic scratch gala in aid of the Musicians Benevolent Foundation last night it was really special to go along to the Three Weeks Editors’ Awards with University Festivals Press Officer Joe Pike and receive an award for Musical Theatre at George Square. Continue reading
Two more days and everyone is asking me what they should see before the end of the Festival – so I thought I’d just share my 4 tips for the future – pieces which reveal something about the creative artist and the power and potential of Musical Theatre. Whilst I am so glad to have enjoyed almost every one of our 38 shows, over the next two days its time to push a few blog readers in some particular directions they may not have thought about. Continue reading
How strange – I posted this blog two days ago writing eloquently about the lack of a Book Award this year, and now I see the blog appears blank. You’ll never know what I felt when I learned of the decision – sorry. However I do have one coda to add. I’ve just seen SPITFIRE GRILL presented by the RSAMD students written by Fred Alley and James Valcq. Continue reading
The hard work for all those involved with the Fringe is to sustain the level of energy needed every day, every performance right to the end. We have four days left here, and it’s the perfect time for shows that are doing quite well to pack-the-place and shows which have been struggling to make a mark to pull in the final holiday crowd. Continue reading
Its wonderfully crazy here at the moment as we madly pull together the line-up for our Charity Gala on Saturday in aid of the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Almost every star in the firmament of George Square has agreed to take part so we’ll have Eurovision, Broadway, West End, Reality TV and international performers all strutting their stuff. Not quite sure how John Brant is going to manage to direct the gala wth one hour of tech time – but as normal he and the Pleasance tech team will pull it off. What’s fun is hearing what each of the singers and companies are planning to do – they’re not, in the main, doing extracts from their shows. Some are writing special numbers, others are preparing massive West End classics, and still more are plotting to present new work not ever seen at the Festival. It should be fun.
Its great that Mervyn Stutter and Simon Callow will be hosting the event, but before then Mr Callow will be putting the final polish on a showcase of MATHILDE featuring Frances Ruffelle. That opens tomorrow and when last seen the composer, Conor Mitchell, was hidden away in my kitchen quickly doing orchestral arrangements for cello and violin – hey, there’s still 24 hours to go…its Edinburgh
In the meantime we have said hello and will sadly soon say goodbye to the Danish Uterus company. They’ve flown in for just two performances of their Midsummer Night’s Dream musical STEAM. A bit crazy – a group of professional Danish performers, take an English play, reset it in New York, and showcase it in Scotland. Its great to have them around and hopefully Uterus will return to Edinburgh with other work in the future.
This morning the joint chair of the 2008 judging panel for the MTM Awards, Dr Nick Phillips of LIPA, announced the nominations and special mentions at the end of the MTM Question Time which I chaired. We’d had a great discussion with freelance producer Richard Jordan, Nick Williams of the Arts Council, Roy McAllister of South Hill Park and Annemarie Lewis Thomas of the new Musical Theatre Academy. Continue reading
I’ve been a bit remiss on the blogging front for a couple of days. Its a bit mad here with so many people coming to Musical Theatre at George Square to check out shows, meet, drink and have fun. There are tickets available for most shows for most nights if booked in advance, so get in touch with the box office and come-on-down. Didn’t help a few days ago when all the Fringe website connections went down and our shows were announced as all being sold out. Hey ho. I guess we’ve all had a few problems this year. Continue reading
It was a stonking night last night – 200 + people cheering four performers presenting songs from Musical Theatre pieces which none of us knew. The latest work by Matt Brind, Laurence Mark Wythe, Stuart Matthew Price, Dougal Irvine and Christopher Hamilton. Their families know their name, some of the champions of Musical Theatre know their potential, but last night a whole host of general public and young performers took the chance to explore the world of new work. All praise to Andy Barnes and his Perfect Pitch network, Peter White and his fellow musicians, and the cast of Wendy Killian, Sophia Behn, Stuart Angell, and Mike Shearer. Continue reading
Dodging rain showers it was great to see so much fun being had across the Meadows, all the performers tents seemed packed and wandering through with my Producer Associate, Tom Atkins, we were musing on what it takes to get noticed on the Fringe. With thousands of people milling around, and hundreds of companies with leaflets, a few obvious things still seem to be missing in terms of preparation.
Earlier in the day I’d spotted a representative of one of our companies looking relatively insignificant on the High Street, in his own clothes, with a few leaflets and badges. He was competing with the likes of JET SET GO resplendent in their sirline uniforms with matching luggage parading down the High Street completely in character and engaging with the audience. On the Meadows there was a really strong presence from Precarious with THE FACTORY playing at Zoo Southside – everyone had posters on placards above their heads, they were strategically spread around the grass, you couldn’t miss them, and they talked to us. They inspired us with their show. I’ve booked my ticket. On the other hand there were lines of people silently holding leaflets hoping we might want one. Spot the potential audience member, come up, chat to us, we’re there to be interested – otherwise we’d flee the Meadows in an instant.