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Edinburgh Guest Blog: Fourth Monkey grows a fringe

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We're Fourth Monkey Theatre Company. There're 50 of us. We've been together for a year, and I am one lucky member of this ensemble...  Most importantly we are bringing a grand total of SIX productions up to the fringe. If you think this is mad, you're right. But we're doing it anyway.

We are heading up to the festival this year with three new plays: The Elephant Man, Nights at the Circus and The Minotour along with The Erpingham Camp, Divine Words and our Off-West End-nominated production of 4.48 Psychosis. All six will be rolling in rep at the Space Venue on Niddry Street.

Each actor performs in two shows (in my case Nights and 4.48). Each of us has either a show per day for the entirety of the festival, or two shows every other day.  We also get the other shows in and out, and do all the necessary marketing.

The meticulous planning that this sort of adventure requires has left us wondering how our directors are still standing upright.  Our marketing and turnaround timetable looks so intricate that some of us are still gawping in stupid admiration. If you see any little lost Fourth Monkey actors wandering round Edinburgh looking dazed, please take pity. Maybe give us a banana.

By way of introduction, we became this merry band of monkeys last September as part of The Year of the Monkey project. The concept behind this yearlong project is to offer alternative training for young actors by combining workshops and classes with learning on the job. It's been a tough, but brilliant learning curve.

"There's no training like rep-theatre" is said a lot, but frankly, that's probably because it's true. Having been working and training together for a year, we come to the Fringe an incredibly tight ensemble, with two London seasons behind us and 49 friends for life.

As Steve Green (our artistic director) gives us notes on our morning's run of Nights at the Circus from atop a tricycle (the man falls off chairs whilst sitting on them, so this is a very tense notes session indeed) the rehearsal room is buzzing as we all begin to look ahead to the festival and what we hope to achieve there.

 I'll diligently be blogging all our experiences during what promises to be an exhausting but incredible few weeks. Please keep reading and see whether we make it out alive...


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