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The show will have to wait – Edinburgh Fringe artist Tom Kelsey describes his postponed show

The writer of new play TIGER tells us what it's been like having his show moved to next year

Tom Kelsey
© Michael Shelford

My first reaction when I heard the news that Edinburgh Fringe had been cancelled this year was actually one of relief. The idea of trying to take a show up amidst the current health crisis was far more anxiety inducing than waiting another year to bring my solo show, TIGER, up to the Fringe.

If I had been told Edinburgh was not going ahead weeks before the announcement was made, when the COVID-19 situation had not yet become a pandemic, I think I would have been absolutely devastated. But by the time the official cancellation appeared, I don't think anyone disagreed with the decision, it was necessary and appropriate. In fact I remember when I got the email from my venue giving the news, I actually said "Thank God!"

Taking a show up to the Fringe is a difficult, stressful and draining endeavour even under ‘normal' circumstances. Add in the fear and concern of a global pandemic and it would simply have been unmanageable. Whilst I did have it in my head that ‘this is my year to finally take my show up to the Fringe' and had already done a huge amount of work assembling my team, sorting contracts, rehearsals, advertising, accommodation… well, everything really! I do think it was the correct decision to postpone til 2021. To be honest, I'm now feeling really positive about it!

If clouds do really have a silver lining, for me it is the gift of gaining another huge chunk of time to invest in my show. There were of course (as there always seem to be) a few things that I had wanted to incorporate that simply would not have been feasible this time around due to time constraints – a slightly more ambitious set design, use of projection and some more experimental sound ideas.

People are going to be so hungry both to present their work and support each other at the 2021 Fringe

These extra bells and whistles wouldn't have been possible to do for this year's Fringe, had it gone ahead. But now my team and I have the luxury of time and we intend on using it to our advantage. We've been chatting a lot during the lockdown on the best moves for the show and are really excited to now have the chance to do a couple of R&Ds to test out some of the ideas we'd always talked about, but never been able to do.

We're excited to have the opportunity to make sure that TIGER will be the absolute best piece of work we're able to present and to have the opportunity to research, develop and polish the material to a really high standard.

We want to make the show as good as it can possibly be, ready for Edinburgh Fringe 2021, which I personally cannot wait for. I think that having missed out this year, people are going to be so hungry both to present their work and support each other at the 2021 Fringe. My team and I can't wait to be a part of that.

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