Every year the Edinburgh Fringe attracts millions of visitors to its festival, showcasing the best in upcoming talent from around the country. This year performances created by our ‘Associate Artists’ and through our ‘Developed With The Lowry’ programme are becoming the talk of the town.
Claire Symonds, Theatres Programmer and Producer, shares with us her thoughts….
Every year, The Lowry makes a commitment to around ten companies and solo makers through ‘Developed With The Lowry’ and our ‘Associate Artist’ programme. ‘Developed With The Lowry’ offers a 12-month package of support to those who are making a significant step forward in their practice, while our ‘Associate Artist’ scheme lets us build deeper and longer term relationships with a small number of companies we feel have exciting long-term potential.
This year, we’ve seen half of our supported artist family take shows up to Edinburgh and they’re doing amazingly well
Kill The Beast, Theatre Ad Infinitum, LUNG and Sophie Willan’s shows are getting four and five star reviews, topping must-see lists and selling out performances. Twitter is full of audience members singing their praises. We couldn’t be prouder of the response they’re getting.
Here are some of our favourite reviews so far:
Kill The Beast: Don’t Wake The Damp
Multi-award-winning comedy captains and The Lowry Associate Artists Kill the Beast present a new twisted tale inspired by 80s sci-fi, 90s gaming and cracking superhero theme-tunes. ‘Don’t Wake The Damp’ is a non-stop neon rollercoaster of shocks, shadows and shameless wigs. Original music, astounding projection, and trademark dreadful faces. Evil is rising, grab a mop!
My favourite review comes from The Stage who gives the show a gleaming 5 stars stating ’a neon-drenched nightmare that’s as sharp as a needle made of lasers.’ What a review! They continued to give the company the first ‘The Stage Edinburgh Award’ of this year’s fringe.
Well done guys!
The show returns to The Lowry Wed 26 October – Sat 29 October. Click here to book
Theatre Ad Infinitum: Bucket List
On completely the opposite side of the spectrum, our Associate Artists Theatre Ad Infinitum’s ‘Bucket List’ tells the story of Mexican orphan, Milagros, her journey from the sweatshops of Ciudad Acuña to Harvard University, and what happens when the promise of a better life begins to unravel. It utilises an extreme style of physical storytelling, live instrumental music and song.
More five star reviews come from British Theatre Guide and What’s On Stage. Fest Magazine describes it as ‘tightly choreographed, using fluid movements to transition between scenes and to build different environments. We come to know where the characters are—in the playground, the factory, the hospital—by their configuration on stage.’ I love it when theatre is stripped to its basics, and physicality is used to express a scene. You can see the creativity flowing.
Lung bring another strong piece of verbatim theatre after the success of Chilcot here earlier this year. From the streets of Newham to the Houses of Parliament, this bold and pertinent piece is adapted from the real-life testimonies of the most under-represented and prominent voices on the political spectrum – providing a truthful retelling of the Focus E15 Campaign, Britain’s housing crisis and how one group of women refused to be marginalised. This is the beginning of the end of the housing crisis.
4 star review from The Guardian, who explain ‘…the real joy here is in watching these women …discover their ability to speak out. Theirs are voices that are seldom heard anywhere’. The Skinny also say ‘as call-to-arms, it’s victorious’ with another four stars. This exciting new Associate Artist company have an immense gift for bringing forward those stories we rarely hear, and we can’t wait to show you ‘Who Cares?’, the new production they’re creating with The Lowry and four young carers in Salford.
E15 runs at The Lowry from Fri 18 November – Sat 19 November. Click here to book
Who Cares? Is performed on Tue 22 November. Click here to book
Sophie Willan: On Record
And last but not least, we have the hilarious Sophie Willan, who we have supported through ‘Developed With The Lowry’ this year. Sophie grew up in and out of care. At 23 she received all her personal records from the State. In a dark and hilarious debut hour she explores who she is today through the eyes of experts that have assessed her.
5 stars from The Herald, with another of my favourite reviews… ‘Sophie Willan roars into her Fringe debut all guns and booty blazing.’ Trust me, it’s an apt description! But it’s the line ‘an exceptional new talent’ that most rings true from this review. She also received four stars from The Scotsman, who says ‘Despite being a relative newcomer, Willan has already mastered the art of turning personal pain into very funny meaningful comedy.’ Sophie was on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Fresh From The Fringe’ on Friday and you’ll be hearing a lot more from this Salford star in the making.
It’s been an incredible year for all our artists, both those setting Edinburgh alight and the rest of our ‘Developed With The Lowry’ family: Art with Heart (who popped into Edinburgh for a cheeky one-time-only performance on Sunday), 2Magpies Theatre, Colour The Clouds and Animikii Theatre. We can’t wait to tell you what they get up to next!